Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today we’ll discuss a controversial question: is the IELTS Exam fair?

This is a great question!

Overall, I honestly believe that the exam is a valid test of your English ability.

Having said that, though, no standardized test is perfect.

By their very nature, standardized tests cannot be completely fair to all candidates. They are made for the masses, so, to that end, cannot be completely accurate for every person.


Yes, this is a good measure of your ability to understand what you hear.

It’s not overly complicated, but you do need strategies to keep track of the speakers, as this is not something you do in daily life.

Thus, you must practice listening and writing at the same time.

The way it is not fair, in my view, is that it is not just a listening test. It’s also a spelling test!

If you spell something wrong, the answer is incorrect.


Nope. This is not like real life at all!

It’s not truly a test of your comprehension. At no point are you asked to read a whole passage, digest and understand the information, and react to it in a way that shows you understand.

This is the most important section for strategies, as you do not have time read every word.


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In fact, if you think too much, you’ll end up getting the wrong answers.

In all honesty, you do not even have to understand what the passage is about to get the answers. With the 3 Keys strategies, though, many students get 9’s!


Academic Task 1 is not like real life at all! Unless you’re an engineer, you’ve probably never written about a graph like this.

General Training Task 1 is a little more fair, as we do write letters in real life. However, IELTS still has unique expectations, and you must know what the examiner is grading you on or you will not get above a 7.

Task 2, I feel, is something that most people who have written academic essays in their life could excel on.

Nevertheless, you still must know what the examiner is grading you on, or, like some native speakers, you will not get the highest scores, even if you’re an excellent writer.


Although it is a manufactured situation to some extent, it’s still better than TOEFL! At least you’re not talking to a computer.

That being said, you still must know what the examiner is grading you on.

I do feel that, overall, the scoring requirements are fair for speaking. You need a range of vocabulary that is elicited through the range of questions.

Speaking Part 2, though, is something you really have to prepare for, as even natives will find it weird to just talk for 2 minutes about one thing!

What do you think of today’s opinions?

Leave us a message in the comments section below!


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