Student’s attitudes towards preparation for IELTS | Sunday Observer

Student’s attitudes towards preparation for IELTS

5 June, 2022

It is argued that the student’s attitude towards the proficiency of a particular language test might affect their level of performance in that test, it is clear that research conducted on the attitudes of these groups towards the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are not yet available.

Dr. Abe. W. Ata of the Deakin University, Australia remarked, “Crucially, how such attitudes might affect their overall band score in a standardized test such as IELTS is lacking.”

As noted by Dr. Ata, there has been a broader discussion around the world where the IELTS test is conducted regarding its methods of operation, validity of evaluating the readiness of candidates to move into higher education as well as its contribution towards the learning process within the university environments.

For a considerable period, Australia has been one of the most popular academic destinations among the students from around the world and currently the Chinese and the Gulf learners are the fastest-growing group of international students in Australia.

The population and rapid economic growth as well as strong motivation and aspirations for studies have enormously contributed towards the need for taking up the preparatory lessons for IELTS in order to enrol in universities abroad.


Affordability, accessibility, flexibility, and reputation are apparently some of the most immediate reasons that attract the students from around the world, particularly to the universities in Australia. It is believed that if somebody has got positive ideas on the people who use a particular language, they would get motivated and eventually be successful in learning that particular language.

Working with meaningful and interesting manifestations of language may enhance an intended learner’s motivation and the positive attitudes towards the language and its learning. Dr. Ata said, “Consequently, one could assume that if second language learners initiate their language learning while they have negative attitudes towards the target language and the people using that language, they are not expected to make considerable progress in their process of language learning”.

This particular assumption as noted by Dr.Ata was upheld as far back as 1995 as Truitt, a prominent researcher on language learning hypothesized that the beliefs and attitudes that the students have towards learning a language may vary based upon their previous experiences and cultural backgrounds. In that context, Dr. Ata said, “Thus, it can be argued that positive or negative attitudes do not develop accidentally but have some reasons for their emergence”.

Another researcher dealing with the matter of language learning stated that having positive or negative attitudes towards a particular language may also exert a considerable effect on the learner’s performance in a language test. There have been a series of studies on the relationships of causality where one study focuses on the relationship between IELTS preparation program and the performance of the candidates on the actual IELTS test.

Another study which investigated the impact of IELTS preparation programs on the academic performance of international students on tertiary study in New Zealand has revealed that there were a number of substantial differences between the performance of the group that had taken part in preparation programs and the group that had not taken part. The results of a study that dealt with the relationship between intensive English language study and the IELTS band score gain found out that the students were able to make a variable progress in the English language during the three-month period with an average gain of about half a band overall.

Research indicates that second language learners of English benefit from positive attitudes: negative attitudes might lead to decreased motivation. Nevertheless, it is believed that negative attitudes can be changed frequently by getting exposed to reality - for instance, by encountering actual persons from other cultures.

No formal study has shown that merely having a remarkably high attitude towards the IELTS test does not assure a good score. It is also noted that candidates are required to go through learning effective strategies to approach the test: taking part in preparation programs for IELTS would also be advantageous.

Speaking component

Some candidates are of the view that having a speaking component benefits them despite the relative anxiety involved. Further based on the type of the requirement to take up with the IELTS test: education and immigration purposes, it is believed that with the increase of candidates for both requirements, there is a growing need to investigate and analyse as to how the candidates with both requirements are able to perform at the test in terms of their age, gender, nationality, and other factors, instead of making an attempt to have a broad comparative analysis.

According to Dr. Ata, poor lexical or specific cultural knowledge of English by Arab-speaking students may cause several negative interferences. The speciality about Dr. Ata is that he has been able to produce a significant recommendation: it implies that more texts and tasks should be included with the IELTS preparation materials and that would be able to contribute towards the social and academic acculturation of students.

It is also suggested that the publishers are required to respond more to the growing market for the preparation programs for IELTS where it would be beneficial to invest in attractive, colourful, and motivating publications that are able to promote the studies of the IELTS candidates in the very same way where they have students preparing for other exams as well.

Dr. Ata said, “Since IELTS exams are now taken up by candidates from over 170 countries, the rubric or the exam questions/essays should be as culture-free and as international as possible; and that is where possible culturally nuanced ‘situated’ contexts should be adapted to many IELTS rubrics.”

Language issues

Based on his findings, Dr. Ata pointed out that the developers of the IELTS exam should consider getting engaged in a research agenda that is able to explore a range of international English language issues such as specific lexical or cultural knowledge that might have a disadvantage on the test takers. IELTS is of course not only a proficiency test that evaluates the candidate’s linguistics competency but also a comprehensive test that measures other components such as communicative competencies of the test taker.