How to score 9 bands in IELTS

Author: Parminder Singh, BA Hons (Toronto), J.D (Windsor)

9 Tips for 9 bands in IELTS

With so much emphasize on language ability in Canada Immigration programs, IELTS schools are thriving. However, mushrooming of IELTS schools is not regulated and as such, there is no way to find out which IELTS school or its teachers are authentic and well qualified.

In order to assist people with their Canada immigration projects and plans, we provide free tips for IELTS training.

Writing: Organization

Each essay is made of introduction, thesis, paragraphs and conclusion.

  1. Introduction should be easy, interesting and catchy to attract the reader. Read newspaper editorials to see the catchy intros.
  2. Thesis should be positioned right after the intro and declare in a brief sentence your view point on the topic.
  3. Paragraphs should provide a series of arguments, evidence, examples, analogies, similarities, contrasts to prove your thesis statement. Each paragraph should deal with one topic or issue. Each paragraph starts with the topic sentence and finishes with the conclusion. The conclusion of each paragraph should lead to the next paragraph, which means all the paragraphs should be jointed together or welded in unity, not disjointed.
  4. Each paragraph is made up of sentences. Not only your sentences should have no grammatically errors, sentences should have variety of length and structure. Use variety of grammatical structures such as simple sentences, complex sentences, compound sentences, short sentences, long sentences, exclamatory sentences, Interrogatory sentences, active and passive sentences, metaphorical sentences and so on.
  5. Each sentence is made up of words. Not only your words should have no spelling errors, words should have a variety, which means words should be formal or casual as per the topic. E.g. A technical or a serious topic should use technical or formal vocabulary and a casual or humorous topic may use slang or casual vocabulary. E.g. When a dog dies the word “dead” may be used, but when a human dies the word “Passed Away” is used. Use variety of words such as nice, fabulous, gorgeous, beautiful, and exciting to describe a thing or person, instead of repeating “nice” every time.
  6. Variety is the key to killing monotony and boredom in a piece of writing. Your paragraphs, sentences and words should have variety. Use literary devices to improve form, meaning and emotion in your writing. E.g. use alliteration and rhyme to improve form; metaphor and imagery to elaborate meaning; and hyperbole and personification to intensify feelings in your writing. Check examples of useful literary devices here: http://literary-devices.com/frontpage
  7. Consider pros and cons of a topic. Accept opponent views or defend them.
  8. Summarize your topic. Make each paragraph, sentence and word count to the topic at hand, do not waste a single word, be focused and glued to the topic and
  9. Make a strong conclusion and landing (just like a gymnast). End with the strongest and remarkable single point or series of points quickly and with greatest speed to leave an everlasting impression on the reader.

After reading all of the above factors, you can now assess your own score. If you have been applying 5 or 6 factors from the above, your IELTS band would be 5 or 6. Apply all the 9 factors in your  writing and you will see an IELTS score of 9. You will also understand why your IELTS score was not improving despite your best efforts.

Sample News Editorial for practice

The following two editorial articles from Indian Express explain how to:

  •  Introduce a main topic in an interesting way.
  • Develop paragraphs on sub topics.
  • Conclude with a strong point.

However, in these articles, you will find some defects as well, such as, two or three topics are discussed in one paragraph. Re-write these paragraphs by removing these defects and use 9-point criteria for 9 bands above to enhance the following articles:

Road Safety: http://www.newindianexpress.com/editorials/Roads-Need-Not-be-Death-traps/2015/07/30/article2947562.ece

Witness Protection: http://www.newindianexpress.com/editorials/Special-Law-to-Protect-Witnesses-Needed/2015/08/01/article2950599.ece

Learning the use of literary devices in writing

Read Chaucer’s translated Knight’s tale for learning use of various literary devices used in writing such as metaphors, alliteration, hyperbole, similes, exclamations etc etc: https://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/teachslf/kt-par0.htm

Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones is another one of the top 10 novels of all times to learn the use of literary devices: http://pd.sparknotes.com/lit/tomjones/

READING COMPREHENSION

Obviously, a paragraph is written in sentences, words and alphabets. Everyone knows this. What everyone does not know is as follows:

Understanding structure of paragraph

A paragraph contains an argument or a main point. The main point is supported by evidence, examples, comparisons, contrasts and quotes.

In other words, any argument has two parts: premise and conclusion. The premise is the evidence which supports the conclusion in an argument.

How to read

When reading a paragraph, analyse the paragraph to separate the main point from the supporting items.

If you know what the main point is and what is the supporting evidence, you can quickly answer the questions in a reading comprehension LSAT test.

Read analytically

If you read the paragraph with the goal of separating main point from supporting evidence, you can save a lot of time while answering the questions because you need not read the whole paragraph again or go back to paragraph for each question.

