Road to IELTS Online Access

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General Training

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Road to IELTS Online Classes

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English Testing Canada (ETC) “Road to IELTS” Program Syllabus

Many people repeat the IELTS test, sometimes multiple times, without score improvement. The only way to significantly improve an IELTS score is to improve the level of English that is measured by this test. At ETC, our mandate is to promote education and social justice, and we encourage test-takers to participate in the unique program that we have established using the official “Road to IELTS” material. A recent study has shown that it takes 10-12 weeks of intensive English language study to achieve an improvement of half a band score in IELTS.

The Program: At ETC, each IELTS registration includes up to 4, three-week “Road to IELTS” courses with a total of 120 hours of online material for the program overall, and up to 64 hours of interactive teaching. One written task response is also included with the program. (Additional “e-writing” and individual or small group tutoring can be purchased separately.)

Each course: Each 3-week course includes 30 to 40 hours of materials, 6 online interactive classes, and 2 weekly speaking circles (one live and one online). Each class focuses on improvement in one of the language macro-skills (Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking). Students can continue to use the materials post-test, and can repeat specific classes according to individual needs.

Speaking: Group classes cover fluency, rhythm, pronunciation, and topic development. Speaking classes are mixed levels. Weekly speaking classes occur online Thursdays and in person at ETC on Tuesdays. Students may attend both. Regular attendees experience improvement with participation. Some individual attention is available in each class.

Weekly Reading Review: General and Academic combined: This is an interactive seminar class in which students can read aloud problem portions of practice texts and seek assistance.

Writing: Students may send ONE writing task of their choice to for a preliminary score and feedback at any point during the program. Students should send their completed writing task as an attachment to preserve formatting. Alternately, writing tasks can be hand-written and dropped off at English Testing Canada and picked up in person.

New Learners: 

Those who need language support and additional practice should allow 9-12 weeks to improve their band score. We will use the 4th set of practice tests from the full 120-hour “Road to IELTS.” NOTE: This course is designed for those who already have some English fluency and who can already perform daily transactions in English. (This course will be repeated using the 3rd set of Practice tests in “Road to IELTS” for increased practice time, making the total available program time 12 weeks).

1. Introduction NL: We will review the expectations of the IELTS test: comprehension of test-day instructions and test components, and the purpose and structure of each macro-skill. Additional materials and daily exercises will be provided to encourage real-world habits for language development as well as academic study habits for test days. We will discuss "fossilization"; "learning strategies"; "habits of thought."

2. Academic Reading NL: We will work on finding meaning and understanding the “gist” of reading passages. Students will learn to recognize content words and phrases, and recognize repetition as a helping mechanism. Students will find new vocabulary and learn to “tolerate ambiguity” in non-key phrases.

3. General Reading NL: Students will learn to understand headings, titles, and matching exercises, and learn to scan for answers in “passage order.” Extra support for vocabularyrecognition and idiomatic expression will be provided. We will work on eliminating wrong answers in multiple choice components.

4. Listening NL: Students will “listen for” key phrases and learn to take dictation for spelling, address forms, phone numbers, and other data. Students will learn to distinguish spoken questions from statements, and distinguish “wh” questions from other question forms.

5. Academic Task 1 NL: Students will participate in verbally summarizing information and on writing down their verbal comments in complete sentences. We will work on punctuation for grammar and flow; grammatical parallelism; and noun/verb agreement.

6. General Task 1 NL: Students will work on reading “prompts” accurately and on outlining a letter. We will discuss appropriate tone and register for different types of letters, and review parts of speech, checking for SVO word order.

7. Essay Writing NL (General and Academic). We will discuss the format of an essay, the purpose of paragraphs, and the use of “chunks” of language to create logic and flow. Students will work on some basic tenses, distinguishing simple present from present perfect. Students will review basic past and future constructions and understand when to use specific tenses for logic and grammatical accuracy.

Intermediate Learners:

Those who need some language support should allow at least 6 weeks to improve their band score. We will use the 2nd set of practice tests from the full 120-hour “Road to IELTS.”

1. Introduction: Students will review the rubrics for each band level in order to understand what the requirements are for each macro-skill section.

2. Academic Reading IL: We will work on “reverse outlines” of reading texts to understand how texts are constructed; students will learn to “activate vocabulary” for topic recognition and learn to look for key words vs high-frequency vocab and function words.

3. General Reading IL: We will discuss concepts related to workplace culture: Job ads, headlines, policies, and instructional material. We will use this as a background to matching exercises. We will look at the kinds of verbs used in reading prompts. Students can build personal dictionaries of high-frequency professional vocabulary.

4. Listening IL: Students will work on strategies for speech prediction. We will review common idiomatic expressions that occur in spoken English, noting the use of “fillers.” Students will learn to hear “signals” for Q/A, repetition, and change of tone.

5. Academic Task 1 IL: We will work on reading graphs and charts accurately and on understanding the “big picture” vs specific details. We will also work on ordering ideas in a logical progression for “coherence and cohesion”.

6. General Task 1 IL: We will work on reading “prompts” accurately for outlining a letter. We will discuss appropriate tone and register for different types of letters. Students will practice grammatical sentence construction and check for SVO word order.

7. Essay Writing IL (General and Academic). We will discuss description versus critical position, and distinguish between casual and academic vocabulary. We will work on phrasal verbs vs one-word (academic) words, and review SVO sentence construction, past participles, prepositions, articles, and the use of “discourse markers.”

Advanced Learners/ Native-like Students: 3 weeks

We will use “Last Minute” 30-hour “Road to IELTS” materials. This course can be used as the final course in the 3-course program, or be used on its own as a short review.

1. Introduction: Students learn the concepts of "accuracy" versus "fluency"; "mistake" versus "error," and work on strategies for counting words and managing time.

2. Academic Reading AL: We will review specific questions from the weekly practice tests, noting distractors, negatives, spelling concerns, synonyms and synonym phrases, and test strategies for multiple choice and True/False/ Not Given answers.

3. General Reading AL: We will review one practice test in detail. We will discuss the concern of "themes" and "titles" for matching exercises, and we will look at distractors, negatives, spelling concerns, synonyms and synonym phrases, and some test strategies for multiple choice and True/False/Not-Given answers.

4. Listening AL: We will look at homonyms and other "false friends" as well as aspects of English such as accent variations and vowel reduction that make listening comprehension difficult. We will review answer sheets for spelling and sentence-completion strategies.

5. Academic Writing Task AL: We will first discuss the criteria of the writing tasks: Task achievement; Coherence and Cohesion; Vocabulary; and Grammar. This session will introduce the best verbs to use for charts and graphs. We will discuss ways to identify “trends” and to write an “overview.” We will practice ways to rephrase sentences to avoid copying and repetition. We will also review the best tenses to use for information represented in chart form.

6. General Writing Task 1 AL: We will discuss letter format: salutations, sign-offs, level of formality, and paragraphing. We will also discuss ways in which modal verbs convey tone.

7. Writing Task 2 AL (General and Academic). We will discuss essay format, including thesis and topic development, sentence simplification and expansion, level of formality, critical reasoning skills, and proof reading. We will also discuss natural transitions vs “sign posts.”