What is IELTS?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS), one of the world’s most popular English language tests, measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency.
There are two types of IELTS tests:
- Academic – for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English-speaking environment
- General Training – for those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs
What is Format of IELTS Test?
The IELTS test is separated into four papers, assessing your abilities in four different aspects:
Listening and Speaking are the same for both type of tests, meanwhile, the subject matter of Reading and Writing differs.
The total test time is around 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Why should I attend IELTS courses?
Raising the chances of getting your desired score is the primary reason that you should consider applying for at least one IELTS course. IELTS courses is particularly useful for those who are not familiar with the structure of IELTS.
- Ample resources and information obtained
Plenty of practice questions, sample papers and thorough explanations on answers are provided. Discussions and sharing are also common within students.
- Effective way of learning
Extra guidance and discussions with instructor whenever you encounter a problem, or when you are uncertain about some specific parts.
- Better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses
Help identify your weaknesses and focus more on training that specific part to raise your average English level.
- Exam skills
Learning the skills and tips on answering each type of questions is vital for obtaining a high score. Knowing what the examiner is expecting will allow you to have a clear picture of how to approach the questions in the exam.
Features of Offline & Online Courses
Flexible location, basically anywhere as long as you have a device and access to the Internet
Regular lesson time and fixed location of lessons
Flexible lesson time; particularly suitable for people who have a busy schedule, like students and working population
More systematic learning style and making sure your learning progress is on track
Relatively cheaper than face-to-face courses
Printed learning notes and textbooks are the predominant learning materials
More interesting and interactive as online courses usually use multimedia content as learning materials
Have chances to interact with other classmates and would be more motivated to learn
Personalized courses based on personal preferences
Can discuss with lecturer face-to-face
More chances of practising English speaking
Pros & Cons of Different Class Sizes
Systematic and well-planned course structure
Useful and extensive learning materials
Monotonous lesson routine
Lack of personalization in course content
Lack of student engagement, thus students pay less attention
More individualized attention on students
More interaction between both teacher and classmates
Ease at setting up different paired or group work, e.g. role play and debate
May result in increased student anxiety due to frequent involvement in class
Constrained level of personalization of course structure
Provide individualized learning support
High level of personalization on course structure
Flexible time and location of class
Build strong and positive student-teacher relationship
Potential of being boring
Difficult to gage a student’s progress
How to choose a suitable IELTS course?
There are many IELTS courses options available, different aims, different formats, different sizes… So how do we judge which one is the most suitable for ourselves? Let’s look at the four most important criteria:
Courses can be categorized into x main types – all-round exam preparation, exam-skills / exams drilling and specific section-focused. Check and review carefully if the objectives and details of the course fit with your requirements.
Be mindful of the scale of the institutions and class size as they would have considerable impacts on one’s performance and pace of learning. Choose one that you could learn in the most productive way.
IELTS courses can be very expensive, especially those 1-on-1 private lessons. Individual lesson can be very useful, however, this learning style is not for everyone. Evaluate cautiously before making the final decision.
The most reliable source of information is certainly feedback and opinions from anyone who have taken the course before. You can do some research both online and offline to understand more about the institution before applying for its courses. Make use of the abundance of information in the Internet to look for relevant information, such as reviews and advices on discussion forums and blogs. You may even sign up for trial lessons.
Recommendations of IELTS courses in Hong Kong
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. They work with over 100 countries across the work and have been in Hong Kong for more than 70 years
Their language centres in Hong Kong are experts in teaching English, offering experienced, internationally qualified teachers and using a curriculum developed from more than 35 years of teaching experience in Hong Kong in order to maximize each session and make real progress.
All our lessons are 100% face-to-face and classroom-based, giving you the confidence to interact with English speakers from all over the world.
IELTS courses are：
- IELTS General Training
Designed for people who may not have much time but still need effective preparation, focusing on both the reading and writing sections.
18-hour module: HK$3,680
- IELTS Coach (Academic)
Offer you the flexibility of choosing not only the parts of the exam you wish to focus upon, but also the lesson day, time and teacher that best suit your needs.
18-hour module: HK$3,680
- IELTS Language Preparation Programme (Academic)
Combine your language competency with a focus on exam techniques and skills, e.g. how to best approach the questions, write effectively, speak skilfully, and practise language and vocabulary specific to the exam.