Locate parts

Note that sometimes the main point is at the end while sometimes it is in the beginning of a paragraph. It may be somewhere in the middle as well. Your job is to pin point the main point and supporting evidence in the paragraph.

Mark parts

Make sure you not only read the paragraph but you also memorize the main points and the supporting evidence or at least their locations in the paragraph by making them while reading the paragraph.

SPEAKING & LISTENING

Speaking and listening skills only come through practice. Listen to what you have written and speak out what you have written and you are good to go.

You may listen to English news and speak about those news with your friends or family and you have practiced the skills of speaking and listening.

Listening to authentic BBC or CNN English news, sports, entertainment or national geographic channels will accustom you to understand British and American accent and boost your IELTS listening score.

Make it a habit of speaking and listening in English.

IELTS guide for different Canadian immigration programs

Author: Parminder Singh, LL.B (Canada)

Language requirements of different Canadian Immigration programs

Different Canadian provincial and federal immigration programs have different language requirements. Many a times, clients make serious mistake of using language requirements of one immigration program for another immigration program and therefore ruin their cases.

This  article will provide IELTS requirements of various Canadian immigration programs under one roof. The clients need not hover through site to site and program to program in their quest for right IELTS requirements for immigration to Canada.

Federal Skilled Worker Program

  • Minimum 6 bands in each component required. Its mandatory
  • Federal programs accepts IELTS (general) score that is less than 2 years old.
  • Total 24 points for first language and 4 points for 2nd language may be awarded. Canada has two official languages: English & French
  • Minimum 5 bands required for 2nd language in order to score 4 points under federal skilled worker program. its not mandatory. No need for 2nd language, if points are not needed

Federal Skilled Trade Program

  • For speaking and listening 5 bands IELTS or CLB 5 and
  • For reading and writing: 4 bands in writing, 3.5 bands in reading or CLB 4.

Canadian Experience Class

If your skilled work experience in Canada is in a

  • NOC 0 or A job, the minimum level is IELTS 6 bands in each component or CLB 6
  • NOC B job, the minimum level is IELTS 5 bands (5 each in Speaking, Listening, Writing and 4 bands in Reading) or CLB  5.

Provincial Programs

  • Quebec skilled worker program accepts general or academic IELTS score that is less than 2 years old. Language score is not required with the application if an applicant qualifies without adding the language points. The total points for English language is 6. An applicant with 5 bands will score 4 points. A client with 8 bands will score 6 points. There are 12 points for French B2 level. No points are awarded below B2 level. Click the Quebec link above for details.

 

  • Manitoba: CLB 4 is required of all applicants, but an applicant must as well demonstrate that he has sufficient language skills for the type of skill category under which he is applying. For example, a doctor cannot be expected to perform his job duties with a score of CLB 4. Hence his application may be refused for lack of language abilities even if he has passed the minimum language threshold of CLB 4 (CLB 4 is equivalent to IELTS Listening 4.5; Speaking 4; writing 4; reading 3.5). Applicants in low skills categories C and D must submit IELTS with their application.

 

  • Nova Scotia requires minimum 5 bands IELTS (general) that is less than 2 years old. However, if an applicant can prove that his language of instruction or work was English, Nova scotia does not require IELTS. Applicants are required to check IELTS requirements with their professional bodies, if their professions are regulated. The must satisfy the officer that they will be able to meet regulatory language requirements.

Student visa applicants

  • 6 bands IELTS (Academic) that is less than 2 years old for college level studies and 6.5 bands for university level studies

Work Visa applicants

  • No IELTS required, but it is recommended to submit IELTS general score
  • Semi skilled workers such as Truck drivers should have minimum 4.5 bands,
  • Skilled trades requiring college diplomas or trade certificates such as Auto mechanics should have 5 bands,
  • Skilled workers and professionals requiring university degrees should have 6 or 7 bands

CLB to IELTS conversion

So many people have suffered due to their misinterpretation of language requirements on the Canada Immigration website.

For instance, the Canadian Immigration department’s website clearly gives CLB level 7 to be eligible to apply for Canadian PR under Federal Skilled Worker Program. However, almost all applicants do not apply because they think they would not be able to score 7 bands in IELTS.

Canadian Language benchmark (CLB level) is different from International English Language Testing System (IELTS band score)

CLB 7 level is not equal to 7 bands IELTS. Rather CLB level 7 is equal to 6 bands IELTS as shown in the following CLB to IELTS conversion chart.

Even when we advise clients that they do not require 7 bands IELTS to qualify, they argue that the other consultants or advertisements on the radio or TV say they require minimum 7 Bands in IELTS.  They even blame us of giving them wrong advice. This happens because the wrong information is so much widespread by the consultants or the media that the true information given by few experts seems untrue to them.

Clients should be alert to the sources of their information. If the source of information is a qualified or licensed source, they should trust the information. They should only listen to the advice of a qualified and authentic source.

