Language proficiency is the most important factor in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Criteria. For people like us, who did not have Canadian Experience, it was possible to get 100 extra points in Skill Transferability if we achieved grades equivalent to 9 in the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB).
Considering the last minimum CRS scores required to get an Invitation to Apply, we knew we needed those extra points. It was essential to have good results in IELTS and get at least an 8 in Listening and 7 in Speaking, Reading, and Writing. It was quite tense!!!
We applied for IELTS on March 19th and took the exam on April 29th, so we had a very short time to study. Bellow, we list some courses, videos, and other material we used.
Understanding IELTS – It is a course offered by British Council at Future Learn. The objectives of the course are: describe all parts of the test, give some useful tips to help you achieve your IELTS goals, and explain how the IELTS test is assessed. We did the free version. Good as a first course, but it has very few exercises. It is a six-week course, but we did in one week.
IELTS Academic Test Preparation – This was the second course we did. Although it is specific to the academic version of IELTS, you can use it to study speaking and listening parts. It is offered by the University of Queensland at edX. We did the free version and liked a lot! It is supposed to take eight weeks, but we did only the parts we were interested in one week.
IELTS Master – There are lots of YouTube Channels dedicated to IELTS and sometimes it is hard to select a good one. This channel was the one we liked the most. We watched some lessons about writing and, in our opinion, they were very helpful, clear, and well organized.
Grammarly – We decided not to buy a writing correction service, so we used Grammarly. The free version corrects spelling and grammar; the paid version includes vocabulary and style. We often have to write in English, so we did an annual subscription for $69.98 US Dollars.
We used Cambridge Books with previous tests to practice. In the beginning, we studied each ability at a time: listening, reading, and writing. Then, we did at least five complete exams, controlling for the time.
For the speaking part practice, we started to talk only in English at home one week before the test. We tried to talk about subjects that were listed in the edX course and, one day before the exam, we practiced the two-minute part of IELTS several times.
In the end, everything went right! Principal applicant got 7.0 in Writing and Speaking, and 8.5 in Listening and Reading. Spouse got 7.5 in Writing, 8.0 in Speaking, 8.5 in Listening, and 7.5 in Reading. You can’t imagine how much we celebrated these results!!! 🙂