- IELTS Mock 1-to-1 (Academic / General Training)
One-to-one speaking exam practice, personalised post-written exam feedback, and help from our IELTS experts on how to improve your performance in all the key areas of the exam.
- IELTS Exam Skills One-Day Workshop (Academic)
Full day of study with speaking and reading in the morning and listening and writing in the afternoon. It also teaches practical exam skills and techniques.
10a.m. – 5p.m. (including a 1-hour lunch break)
HKU SPACE – IELTS Preparation
This course provides you with essential exam strategies and valuable practice for the IELTS Academic. The course offers you invaluable practice and timely feedback in all for sections. Students will also practise speed reading strategies to cope with reading texts and questions; learn how to avoid common mistakes when answering test questions; and as well as review and practise key grammar and vocabulary for writing tasks. You will be able to get a clear idea of strengths and weaknesses to help plan a better study approach.
Duration: 45 hours (3 hours per lesson)
Course fee: HK$4,200
Instructor: native speaker
Kaplan – IELTS Preparation Course
Kaplan is British Council Hong Kong IELTS Partner Agent. It provides extensive training and review of all four sections of the exam. You will also learn about the different exam sections, the ways to maximize your exam time. Proven score-raising strategies will be taught and drilled.
Duration: 28 hours + 3 practice tests (Full course) / 14 hours + 2 practice tests (half course)
Course fee: HK$4,988 (Full course) / HK$3,788 (Half course)
Instructor: Native Speakers that have been given the highest ratings for
teaching effectiveness by students
ITS Education Asia (ITS)
ITS provides flexible learning options in English. There are 3 different IELTS courses:
- Customized 1 to 1 Preparation
Fully customized study plan by our expert trainers and book as few or as many lessons as you like.
- Individual section brush-up (3 hours)
Workshop that focuses on training a specific section of the test.
- Full prep course (15 hours)
Look at the different sections of the exam, discuss strategies with your trainer, develop a time management plan, and do a mock exam with feedback.
Magoosh – IELTS exam preparation course
Magoosh specializes in online preparation courses for multiple major academic tests including GRE, TOEFL, SAT, GAMT and of course, IELTS. It offers a comprehensive learning environment by supplying you with multiple online lessons, practice tests, essay scoring service, podcasts, learning blogs and even a dedicated app to help develop your vocabulary. The course comprises of more than 90 online tutorials and videos, as well as 200 practice questions. It is conducted by two language experts, both of whom have extensive experience in language learning and standardized tests. Just sign up for an account and you can enjoy online lessons, practice tests and review your results for free, but if you want to get your essays scored, consult an expert or take mock exams, upgrading to premium is the way to go.
- Free for the most part
- Abundant additional learning resources
- Consult a tutor if you came upon questions
- 7-day money-back guarantee if you don’t like the course
Price: Free or go Premium for US$59/month, US$69/3 months, US$99/6 months
edX – IELTS Academic Test Preparation
edX offers multiple massive open online courses (MOOC) across a wide range of subjects. EdX’s IELTS Academic Test Preparation course teaches about the test procedure, format, strategies, and skills for IELTS tests over the course of the program. The course focuses on the four main components of IELTS, reading, writing, listening and speaking and is taught by 5 language experts from the University of Queensland.
- Detailed and step by step guide to taking IELTS
- Taught by experienced professionals
Duration: 8 weeks (5-10 hours of work per week)
Price: Free, or add a certificate for US$99
Udemy is well-known for its high-quality courses on online test preparation. IELTS exams is the Band 7+ Complete Prep Course comprises of 160+ lectures with a total of 30+ hours of content to provide you with strategies and tactics for each of the four sections of IELTS. Besides teacher-led lessons, you will also get access to exercises, writing advice, speaking recommendation and peer reviews. One of the main selling points of this course is the focus on test skills and techniques derived from an in-depth analysis of the IELTS exam, which can play a major role in helping you familiarize with the test format and achieve high scores.
- Great focus on test techniques and strategies
- 36 hours of video lessons with 15 articles and 32 supplemental resources
- Courses developed by a well-known company and experts on IELTS
Price: US$11.99, buy bundle classes for discounts
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