IELTS Life Skills Official Cambridge Test Practice B1 with Answers by Cambridge English (Ebook)
What is IELTS Life Skills Test?
IELTS Life Skills is a speaking and listening test, which is available at A1 and B1 levels, as described in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This exam is needed to support an application to live in the United Kingdom.
The tasks in the test reflect the experience of communicating in an English-speaking country.
Two candidates take the test together, and are interviewed by one examiner. The test cannot be taken alone.
The topics covered in the test include:
• personal details and experiences
• family and friends
• buying goods
• education and training
At B1 level, candidates are expected to demonstrate that they can:
• listen and respond to spoken language, including straightforward information and narratives, and follow straightforward explanations and instructions
• communicate information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics, using appropriate formality
• talk with one or more people in a familiar situation, making relevant points and responding to what others say to reach a shared understanding about familiar topics.
Speaking tasks at B1 level may include the following skills:
-describing and comparing
-giving personal information
-asking for information or descriptions
-agreeing and disagreeing
-explaining, giving reasons or justifying
-showing contrast, cause, reason or purpose
-asking about past or future events
-expressing future certainty or possibility.
What’s in the IELTS Life Skills test
The IELTS Life Skills test has four parts or ‘phases’:
Phase 1a (3 minutes)
• The examiner asks you both your name and nationality.
• The examiner gives you and your partner a topic to ask each other about
• You ask and answer each other’s questions for about two minutes.
• The examiner might also ask questions, but this only happens if you stop talking early.
Phase 1b (7 minutes)
• The examiner asks you to speak for about one and half minutes about a topic while the other candidate listens.
• The candidates have 1 minute to prepare what to say.
• Candidate A speaks for 1 Vz minutes. Candidate B then asks three questions to Candidate A, which Candidate A answers.
• Candidate B speaks for 1 VS? minutes. Candidate A then asks three questions to Candidate B, which Candidate B answers.
Phase 2a (5 minutes)
• You listen to two recordings and the examiner asks questions about what you hear. You can make notes if you want to.
• The examiner asks Candidate A one question about the first recording, and Candidate B one question about the second recording. You see the three possible answers on a page in a booklet.
• You listen to the two recordings for the second time.
• The examiner asks you two more questions. This time, the examiner asks Candidate B two questions about the first recording, and asks Candidate A two questions about the second recording.
• You listen to the two recordings again and the examiner asks each of you the same two questions.
Phase 2b (7 minutes)
• In the first part, the examiner asks you to plan and decide something together. For example, you are sometimes asked to imagine a situation and talk about what a friend or colleague should do.
• The examiner gives you a list of suggestions for things to talk about, and reads out this list.
• You talk together for 2 minutes. You choose an option from the list on the left, and then plan and decide what to do about it using the ideas on the right.
• In the second part, the examiner asks you to discuss a topic. This is usually connected to the plan that you talked about before.
• You talk together. If you stop talking too early, the examiner will ask a question which will help you to continue talking.
How to use IELTS Life Skills Official Cambridge Test Practice B1 book?
For the learner
You can use this book without a teacher to prepare for the test. It Is best if you can practise with another student. This can be someone else who is preparing for the IELTS Life Skills test, or someone who has a similar level of English to you.
The book has instructions, which make it easy to use, and audio recordings on CD and as downloadable files. You may also find it helpful to refer to the Cambridge English Language Assessment website. Here you can find sample papers from the test, including instructions for examiners: www.cambridgeenglish.org
The activities in the book are as follows:
• First, you read some test tips which give advice about each part of the IELTS Life Skills test.
• Then you try to do the test practice task yourself (with a partner if possible). Each task focuses on one part of the test.
• Next, you listen to an audio recording of two candidates doing the same task.
Finally, using the extra material in the book to help, you do the task for a second time.
How to use the recording
Read the information on the right page first. Then listen to two ‘candidates’ doing part of the test. Then you practise it with a partner or on your own.
For the listening (Phase 2a), read the questions and listen to the recording. Try to answer the questions. Then listen to the two ‘candidates’ answering the questions and you will hear the correct answers.
Take time to listen to each test as many times as you can. Learn any new words and language. Listen to the recording to help you say the words. Think: ‘What do I need to do?’ in each part of the test. The people on the recording are not real learners. They do not make mistakes with their English. Use them to help you learn. In real life, learners make mistakes in the test. You can make mistakes but you can still do well in the test. You do not need perfect English.
The best way to practise for a language test is to practise with another person. But this is not always possible. You can do the activities in the book with a partner or on your own.
When learners are doing the test practice material, various interaction patterns are possible, including:
• whole class demonstration. The teacher plays the rote of the examiner throughout, and two learners play the two candidates, with two different learners coming to the front of the class to do this for each phase. The rest of the class watch the test and feed back on their peers’ performance. This could be done as follows.
• Phase 1 a with students A and B
• Feedback on Phase 1a
• Phase 1 b with students C and D
• Feedback on Phase 1 b
• Phase 2a with student E and F
• Feedback on Phase 2a
• Phase 2b with students G and H
• Feedback on Phase 2b
• learners in groups of three with one leamer playing the role of examiner. In this case, the leamer who is playing the role of the examiner would need to have the exam script in front of them, and would need to be familiar with the format of the test and the task layout on the page (e.g. the use of boW for the examiner speaking frame)
• learners in groups of four, with three playing the rotes of examiner and two candidates (as above) and the fourth being an observer. The observer watches the other three learners do a phase of the test, and then provides feedback to the learners on their performance. This is more likely to succeed if the teacher gives the observer categories to feed back on, e.g. pronunciation, accuracy of language, friendliness and politeness, etc.
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