Hello, and welcome to Series 3 of Study English,
IELTS preparation. I’m Margot Politis. In this series we’ll look at some of the criteria
for the assessment of the IELTS test, and some of the skills you’ll need to practice
for the test. The IELTS test has four modules: Writing,
Speaking, Reading Listening There are two different tests – the academic
test for tertiary students and professionals and the general training test, which is for
immigrants and people going on to vocational training. Both tests have the same speaking and listening
modules, but different reading and writing modules. Knowing what the examiner is looking for can
help improve your results because you will know what to focus on when practising. Here are the features the examiner looks at
in your writing and speaking. These are the things that are marked: Task Response
Coherence and Cohesion Grammatical Accuracy and Range
Vocabulary Fluency
Pronunciation What do these criteria mean? Task response means how well you’ve understood
and responded to the question or task. For example, in the essay you must make sure
you have answered all parts of the question and followed the instructions. The next thing the examiner looks for is coherence
and cohesion. This is how you organise your answer. For example, in the essay, coherence means
that the essay works in its overall structure, making sense in the way it is organised. Cohesion means that the essay flows well from
one part to the next. Another feature being assessed is grammatical
range and accuracy. When assessing grammatical range, the examiner
is looking at the variety of sentence types you are able to use. You can’t rely on just
using simple sentences and structures. Grammatical accuracy simply refers to the
number of errors in your language. That includes things such as punctuation. The final feature assessed for writing is
vocabulary. The examiner looks at the accuracy of your
spelling and the range of words you use to cover a topic. You need to use the correct word forms and
demonstrate that you can use them appropriately. You should also be aware of when to use formal
or informal language. The essay needs to be formal, but you can use less formal language
in the speaking test. The speaking test is designed for you to show
how well you can express yourself on a general topic. It tests your vocabulary, the accuracy of
your language and your ability to use a range of sentence forms. It also tests your coherence,
by looking at how you organise and link your ideas while speaking. Vocabulary, coherence and grammatical range
and accuracy are criteria that also apply to the speaking test. The remaining two criteria are only for the
Speaking test: fluency and pronunciation. Your ability to speak without hesitating or
pausing too often shows how fluent you are. Fluency is the ability to speak smoothly and
easily. Now we’ll look at the last criterion for speaking
– pronunciation. How easily you can be understood is what pronunciation
is about. Aim to pronounce words correctly and use appropriate
stress and intonation; and your voice needs to be strong and clear. Pronunciation is speaking clearly and at a
natural pace. To illustrate some of these criteria, next
we’ll show you a short piece about the sport of gymnastics. Sport is a common topic in
the speaking test and it’s important to be familiar with the words used to talk about
it. I do gymnastics at the Australian Institute
of Sports. I was about 5 when I started and I started just fun gym. My mum was a coach,
so I got into it from that. We train about 36 hours a week, which is pretty tough, but
it’s worth it in the end. We don’t have a lot of school. We do usually 3 and a half
hours of school in between our training. We have our main coach, who is the head coach
of the AIS. He coaches my group for bars, floor and vault. But we have another coach
for beam. Notice she says I do gymnastics. Different
verbs are used for different sports. You say that you play football or play basketball
but do gymnastics. And you go fishing. Some sports and activities have their own
verbs. You don’t say “I do swimming”, you say “I swim”. Now listen to how she uses the words train
and coach: My mum was a coach, so I got into it from
that. We train about 36 hours a week, which is pretty tough, but it’s worth it in the
end. We don’t have a lot of school. We do usually 3 and half hours of school in between
our training. We have our main coach, who is the head coach of the AIS. He coaches my
group for bars, floor and vault. But we have another coach for beam. A coach is a teacher of sport. Coach can be a noun, like this: We have our main coach, who is the head coach
of the AIS. Coach can also be used as a verb. Here it’s
used in the singular form ‘coaches’: He coaches my group for bars, floor and vault. She uses the word for practising a sport,
train: We train about 36 hours a week, which is pretty
tough, but it’s worth it in the end. The -ing form, training, can be used as a
noun: We don’t have a lot of school. We do usually
3 and a half hours of school in between our training. And a coach can also be called a trainer. You should watch English language TV to help
build your vocabulary in this fashion because you will be marked on how well you use words
and their various forms. And you should think about things such as
sentence forms. Even just talking about gymnastics, it’s possible to use quite complicated structures. Listen to her again: We train about 36 hours a week, which is pretty
tough, but it’s worth it in the end. She uses a complex sentence – a clause combined
with a relative clause: We train about 36 hours a week, which is pretty
tough She then makes it into a complex/compound
sentence by using the conjunction ‘but’ to add another clause. We train about 36 hours a week, which is pretty
tough, but it’s worth it in the end. Thinking about and noticing sentence types
will help with your grammatical range. Listening to the way people talk for an extended
period will help prepare you for the speaking test where you will be required to talk about
a topic for 2 minutes. So let’s recap. These are the things the markers
are looking for: Task response – your ability to answer the
question and correctly respond to instructions.
 Coherence and cohesion – how well you organise
your language.
 Grammatical range and accuracy – the range
of grammatical structures you use and how accurately you use them. Vocabulary – how well you use words and their
forms.
 And for the Speaking Test there is:

Fluency – your ability to speak without hesitating; and finally, Pronunciation – how easily you can be understood. In the coming episodes we will look at these
criteria in more detail and explore ways of meeting them. Remember that IELTS is testing your language
skills so take every opportunity to practise your Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking
to improve your accuracy, extend your vocabulary and develop your fluency. You will be building
your confidence as well. That’s all for now. To find more information
about assessment and Band Scores, visit our Study English website at: australianetwork.com/studyenglish Good Luck with your studies.