See below the CLB to IELTS CONVERSION CHART and IELTS to Federal Points conversion system:

Source: Government of Canada: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/skilled/language-testing.asp

CLB Level

IELTS results for each ability

Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking          Points per ability

9+ 8.0-9.0 7.0-9.0 7.0-9.0 7.0-9.0                         6
8 7.5 6.5 6.5 6.5                                5
7 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0                                4
6 5.5 5.0 5.5 5.5                                 0
5 5.0 4.0 5.0 5.0                                  0
4 4.5 3.5 4.0 4.0                                  0

Is French mandatory for Quebec immigration

Author: Parminder Singh LL.B (Canada)

The flat answer to this question is “it is not mandatory if you do not want to score any points for the French factor in the Quebec selection grid”. French is mandatory only if an applicant wants to score points for French language ability. In other words, if an applicant has scored sufficient passing points, he need not submit French results. The source of this information is Quebec Immigration Laws as well as Quebec immigration department’s website which quotes as follows:

Mandatory use of language knowledge tests

Effective December 6, 2011, all new candidates from the skilled worker subcategory who wish to obtain points in the selection grid for their knowledge of French (principal applicant: 16 points for oral and written knowledge; spouse: maximum of 6 points) and English (principal applicant only: maximum of 6 points) must enclose with their immigration application attestations of results recognized by the Ministère. Children accompanying their parents are exempt from this new requirement.

http://www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/en/informations/note-language-knowledge.html

However, it must be mentioned here that French may not be mandatory to apply for Quebec immigration, but it may be mandatory to pass the licensing exams when you reach Quebec. Hence, knowing no French at all may lead an officer to infer that you do not intend to reside in Quebec after immigrating to Canada. The officer has power to reject applications where he is of the opinion that an applicant does not intend to reside in Quebec. Thus as long as you can show that you have initiated French learning in preparation of immigration to Quebec, you are up to the mark. Other factors that indicate intention to reside in Quebec are knowledge of Quebec culture, Quebec job market in your occupation and knowledge of rental accommodation in Quebec.

The licensing authorities give time and even free teaching classes to new comers to learn French. Thus an applicant without French will possibly qualify for Quebec Selection Certificate as long as he scores passing marks and proves his intention to reside in Quebec by showing the knowledge of Quebec culture, Quebec Job market, Quebec rental accommodation, and, of course, some French language.

Since the application for Quebec immigration is generally opened after 4 to 6 months, its best to initiate learning about intent factors such as French and Quebec culture. However, if an applicant needs points for passing the score, he MUST not submit application without French results even if he knows French.

The law is clear on this topic, but there is a lot of misinformation circulating around. This has resulted in loss of time and money for many applicants.This information is spread by those who are not qualified in immigration law, much less qualified to interpret law clause by clause and section by section.

The fault is not with those who spread this misinformation, but the fault lies with those who adhere to this misinformation and ruin their own lives, without even asking qualifications or the authority of the misinformation rumour mongers.

The following charts explain French and English level conversion into points. Note that After Aug 1, 2013, anyone who scores less than B2 level in French is awarded 0 points. Anyone who scores less than English CLB 5 (which is IELTS 5 bands in Listening, speaking and writing and 4 bands in reading) is awarded 0 point.

French Language
French Proficiency Low Beginner (A1) High Beginner (A2) Low Intermediate (B1) High Intermediate (B2) Advanced (C1) Advanced (C2)
Listening 0 points 0 points 0 points 5 points Delf 16/25 6 points 7 points
Speaking 0 points 0 points 0 points 5 points Delf 16/25 6 points 7 points
Reading 0 points 0 points 0 points 1 point Delf 16/25 1 point 1 point
Writing 0 points 0 points 0 points 1 point Delf 16/25 1 point 1 point
Maximum

16   points

 

English Language
English Proficiency Beginner (CLB 1-4) Intermediate (CLB 5-8) Advanced (CLB 9-12)
Listening 0 points 1 point (IELTS 5 bands) 2 points (IELTS 8 Bands)
Speaking 0 points 1 point (IELTS 5 bands) 2 points (IELTS 7 bands)
Reading 0 points 1 point (IELTS 4 bands) 1 point (IELTS 7 bands)
Writing 0 points 1 point (IELTS 5 bands) 1 point (IELTS 7 bands)
Maximum

6   points

CLB to IELTS CONVERSION CHART (General Training):

CLB Level

Test results for each ability

Listening

Reading

Writing

Speaking

9+ 8.0-9.0 7.0-9.0 7.0-9.0 7.0-9.0
8 7.5 6.5 6.5 6.5
7 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0
6 5.5 5.0 5.5 5.5
5 5.0 4.0 5.0 5.0
4 4.5 3.5 4.0 4.0