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Do all Language Proficiency Test Takers have what it requires to nail the Test?

Language proficiency

It is every test takers dream to be able to nail the language proficiency test – the TOEFL or the IELTS – that makes up an essential ingredient of academic application. Yet, it is not an exaggeration to say here that close to 50% of those who write these tests fail to make the mark in the first attempt and need to redo the preparation and the test in order to come close to the stipulated score requirement that ranges between 70 and 100 on the TOEFL and 5.5 and 7.5 on the IELTS for different institutions. Are these scores achievable? Well, yes. But the process must start right and be oriented towards a realistic score up gradation rather than a standard one. It is not uncommon to hear training platforms boast of the highest scores they have helped an odd student procure. This is great marketing gimmickry. Truth is that every test taker starts differently and has a different aptitude and potential for learning and optimizing his learning.

As soon as a student enrolls for a training module for one of the language proficiency tests, test his current level of proficiency. Give the candidate a TOEFL or IELTS test and show him the mirror. This is not always a very pleasant exercise; the test taker can get disillusioned, disturbed and even discouraged. But the exercise has some obvious benefits; the trainer is better equipped to identify what the student’s potential is, to gauge how long the training will take and to anticipate what score range the test taker can be trained to achieve. Say for example the student starts with a 55 (TOEFL) or a 4.0 (IELTS). It is utopian to promise him a score of 100/7.0. Realistically speaking he has the basic learning and skills to go up to 75/6.0. And it is in the right spirit that this be conveyed to the test taker to avoid disillusionment. On the other hand, someone with a score of 85/6.0 is clearly good raw material and needs only to be guided about the core requirements of the tests and the strategies that help raise scores. Efforts must be made to use the student’s innate potential to the maximum and to provide him with training modules that maximize his skills.

Once students have been assessed, it is prudent to put them into groups as per their respective levels. One of the pitfalls of group training is that every level of student is clubbed into one group. This clearly causes discomfort- the weak students fall behind if the momentum of the class caters to the better students while the better students lose interest if the class caters to the weaker group. Learning must always generate interest in order to be productive. And the first deterrent to achieving this is faulty class complexion. Students come from different language backgrounds and have varying levels of exposure to English. As a result, we cannot presume that one teaching style, one class momentum will yield similar results for all the participants. Trainers and institutes must make an extra effort to monitor class composition. This alone can ensure a very high output in terms of satisfaction and the final result.

Option takes care to deliver as per these guidelines. And our efforts definitely show in our results. Each student for us is an opportunity to test our skills and to challenge our potential as a competitive and very professional training platform.