Before you start preparing a student for IELTS, you should know what their English level is.
- General English level
Placement Tests / Language Level Tests
To have a rough idea of their General English, grammar/vocabulary, ask them to do an online language test. There are useful and reliable online tests you can ask your students to do before your first class. They do it online and are given an estimation of their current level of English proficiency (their level):
IH (International House) test. There are 60 questions, in four separate topics.
British Council. 25 multiple-choice questions (10–20 minutes)
Choose 1 test and send it to your student. Tell them to send you/take a picture of their result.
This is NOT enough!
You should ask them to write something and you should also test their speaking skills.
Test their Writing
You can ask them to write a story/description of their most enjoyable holiday OR you choose an easy IELTS essay topic, ask them to write it and send this to you. If their level is low, ask them to write one paragraph. This is for you to see how well they can write.
Test their Speaking
In the first class, you can do a full IELTS speaking test to see how good their speaking is. Choose easy topics if your student is Pre-Intermediate/lower Intermediate. Use IELTS speaking exam format and take questions from here:
Test their Listening/Reading (optional)
If you want to know their IELTS level and let students see the exam format, ask them to do full Listening/Reading tests OR parts of them. For example, 1 listening section and 1 reading section. Take the test from one of the Cambridge Tests books (tests 15-16)
To sum up,
- Ask your student to do one of the online language tests (see the links above). This is homework and done by your student before the class.
- Ask them to write something (a story/essay/one paragraph from an essay). This is homework and done by your student before the class.
- Do a full IELTS Speaking test in the 1st class. This is done in the lesson.
- If your student is Upper-Intermediate, you can ask them to do full IELTS listening/reading tests. If they are lower level, ask them to do 1 section of listening/reading OR skip listening/reading tests not to scare them). This is homework and done by your student before the class.
These steps would help you to find out your students’ level. It’s also useful for students to see what their level is before they start preparing for IELTS.
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All IELTS Parts with Exam Strategies
IELTS Writing and Speaking Assessment
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