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What to expect from the Australian English Language Competency Test

Did you know that if you are a South African planning on immigrating to Australia you may have to take a comprehensive English test before your Australian visa application will be approved?

One of Australia’s visa requirements is that applicants must provide proof that they are competent users of Australia’s official language, English.  This means Australia will want to be assured that migrants understand English well and that they are able to clearly communicate verbally and in writing in what might be a second language for many migrants.  For this purpose migrants are expected to take a recognized English Language Competency Test.  The results will be attached to their visa application.

We have looked at the well-known IELTS- test.

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You will have two test options and should select the option to suite your visa application:

The IELTS Academic test is designed for people planning to study in higher education or those seeking professional registration. It assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training in an environment where English is the language used.

IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. You may take IELTS General Training if you want to study or train in secondary education, training at a college below degree level, or migrate to an English-speaking country.

The degree of difficult in these two options is the only thing that separates them.  They both follow the format below.

IELTS Listening practice tests

The Listening test is the same for both Academic and General Training tests. During the listening exam, you will hear several recordings which may have Australian, British, or North-American accents. Please note that when you transfer your answers you are mindful of spelling as incorrect spelling will be marked wrong.

The Listening test is 30 minutes long (plus 10 minutes transfer time) and covers four separate recordings.

IELTS General Training Reading Practice Tests

The General Training version requires test takers to read extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.

The content of the Reading Section will differ for the Academic and General Tests.

The General Training Reading test is 60 minutes long and includes three sections.

IELTS General Training Writing Practice Tests

The Writing section of the test includes two tasks and both must be completed. Each task is assessed independently. The assessment of Task 2 carries more weight in marking than Task 1, so be sure to plan your time accordingly.

The content of the Writing Section will differ for the Academic and General Tests.

The General Training Writing test is 60 minutes long and includes two tasks. Both tasks must be completed but note that Task 2 is weighted more heavily than Task 1. In Task 1, test takers are asked to respond to a situation, by writing a letter for example, requesting information or explaining a situation. In Task 2, test takers write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem.


IELTS Speaking practice tests

The speaking test is the same for both the Academic and General Training Exam. During the Speaking test, you will have a discussion with a certified IELTS Examiner. It is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get. Be prepared by familiarizing yourself with the format of the test.

The test is 11 to 14 minutes long with three parts. In Part 1 of the test you will answer questions about yourself, your family, your work and your interests.  In Part 2 you will be asked to speak about a topic.  Go prepared to talk about something you know and understand really well.  You may also be given a task card which asks you to speak about a particular topic and includes points that you can cover in your talk. You will be given 1 minute to prepare your talk. You will then speak for 1-2 minutes.  The last part of the verbal test will be discussion between you and the examiner on the topic you spoke about in Part 2.

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