I think it's fair to say that most Malaysians are learning English as a second language.

That's why formal English education starts as early as the pre-school level, where kids begin to dive deep into the world of ABCs.

As we go through our primary, secondary and tertiary education, English remains a significant language to be mastered up till we graduate and start seeking job opportunities.

That being said, do you know that Malaysians who plan to work in an English-speaking country take the IELTS General Training test as proof of their English language proficiency?

In this article, we will take a look at why English plays an important role in employment, review the main differences between the IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic papers and learn how to score well for the IELTS General Training test.

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Why Is English Proficiency A Vital Factor For Employment Among Local And International Employers?

Now, let's discuss further why having good English skills gives you an advantage in employment and career development in Malaysia and countries worldwide.

Globalisation

It is undeniable that we have seen a great movement of information and people across the globe throughout the years. Culturally speaking, we have also witnessed the evolution of popular culture and modern media. Just take a look at Netflix where you can access movies and series from different countries.

From the basic World Wide Web pages to social media and user-generated platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, the world is instantly connected without the limits of time and location through the power of the Internet. Recent statistics have also shown that English is the most used language on the Internet. This means that you're able to access a wide range of information online and stay updated with the ever-growing trends if you are fluent in the English language.

ielts general training test
Like it or not, English is the lingua franca of the Internet today.
Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

Widely used in official written and spoken communication

You certainly cannot ignore the usage of English when you come across an official email, letter or project report at your workplace.

Remember when we talked about Netflix earlier?

As a global media production company, Netflix not only needs to come out with various media content online for their streaming users but also produce a series of written information regarding their company culture, blog posts, podcast scripts, subtitles for foreign production, engaging copywriting for their official website and many more. Furthermore, if you are an employee at Netflix, you might also need to engage in discussions, and attend or even conduct workshops or presentations to your potential clients.

That's the reason why many employers prefer job seekers with good English proficiency for both written and spoken components.

Learn why the IELTS Academic paper is popular among students and how to score well on this test.

What Are The Major Differences Between IELTS General Training And IELTS Academic?

Even as you do a simple Google on the IELTS test now, you will be directed to a series of links that will lead you to information on either the IELTS Academic test or the IELTS General Training test. 

Continue reading as we take you through the three main differences between these two IELTS tests.

1. Scope of topics

When it comes to the IELTS General Training test, the topics that you will come across usually revolve around the workplace and are of general interest such as staff training, ways to increase sales of a product, benefits of listening to music and so on.

On the other hand, topics that you will find in the IELTS Academic papers are usually catered to students who are preparing for their tertiary education or a professional test qualification. Hence, the topics will have a more academic tone and a wider range that touches on science and technology, history, arts and humanities and many more.

2. Purpose of taking the tests

As mentioned earlier about the different scope of topics, the IELTS General Training test is taken by candidates who are preparing for the working world (local and international). This test is also taken by those who intend to migrate to an English-speaking country.

The IELTS Academic test is mostly taken by candidates who want to pursue an undergraduate or postgraduate programme anywhere in the world. If you have plans to work in a professional organization/government agency overseas, you can also register for the IELTS Academic test.

3. Format of the writing and reading tests

Both the Listening and Speaking tests of the IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic papers are the same.

For the IELTS General Training Reading Test, candidates will be given passages and texts from leaflets, instruction manuals and advertisements while candidates will be given passages texts from books, newspapers, magazines and journals for the IELTS Academic Reading Test. The duration of the test is the same for both formats: 60 minutes [40 questions].

For the IELTS General Training Writing Test, candidates are required to write a formal or semi-formal letter for Task 1 [At least 150 words]. 

For the IELTS Academic Writing Test, candidates are required to write a report based on a given table, chart, diagram or illustration for Task 1 [At least 150 words]. 

The format for Task 2 of both the IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic paper is the same: A 250-word argumentative essay. 

Explore more about the latest format of the IELTS assessment here.

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Where Can You Find The Best Resources To Study For Your IELTS General Training Test?

After reviewing the features of the IELTS General Training paper, it's now time to get your hands on the studying resources to help take your English skills to the next level.

As you're preparing for this test, here are three main resources that you can explore to boost your revision sessions.

1. IDP/British Council Malaysia official websites

You can find various learning resources and sample questions from the IDP and British Council Malaysia websites. Most of them are free to download so you can easily access them anytime and anywhere you want.

2. Reference books from bookstores/libraries

Prefer an old-school method to highlight important points and write down all that you have learnt?

Head to the nearest bookstores or libraries around you to get as many IELTS General Training reference books and start practising. When you are attempting the exercises, be sure to check the provided answers at the back to check if you are on the right track.

ielts general training malaysia
Don't underestimate the power of IELTS reference books when you're preparing for this test.
Source: Xframe

3. Private tutoring

Nothing beats the experience of having a reliable English tutor to guide you when you're preparing for an important test!

You can find an English tutor who specialises in IELTS teaching at Superprof! 

As you browse through the tutors' profiles, you will be able to review their teaching experience, teaching methodology, qualification, hourly rate, teaching mode and also the reviews of their former students.

Under the guidance of a Superprof English tutor, you will have a personalised learning experience and can prepare adequately for all the tested components of your IELTS tests.

With these comprehensive studying resources, you are on your way to mastering the marking scheme for your IELTS test!

How You Should Practice Consistently For The Reading And Writing Components For Your IELTS General Training Test?

As you gather all your studying resources for your IELTS General Training tests, here are some practical tips that you can take note of to score a high band for all the components of the test.

We'll start with the Reading and Writing components.

Tip 1: Read up widely on career-related topics

When you consistently read up on these topics, you will be familiar with the jargon, sentence structures, grammar and points revolving around the workplace. This will help you to read and comprehend the text in a faster and more accurate manner. 

Tip 2: Practice writing for various formats for letters (formal and semi-formal)

Since you will be asked to come out with a letter for Task 1 in your writing test, make sure you are well versed with the format and tone of both formal and semi-formal letters in terms of greetings, paragraphs and sentence structures.

Tip 3: Familiarize yourself with argumentative essays

Read up and review the points of an argumentative essay. Learn how to state your position (agree/disagree) and support your position with the relevant points, evidence, elaboration and examples.

How To Prepare Well For The Speaking And Listening Component For Your IELTS General Training?

Now, we'll move towards the tips for acing the IELTS General Training Speaking and Listening components.

Tip 1: Listen to a wide range of accents

Granted that you will be listening to pre-recorded audios by native speakers, make sure you are familiar with the accents of native speakers (British/American) so that you won't feel overwhelmed by their pronunciations.

You can try listening to English podcasts or radio stations.

ielts general training exam
Start listening to podcasts or media featuring English native speakers to get familiar with their accents.
Source: Xfarme

Tip 2: Practice with various listening sample questions (matching, labelling)

You'll be doing a little multitasking during the listening test. Be sure to jot down important points when you're listening so that you can answer the questions that require you to match the correct statements or labelling later. Make sure you transfer the right answers to the separate answer sheet after the listening sessions.

Tip 3: Record yourself speaking with the right grammar and a suitable vocabulary

One way to be confident during your speaking session is to practice recording yourself and let someone give you feedback on how well you answer the questions. You can practice with your English tutor or with your fellow friends who are also sitting for the test. As you listen to yourself, you can also listen where you tend to pause or stutter and improve the next time.

Don't forget to review this IELTS guide before you sit for your IELTS test. We hope you'll get a super high band for your IELTS General Training test and get a super good job opportunity!

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An avid reader and writer, Joycelyn loves the art of communication and is passionate about all kinds of media.