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IELTS: how the pandemic has hit candidates


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a test to check the English skills of non-native English speakers. The test is accepted as one of the main eligibility criteria for international students and people wishing to migrate from non-English speaking regions to other countries.

It started around 40 years ago and was designed by English experts from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and USA.

Types of IELTS

IELTS is available in two formats: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.

Academic IELTS

IELTS Academic has been developed for those seeking to study at university or college as an undergraduate or postgraduate student, or wishing to join or enter a professional institution. The organizing authorities boast that this test is accepted by nearly 11,000 organizations in more than 140 countries.

Educational institutions usually have a minimum score (on a scale of 1 to 10) that they require of international students when evaluating their applications for admission.

General IELTS training

This test is generally applicable to people trying to migrate to English-speaking countries from non-native English-speaking regions. It is also sometimes required for entry into secondary education, a college or a teacher training centre.

IELTS test sections

The IELTS test has four sections: Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking. While the writing and reading sections are different from the academic and general tests, the speaking and listening tests are almost the same for both types of tests.

Changes due to Covid-19

Although there were no major changes in the content, structure, scoring or security of the test, there was a slight change in the speaking part of the exam. “Previously, the exam was always in person and the examiner used to discuss a topic with the student and mark them on it. However, sometimes a student’s speaking test is conducted through a video call. Video call timings are communicated to the student when the test location details are emailed to the student,” Parul Mittal, Director, International Placewell Consultants Pvt Ltd, told indianexpress.com.

“Additionally, the speaking test has quick questions where, during discussions, the examiner can ask quick questions and the student must answer them quickly,” Mittal added.

This is part of launching an online exam. This gave “students the option to take the test at home or wherever convenient. The new online test will be delivered through a specially designed platform with security features to ensure the integrity of the test,” Lucia Figar, President and CEO of The Global College, Madrid, Spain told indianexpress. com.

However, applicants should keep in mind that not all universities accept the IELTS indicator, which is the online or “home” version.


The Covid-19 pandemic has caused some setbacks for IELTS candidates and organizing authorities. However, the organizers did their best to find solutions. “The pandemic affected test takers for a brief period due to restricted movements and the temporary closure of testing centers. Given the importance of the test in an applicant’s study abroad process, we wanted to find a solution that would still allow them to take the test during the pandemic,” said Piyush Kumar, Regional Director (Asia du Sud), IDP Education at Indianexpress. .com. “We have launched the IELTS Indicator, an online test for study abroad applicants that could be taken from the comfort and safety of home during these trying times. The academic test was available for a limited time while the IELTS test was suspended in its standard formats due to COVID-19.

In India, many candidates relied on IELTS coaching courses, especially in the northern region of the country. However, as Covid-19 spread across the country and shut down all educational institutes and coaching centers, IELTS coaching tutorial also took a hit.

“The pandemic has certainly caused some hiccups in preparing students for IELTS. Before the pandemic, IELTS coaching centers had large groups of students and helped them prepare,” said Mittal of International Placewell. “However, with the lockdown, coaching has slowly moved online. Most IELTS coaches now give online group or individual lessons. The advantage is that it saves the student’s travel time. Additionally, students living in small towns can now be taught by IELTS coaches based in metropolitan cities without having to travel,” she added.

Panchkula IELTS trainer, Haryana told indianexpress.com on condition of anonymity that many of his students at his institute have returned to classes after a gradual reopening but their “skills have gotten worse”.

“You have to practice every day and that too in the presence of an expert. This is especially important for people who come from rural areas. However, with the Covid shutdown, many students lost this practice and it prevented some of my students from passing the exam this time. While some have been knocked out, some need more practice now,” he said.