Confused by the language of IELTS? Try this glossary of key terms and their meanings.
Academic – The version of the IELTS test used for college and university entry. (See also: General Training)
Band descriptors – In the Writing and Speaking modules of IELTS, your scores are calculated according to which of the descriptions they match closest in the band descriptors. Public versions of these can be downloaded freely from the main IELTS website.
Band score – IELTS scores are divided into ten bands from 0 (non-user) to 9 (expert user). Half band scores are also awarded.
Candidate – A person taking an exam such as IELTS.
Coherence – How well you stick to the question in the Writing module of IELTS. This means each paragraph should include one main idea and you should not go off topic by introducing details unrelated to that idea. Your argument or opinion should also be coherent, i.e, clearly and consistently presented.
Cohesion – How well you link ideas within a sentence, paragraph or essay. This includes articles (the), pronouns (this), determiners (such) and logical links (on the other hand).
Criteria – The band descriptors each consider four criteria. These are important things the examiner is reading or listening for in order to determine your score.
Examiner – The person marking the IELTS test or asking the questions in the Speaking module.
Fluency – In IELTS speaking, how well you can string your ideas together and use filler expressions to avoid silence.
General Training – The version of the IELTS test used for immigration and employment purposes. (See also: Academic)
Lexical resource – Basically, the range of vocabulary you use, including accuracy in spelling, word form, and appropriateness for academic usage.
Module – IELTS is divided into four modules: Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking.
Paraphrasing – Saying the same thing but using different words or sentence structure. More than other tests, IELTS rewards candidates who can vary vocabulary and grammatical form.
Part – The Speaking module of IELTS consists of three parts.
Passage – Another word for article, as in the Reading module of IELTS.
Predicting – Trying to guess an answer before listening or reading for it. This helps you to focus on the type and form of information required to answer the question.
Scanning – Looking through a text quickly to find specific information. An important skill for answering questions in the Reading module of IELTS.
Section – The Listening module of IELTS consists of four sections; the Reading module of IELTS consists of three.
Skimming – Reading a text quickly to identify the main ideas and how they are organised. An important speed-reading skill for IELTS.
Task – The Writing module of IELTS consists of two tasks.
Task achievement – In IELTS Writing Task 1, how well you answer the question overall. In Task 1, this includes identifying all major features of the data and providing supporting details.
Task response – In IELTS Writing Task 2, how well you answer the question overall. This includes, answering all parts of the question and providing support for your opinions.