There are many myths and rumours about IELTS scores. We’ve heard them all.
We’ve had candidates contact us asking to know which Toronto centres are run by IDP, because they'd heard that IDP: IELTS tests are easier. Another candidate, who lives in Ottawa, registered to take the IELTS test in Montreal, because he had a friend who told him that the scores are higher if you are tested in Montreal.
Some people believe that if you make the Speaking Examiner smile and laugh, you’ll get a better score. Many candidates try to please the Writing Examiners by writing about things they think a teacher would want to hear. Some people keep charms in their pockets. Others pick test dates based on lucky numbers.
We understand why this happens. The test is very important to test-takers. It impacts their future in a serious way. Candidates don’t want to leave anything to chance.
Not About Luck
The good news is that you really don’t have to worry about these things! Chance and luck have no place in IELTS testing. You will do just as well in the test even if you are not wearing your lucky shirt. IELTS is a standardized test. Every element of the test is trialled and tested before it is used. As for lucky locations, the exact same test is used on the same date in the various IELTS zones around the world.
If you write your test with an IDP centre in Toronto or a British Council Centre in Halifax, you are writing the exact same test. No test centre is easier than another. This means that there is no need to travel to a different city hoping to get a better score.
Scores and Criteria
The test is marked the same too, regardless of where you take it.
The Reading and Listening tests are marked by trained and certified Clerical Markers who use answer keys and follow a standardized policy when scoring the tests. A percentage of all tests are double-marked by a second Marker to ensure accuracy.
Examiners who score the Writing and Speaking tests are trained, certified and monitored. This procedure is the same in every IELTS Test Centre, everywhere in the world. Examiners must pass a test before they can examine. Even after Examiners pass the test, they are consistently monitored to ensure they are giving Candidates the scores they deserve. Examiners are skilled at assessing all candidates in the exact same way, using standardized criteria.
It does not matter what your first language is or what your opinions are. This strictly regulated, consistent scoring is one of the reasons that IELTS is so widely trusted and accepted by over 9000 institutions in 145 countries. Institutions know that when a candidate receives a score, it is a true representation of that person’s English abilities.
Improving Your Score
Some people think that taking the test multiple times will improve your IELTS score. Taking the test more than once might make you become more comfortable or more familiar with the test format. You will know what to expect; however, taking the test repeatedly will not improve your scores.
The IELTS test measures your English proficiency. If you are looking for a higher band score, you need to improve your English. Pause and reflect on what you should do in order to get the scores you need. Try to practice speaking English every day. Read English books and news articles and practice writing. Ask your English-speaking friends or teachers to identify errors you have made. Take an English course. Learning a language does not happen overnight. Take the time to prepare before re-taking the IELTS test.
Once you are ready to take the test, we are not saying that you shouldn’t wear your lucky shirt or smile at your Examiner. Go ahead. Flash those pearly whites! It will probably make you feel more relaxed. However, unlike your dentist, your Examiner won’t be judging you based on your smile.