Investigating test preparation practices: Reducing risks

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Date: 9th May 2019

Time: 12:20 – 13:05

Room: South Wharf

Presented By : Dr Phil Chappell, Professor Phil Benson and Professor Lynda Yates


Test preparation is crucial to test success. However, we still know very little about the different ways in which the diverse population of IELTS candidates prepares for this. The several, small-scale studies that do exist suggest that while some prepare on formal language courses, many do not. Although those who do not take formal preparation courses may take advantage of a variety of other ways to prepare, we also know that some candidates do little or no preparation at all. In this workshop, we will start out by inviting participants to identify factors they feel are crucial in test preparation. We will then give a brief overview of the IELTS test preparation research project we have just completed which was designed to find out about candidates’ beliefs and practices related to test preparation. We will present our findings in relation to the beliefs, attitudes and opinions associated with test preparation, and present the range of test-preparation practices that test-takers reported. Finally, we will identify the factors that impact on the practices of test-takers with a view to developing understandings of what effective test preparation may look like.
Following these short presentations, we will workshop with participants the implications of our findings for English language teachers, colleges, test centres and IELTS Australia, including discussions of the types of resources that “good” test takers access, and the range of experiences that test takers have when preparing for and taking the test. Participants can expect to learn more about the experiences of IELTS test-takers in Australia, with a view to discussing how we may support them in performing as best they can.