Road To The IELTS - Test Drive Reviews
As a part of my Canadian permanent resident application, I needed to prove that I am able to communicate and work in English. Since I was very confident in my English skills, with years of learning English behind me, and after doing a little bit of research about all the various English language tests that were available to me, I decided to go with the IELTS test (the General Training version), since it presented a pretty straightforward way for obtaining the necessary certificate. After registering for the test, I started looking for free online resources which would help me prepare. Money was definitely an issue, so buying printed materials was out of the question.
One of the online courses I ended up using ? mainly as a supplement to some other online resources ? was the Road to IELTS Test Drive, which is basically a free-of-charge version of a more comprehensive (and, I should add, not free of charge) online IELTS prep course called Road to IELTS.
The website did what it was supposed to pretty well: it enabled me to practice and test my knowledge in a setting that was basically identical to what awaited me at the actual test. As I mentioned, I used this site only as a supplement to some other resources. I didn't want to limit myself to just one resource, because I was worried that preparing for the test from just one perspective would probably not be the best approach. It is always good to look at things from at least two different perspectives, and that's what I tried to do in this case as well.
The user interface was very intuitive and interactive, so I was able to focus on the test itself. I imagine that people from all kinds of backgrounds arrive at this site, people who sometimes aren't at good terms with either computers or English, so it was nice to see that the design of the website was very straightforward, without any distraction or unnecessary content.
I spent most of the time in the so-called 'Practice zone' sections of each of the four test segments (i.e. listening, reading, writing and speaking), which contained the interactive test forms imitating what you would encounter in real-life IELTS tests. It was there that all the action took place and in my opinion the most interesting (even fun) part of the website. Unfortunately, in each of the four test parts, only one or two rather easy tests were available to non-paying visitors, but for me even that was enough since this wasn't my primary prep resource.
In addition to the 'Practice zone', the remaining three sections, 'Starting out', 'Advice and tutorials' and 'Test practice', also offered very useful resources like e-books and videos with tips and advices for each of the for parts. Also, the site contained sections in which you could check out your progress, compare your performance with the average score of all other users, set a countdown for your test, and generally gain insight in how well prepared you are. I found this feature to be very useful, as it enabled me to see firsthand that I was making progress.
All in all, my experience with this particular page was quite positive, even fun. I really enjoyed filling out the virtual test forms, and the fact that the website ran smoothly without any glitches definitely contributed to the overall positive experience.
In the end, the Road to IELTS Test Drive was a very positive but nonetheless limited experience of what one gets in the full version of the site. It is a great supplement to other free online IELTS test prep resources, but the limitations unfortunately prevent it from being used as a primary resource for ambitious IELTS test-takers.