Failing to achieve the band score you need will cost more than preparing in advance of taking IELTS. In this post, we will compare the exorbitant costs of having to retake the exam with the moderate expense of preparation. Most of this article is written from a South African point of view, but the facts are applicable to any country. We have dealt with the question of whether preparation is really necessary here.
Remember, migration is an expensive and exhausting process. Unfortunately, none of us can avoid this. The good news is that you can maximize your chances of clearing IELTS on your first attempt, so that you can focus on the many other processes you need to undergo before you can touch down in your new country.
Why is migration so expensive?
Migrating to a new country is a process that coordinates experts and practitioners from a wide range of industries. This includes lawyers, shipping agents, emigration consultants and bureaucrats. As you may already know, these costs build up.
Thankfully, you can make a rough prediction of how much you will have to spend. Detailed studies exist for popular destinations like the United Kingdom and other English-speaking countries like Australia and Canada. It’s a good idea to research these costs thoroughly before you start the process of moving to one of these countries. From a South African point of view, you need to think in terms of tens of thousands of Rands, if not more.
As you probably know already, IELTS is an additional cost for migration to any of these countries. Sadly, many people learn the hard way that failing costs more than preparing. At Highway IELTS, people often ask us why English language tests are necessary. The fact is that many countries around the world demand language proficiency, if not for emigration then certainly for naturalization. This makes sense because most countries only offer permanent residence to people who can communicate and work in the society.
How Much does IELTS Cost?
To find out the cost of the IELTS exam, you should contact your nearest British Council center. South Africans can access the cost here. IELTS General Training, Academic and UKVI come with the same price tag. If you don’t get the band score you need on your first attempt, you will have to book the whole exam again and pay the entire fee. You cannot take a single section of the exam in isolation. This means that if you get the score you need in speaking, listening and reading, but your writing score is low, you have to do all four tests again. Fortunately, you do not have to wait for a specified period before making a second booking.
It’s a good idea to get to grips with the national averages for your country of origin. If the score that you need is on or above the national average, you should consider seeking some expert guidance before you attempt the exam. If you don’t, you run the risk of having to pay the full exam fee again. In addition, depending on where you live, there may be a long waiting list to get another exam date. If you are in a hurry, you should consider taking the computer-based version of the exam.
How Much Should I Spend Preparing?
The first step is to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Nobody should attempt IELTS without at least a modicum of research or in-person tuition beforehand. This is like attempting a running race without training. We can all run, can’t we?
Well, most of us can, but few of us have done so competitively since we finished school. In light of this, you would probably do some training and get an idea of your running speed before the race. Once you have gained a concrete idea of your language ability in relation to IELTS requirements, you will be in a better position to judge how much time, effort and money you need to spend. We encounter a large number of people who have taken the exam once or twice before reaching out for assistance. Let’s look at how much this mistake can cost:
- The cost of the test, for South Africans, as of the time of the writing of this article, is ZAR 3620
- This means that writing the exam twice will cost ZAR 7240
- By the time we arrive at a third attempt, the cost has now exceeded ZAR 10000
- The average preparation budget for a first-time test taker is approximately ZAR 2000. At Highway IELTS, this includes an in-person workshop and one specialized course under the guidance of a member of our expert academic team
Preparing thoroughly for the exam ends up being the more affordable option. Failing costs more than preparing in advance. As we’ve said many times before, falling short of your goals in IELTS does not reflect on your intelligence. IELTS is a difficult test, and you need to understand its components before you tackle them. Many people, including academics and other professionals, find themselves in the unfortunate predicament of making multiple attempts. Give yourself time and make the effort – you’ll thank yourself (and us) later.