IELTS and Its Limits
As concerned and fixated we are on IELTS score as a nation, it seems as if it is an end all or be all when it comes to applying for universities abroad. Contrary to the image portrayed by Bangladeshi coaching centres and organizations that offer IELTS courses, it has its limitations.
On August 2, 2022, a post regarding a student who scored 7.5 in IELTS and got a partial scholarship to the University of South Whales got viral and received some negative attention. The negative attention was rightly dispersed as the post made it seem a high IELTS score can ensure a scholarship while applying to universities abroad.
The reality of IELTS is rather different. First of all, it is not an exam to determine your merit but rather your English language proficiency. Understanding your level of English language proficiency is important as most courses international students apply for are instructed in English. If a student does not understand a certain level of English language, it will be near impossible for them to receive an education or pass any of the exams as they too will be held in English. This is why universities abroad specify an IELTS score range as a requirement for admission.
However, our colonised minds that still believe knowing good English means you are intellectually superior, accompanied by misguiding advertisements by organisations that offer IELTS courses allow a false narrative to remain prevalent, causing mass people to believe IELTS is an important indicator of whether or not you will get a scholarship.
While it is not completely negligible in the case of getting a scholarship, a higher IELTS score is not the most important factor in getting a scholarship. In fact, for most universities, a higher IELTS score does not play any role in getting a scholarship as long as the student meets the general English language proficiency level applicable for all students regardless of scholarship.
Another limitation of the IELTS exam came to light after six Indian students who came to Canada with good IELTS scores were found on the US border and were unable to answer questions asked in English. This incident does not leave room to be under the illusion that a good IELTS score determines your English proficiency level. If a student follows guidelines and prepares accordingly, they can score high without being truly proficient in the language. The incident also brought forth the issue of many institutions illegally helping students get higher IELTS scores regardless of their proficiency level.
IELTS is an important exam if you want to study abroad, there is no denying it. However, unlike what most people believe, it cannot always accurately determine your English language proficiency nor can it ensure a scholarship.
1. British Council. (December 8, 2017). CAN A HIGH SCORE IN IELTS HELP YOU GET A SCHOLARSHIP?
2. The Daily Star. (August 4, 2022). Indian youths with good IELTS scores fail to speak English after arrest in US
Tazreen is trying to motivate herself to study for her upcoming IELTS test. Please don't send IELTS course advertisements to firstname.lastname@example.org