Is ACT really harder than IELTS? If yes, what makes it harder and, if otherwise, what makes it less difficult?
In this article, we shall examine the uses and level of difficulty or ease for both examinations and also give you tips on how to choose the best one for yourself. Let’s get started.
Differences Between ACT and IELTS
First, ACT is an acronym which stands for the American College Testing. While IELTS is an acronym which stands for the International English Language Testing System.
ACT and IELTS are two widely recognized standardized tests that serve different purposes. The ACT measures a student’s readiness for college, whereas the IELTS measures a non-native English speaker’s proficiency in English for academic and professional purposes. Here are some key differences between the two tests:
- Purpose: The ACT assesses a student’s knowledge and skills in four subject areas: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. It is commonly used for college admissions in the United States. On the other hand, IELTS measures a person’s ability to use English in an academic or professional setting, and is used by universities, employers, and immigration services around the world.
- Format: The ACT is a multiple-choice test, with an optional writing section. The IELTS has four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
- Scoring: The ACT is scored on a scale of 1-36 for each section, with a composite score calculated by averaging the four section scores. The IELTS is scored on a scale of 0-9, with scores in each section being averaged for an overall score.
- Test Dates: The ACT is administered on several dates throughout the year, whereas the IELTS can be taken on any of the 48 test dates available per year, although availability may depend on the location.
- Focus: The ACT assesses a student’s academic knowledge, while the IELTS tests a person’s ability to use English in real-world settings such as work, study, and social situations.
Comparing the Difficulty Levels of ACT and IELTS
The ACT and IELTS are two different standardized tests that are used to assess students’ academic abilities and skills. They are commonly taken by students applying to universities and colleges in different parts of the world. While both tests are designed to evaluate a student’s potential for success in higher education, there are some significant differences in the structure and difficulty level of these exams.
The ACT is divided into four sections: English, Math, Reading, and Science, while the IELTS consists of four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
The ACT focuses on testing a student’s knowledge in English, Math, Reading, and Science, whereas the IELTS examines a student’s proficiency in the English language.
The ACT is a three-hour long test, while the IELTS is two hours and 45 minutes long.
The ACT is generally considered more challenging than the IELTS. The math section of the ACT is known to be particularly difficult, while the reading and writing sections of the IELTS require a high level of knowledge of the English language.
The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, while the IELTS is scored on a scale of 0 to 9.
The ACT is primarily used for college admissions in the United States, while the IELTS is used for entry into universities and colleges in English-speaking countries worldwide.
Other Factors That Affect the Difficulty of ACT and IELTS
While the structure of the ACT and the IELTS exams play an important role in determining their level of difficulty, there are also several other factors that can affect the level of challenge a particular candidate may face. Some of these factors include:
- Language proficiency: One important factor that affects the difficulty level of the IELTS exam for non-native English speakers is their proficiency level in the language. Those with a weaker grasp of English will find it more challenging to understand and answer questions on the exam.
- Test-taking skills: A candidate’s overall test-taking skills, such as time management, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities, can also affect the perceived difficulty of the exam.
- Subject knowledge: For the ACT exam, a candidate’s subject knowledge in areas such as math, science, and English can significantly impact how challenging the exam may be.
- Test anxiety: Some individuals may experience test anxiety, leading to increased stress levels and difficulty concentrating during the exam, which can affect their ability to perform well.
- Testing environment: The testing environment can also play a role in the difficulty level of the exam. For instance, a noisy or crowded testing center can distract candidates and make it more challenging for them to focus, while a peaceful and well-lit center can improve their concentration and overall performance.
Is ACT Harder Than IELTS?
It’s not appropriate to compare the ACT and IELTS tests as they serve completely different purposes. The ACT is an American standardized test used for college admissions, while the IELTS is an English proficiency test used for immigration, work, and study purposes in English-speaking countries. Both exams are challenging in their own ways and require different skill sets. The difficulty level of each test may vary for individuals depending on their strengths and weaknesses.
Assessing the Challenge of ACT and IELTS for Non-Native English Speakers
The ACT and IELTS are standardized tests that assess non-native English speakers’ proficiency in the English language. These assessments can be challenging for several reasons, including the following:
- Language Barrier: The most significant challenge for non-native English speakers is the language barrier. They may struggle with vocabulary, grammar, idioms, and syntax, making it challenging to understand and communicate effectively.
- Familiarity with the Test Format: Non-native English speakers may not be familiar with the test format, which can make it challenging to understand the instructions and complete tasks efficiently.
- Time Management: ACT and IELTS tests are timed, which adds to the pressure for non-native English speakers, who may need more time to comprehend and respond to test questions.
- Cultural Differences: Non-native English speakers may face cultural differences that can make it challenging to comprehend and interpret test questions.
To overcome these challenges, non-native English speakers must prepare thoroughly, regularly practice and develop their understanding of the language. Additionally, taking online courses or working with tutors who have expertise in the language can help improve their proficiency in English.
In conclusion, non-native English speakers face various challenges when taking the ACT and IELTS tests. Nevertheless, with proper preparation and a strong commitment to learning, they can overcome these challenges and succeed in their academic pursuits.