Ive Done SAT, Do I Need to Do IELTS?


Often when I share with a student, they need to do an ELP exam such as IELTS, I get the response, “But I am writing SAT I.” Let me explain what each is and why Canadian institutions and Canadian Immigration require IELTS (preferably).

The SAT Reasoning Exam, SAT I

SAT I measures a student’ readiness for university in terms of verbal reasoning and mathematics. Although it measures general educational skills, it doesn’t measure your overall English Language Proficiency. Applicants to American colleges and universities are required to take this test.

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International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

When you see what IELTS means, the difference between SAT and IELTS becomes apparent. IELTS is a comprehensive English language exam that covers listening, reading, writing and speaking. SAT covers only critical reading and writing. International students who are applying to Canadian universities if they need to write IELTS should take Academic IELTS.

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In my experience as an IELTS preparation instructor, students struggled most with the Reading and Writing section. The Reading section tests a student’s ability to read academic literature, so an extensive knowledge of technical, scientific and medical vocabulary is necessary to do well in this exam. A student must comprehend a long article in a short period of time. Therefore, knowing the vocabulary is necessary as is the ability to scan quickly and still understand is essential to getting a good score.

The other area where students lacked ability is in the Part I Writing Section. The Subjective essay is longer, requires 250 words instead of 150, but it is the shorter, Part I essay which causes students more problems. Students are presented with a graph, table, diagram and then they are to write a “White Summary” of that figure in front of them. This technical writing which is often expected from students going to universities is something that is not taught in a high school classroom but is so necessary to know for university.

English as the Language of Instruction

IELTS attempts to simulate what a student can expect in a classroom with an English language environment. Listening comprehension must be excellent because a lecturer is not going to slow down the speed at which he speaks because he or she has some international students in the classroom. They may not even realise they are speaking too fast for comprehension. Also, not every instructor has English as a first language. Many instructors, even in places like the UK, the USA and Canada will have lecturers whose first language is not English. Even for a native English speaker, this can be problematic. I remember a professor I had who was a visiting lecturer from Poland. I was so thankful for the Teaching Assistant and the textbook because I couldn’t understand what he was saying. So imagine if you, the listening student do not have English as your first language? How difficult will it be to understand the lecture? So take IELTS preparation and write the exam. It prepares you for university.

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If you take a normal course load at university, you will have five courses and LOTS of reading. So scanning and skimming will be your normal way of reading and you still have to comprehend what you have read. They will ask you questions on the exam. There are also all those writing assignments, or “White summary” reports you need to give about tables, graphs, etc. IELTS will prepare you for your university days ahead.

What Score Do Students Need for Canada?

Canadian universities and colleges will not even look at a SAT score, unless you have studied under the US curriculum. That is the only time they will factor SAT I into admission decision making. If a student has done high school under the British, IB curriculum, or if they take AP English, then the institution may exempt an applicant from providing IELTS scores. But otherwise IELTS is a requirement for admission to a Canadian institution. Additionally, when applying for a Canadian student visa, IELTS is the required exam.

The accepted score is generally 6.5 overall with nothing less than 6 in any band. Some programs may want a higher score.

Learn More: Cambridge Public Health Department Urges Residents to Get a COVID-19 Booster Shot

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IELTS Online Exam & Sample Questions
IELTS Online Plus, considering your test centre offers this, you will take the Listening, Reading and Writing

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