David Larbalestier - Director of Studies of the English Language Program, INSEARCH

David Larbalestier
'IELTS is an international test used by England, Canada, New Zealand and Australia to determine the English language skills of non-citizens for immigration purposes.'

David Larbalestier is the director of studies of the English language program at INSEARCH, one of the largest English language teaching institutions in Australia. INSEARCH offers diploma and full-time or part-time English courses for local and international students and runs various IELTS preparation programs.


 

 

What is IELTS?

IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System. It's an international test used by England, Canada, New Zealand and Australia to determine the English language skills of non-citizens for immigration purposes, which includes applications for permanent residency and student visas. Australian universities, as well as universities in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and now over 1500 in the United States, also use the test to determine if international students have the required level of English to study at university.

How does the IELTS test work?

There are two different tests which are called modules. The general training module is used for immigration and permanent residency assessments, as well as technical colleges for entry to their courses, and the academic module is used by universities. Universities prefer students to sit the academic module because it's more relevant to university studies, and being an international test delivered to a very high standard, is more reliable.

What are the INSEARCH IELTS preparation programs?

The INSEARCH IELTS preparation programs help students prepare for the IELTS test by introducing them to the structure and style of the IELTS testing while teaching important skills and strategies. Being exposed to the style and structure of the test while developing skills and strategies helps candidates maximise their results.

How does the preparation program work?

The program is run in a classroom structure with one teacher per class of students (with a maximum 18 students in a group). We have a number of teachers at INSEARCH who specialise in the preparation program. They are all qualified and very experienced English and ESL teachers.

FYI ESL stands for English as a Second Language.

Students can enrol in full-time or part-time programs for a fee. There is a full-time (20-hours per week) IELTS preparation program, offered daily, Monday to Friday for five weeks. There is a 40 hour program, two hours daily for four weeks; and there are several part-time programs offered for five weeks. INSEARCH offers IELTS Preparation; Writing for IELTS and Speaking and Pronunciation for IELTS. Students can get information and application forms for any of our programs or courses on the INSEARCH website.

Who can do the preparation program?

Anyone coming to Australia to work or study who wants to improve their English skills for immigration purposes or to gain entry into university can study these programs.

What is the cost?

Program fees vary depending on which course the student elects to do. The courses start at A$385 (approximately A$19 an hour). Timetables can be viewed at the INSEARCH website.

How are the IELTS results delivered?

The test gives you a numerical standing, which reflects your English levels measured against fixed language criteria. There are four different skill areas which are tested   writing, speaking, listening and reading. To obtain the minimum standard for visa or immigration approval, you will need to meet the minimum result in each skill area as well as the minimum overall IELTS standing. The minimum standing varies according to which country the student is from. IELTS results are valid for two years.

Do all international students need to sit the IELTS test for study in Australia?

No. If students went to an international school overseas or if their education was in English, the equivalent of their higher school certificate result will determine their entry into university in Australia. However, depending on their nationality, if students have studied English at school, but not as their main language, they have to sit the IELTS test to be eligible to apply for a student visa to Australia. Students from Japan and some other countries do not require an IELTS result to apply for a student visa to Australia, but students in China and Vietnam do.

What happens if a student doesn't meet the minimum standard?

If a student doesn't achieve the IELTS level required for entry into university, he or she can do the INSEARCH academic English course to gain entry into university undergraduate courses, or sometimes directly into postgraduate courses.

FYI Students who successfully completed the academic English course or have an appropriate level of English, and have completed an INSEARCH diploma course, can gain entry into the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) as a second-year undergraduate student.

Students who are intending to do postgraduate studies at university will need to complete the Direct Entry English Program (DEEP) before they gain entry into their Master's degree at university.

How do people find out if they need to sit the IELTS test?

It is best to look at the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship website to find out who needs to sit an IELTS test and what standing they need to achieve as different immigration regulations are placed on different countries. For example, students from China will need to sit the IELTS test in their home country before they can apply for a student visa to study in Australia, whereas students from countries such as Japan, Korea and Hong Kong don't have to.

How have students responded to the preparation program?

Really well! We have really large numbers of enrolments, and have had for a very long time. The feedback from all the students has been good. This is due to the experience and expertise of the teachers and our excellent materials, including INSEARCH online resources.

What do students find most difficult when studying English?

Most find writing and speaking (the active skills) most difficult because they are harder skills to gain. Some learners find it easier to read and to listen (the passive skills) but to improve the active skills, it requires a lot more practice and effort.

Is there any financial assistance available for students enrolled in the program?

There are a few scholarships offered by universities in Australia. International students may be able to get a grant, a scholarship award, or a prize if they come first in a subject. Government grants are available to students doing PhDs and certain companies offer scholarships and sponsorships for international students.


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