Пятница 20 Сентябрь 2013

Интервью брала Ольга Кустова, ведущий методист по английскому языку Центра группы германских языков издательства «Просвещение»


настроение: enthusiastic

ключевые слова: IELTS, helping students,
good IELTS materials, exam tips

город: Cambridge, England

e-mail: mary.spratt@ntlworld.com


Olga: I know you’ve written a series of books helping students to prepare for the IELTS exam. Can you tell us a bit more about them?

Mary: Yes, there are two books in the series: Mission IELTS 1 and Mission IELTS 2. They’re both published by Express Publishing, and in fact, I’m just one of the authors. Both of the books are co-authored by myself and Bob Obee, who has written several other books for Express. But, it might be better for me explain to you a little about the IELTS exam before I tell you about the books.

Olga: Fine, but before that, could you say something about your involvement in IELTS and why you wrote the books?

Mary: Several years ago I used to work for Cambridge Assessment, the exam board that produces the Cambridge Main Suite exams (KET, PET, FCE, CAE, CPE). It also along with two other organisations produces IELTS, and at one stage my job there involved working on the production of IELTS. Then I’ve worked as a teacher in several international settings, such as Hong Kong and Italy. Many students in these places want to take this exam and so I became involved in getting them ready to do this. This experience gave me a clear idea of what the exam expects of students and what they need to be able to do to get a good score on it. It was the same for Bob. And we both thought that we wanted to produce materials which provided students with more help than many other IELTS materials do. Many IELTS materials just help students with exam technique, and we were sure that students needed much more than that — they actually need help with their language proficiency, their language skills, their confidence, their ability to find additional learning resources etc. We were keen to put all our ideas together in our own materials.

Olga: In fact, IELTS is an exam I keep hearing about more and more. Can you explain why?

Mary: Well, it has become very well known internationally in recent years — over 1.5 million candidates take the exam each year. And it’s also very important or high stakes for the people who take it.

Olga: Why is that?

Mary: IELTS is used by many universities to decide whether students’ English is good enough to get onto their courses. Universities in the USA, Australia, UK, Holland etc often demand a certain IELTS level from students applying from abroad. And some countries demand a level of IELTS from people wanting to immigrate into the country too. So, I think you can see why it’s high stakes.

Olga: What do you mean by ‘a level’ of IELTS? Is it not just a simple pass / fail system like so many exams?

Mary: IELTS is different to many exams in this respect. It doesn’t operate with a pass / fail level. Candidates who take the exam are awarded a ‘band’, anywhere from 9-0. Here’s what the bands mean:

IELTS 9-Band Scale

9 — Expert user
8 — Very good user
7 — Good user
6 — Competent
5 — Modest
4 — Limited
3 — Extremely limited
2 — Intermittent
1 — Non user
0 — Did not attempt the test

Universities, organisations, colleges, firms etc will choose within these bands what level they expect applicants to get. Universities, for example, often ask for a band between 5.5 to 7.

Olga: Is that the main difference between IELTS and other well-known international exams, the Cambridge main suite for example i.e. PET, FCE, CAE etc?

Mary: I suppose there are two other big differences: the two modules and the number of papers. IELTS has two modules, a General Training and an Academic module, and candidates have to choose which one to take.

Olga: How do they choose?

Mary: General Training is a more vocational module and this is the one that immigration authorities or workplaces often demand. The academic module is the one required by universities. In fact, though, the two modules have papers in common. Both modules do the same listening and speaking papers, but the reading and writing papers are different.

Olga: Ok, and you mentioned a difference from some exams in the number of papers?

Mary:es, people familiar with the Cambridge main suite exams will know that there are five papers: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening and Use of English. IELTS just has four papers: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening i.e. there is no paper which overtly and only tests language.

Olga:Olga: And how do your books cater for these special characteristics of IELTS?

Mary: Firstly, you have two books; Mission IELTS 1, the lower level book, aims to help students aiming for a band 5 or 6, while Mission IELTS 2 aims at bands 6.5 and above. Then the books have different components to cover the two modules, Academic and General Training. If you want to get to know the books better, maybe the best thing to do is to look at the Express Publishing website. It gives you details of Mission IELTS 1
http://www.expresspublishing.co.uk/catalogue_details/details.php?Country=uk&id=1853. Mission IELTS 2 is being published at the moment and will soon be up there too.

Olga: Right, thank you very much. I think you’ve given us a very useful outline of what IELTS is, and your interest in it. Is there a website you could recommend for anyone wanting to find out further details?

Mary: The best one to use is the official IELTS site: www.IELTS.org. It has sample papers, a description of the exam and each paper — things like timing and the tasks used, information about how the papers are marked, and tips for teachers and candidates. There’s also a webinar on the Express Publishing website http://expresspublishing.ru/info.aspx?ob_no=30100. In it you can see me describing all the papers, the task types and giving tips for preparing for the exam using materials for our books.

Olga: Excellent, now, is there anything else you’d like to say before we finish?

Mary: Just to wish good luck to anyone who teaches or takes IELTS. It’s a challenging test but very helpful in developing your English. And, thank you very much too.
Mission IELTS provides students in all aspects of their preparation for taking the IELTS exam. Each unit of the series is based around a different topic and has separate sections on vocabulary, a language skill, grammar as well as IELTS practice tests provided at regular intervals. The books contain realistic speaking tasks, listening and reading texts from a wide variety of authentic sources typical of the IELTS exam, lexical exercises activating essential vocabulary areas. In this way Mission IELTS aims not just to provide students with exam practice but also to develop students’ language proficiency, an essential ingredient for success in the IELTS exam. Exam practice sections in Mission IELTS include extensive tips helping students with exam preparation and exam-taking strategies. A Teacher’s book contains not just answers to exercises and tests but also suggestions for alternative ways of carrying out the books’ activities and information on how the exam is graded, thus providing solid support for the IELTS teacher.

Уважаемые коллеги! Если Вы работаете или будете работать по Mission IELTS, к данному учебнику есть программа с рецензией на сайте http://expresspublishing.ru/info.aspx?ob_no=40685.


1. Информация об экзамене www.IELTS.org
2. Информация об учебнике
3. Лифлет Mission IELTS 1 Academic
4. Презентация и видеолекция Mary Spratt
5. Запись вебинара Mary Spratt



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