Hong Kong IELTS students score highest grade yet, but slip in writing

Nicola Chan |

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Hong Kong’s 2018 IELTS Academic Test candidates hit their highest average score in English reading, listening and oral since 2013, but their performance in the writing task has dropped to a new low since 2014, an independent education organisation offering overseas student placement IDP Education announced at a press conference today. 

Ranking 13th place among more than 140 countries and third in Asia, Hong Kong’s candidates - who were mostly aged between 16 to 25 - achieved the average band score of 6.53 on a scale of one to nine in 2018, following Malaysia (6.88) and Philippines (6.81). The score signifies the candidates’ overall English level is between competent and good.  

The city’s rankings in the world and Asia remain unchanged as compared to 2017. 

Meanwhile, Germany (7.43), Greece (6.97) and Malaysia (6.88) were the top three performing countries in IELTS Academic Test in 2018. 

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Hong Kong’s 2018 candidates received an average score of 5.85 for writing, which is 0.12 lower than the year before, and about one mark or band lower than their best and second best performing task, listening (6.98) and reading (6.79). Their mean score in the oral exam is 6.27.  

Candidates wishing to pursue tertiary studies in Britain and Australia should at least score band 6.5 in their writing task, or band 7 for subjects required for professions like law and medicine, remarked IDP Education Limited's Senior Manager Calvin Chan Shing-kit.

Patrick Wan, IELTS Regional Manager, Greater China, said future candidates hoping to do well in the writing exams should familiarise themselves with different types of writing formats and task requirements, as well as the assessment criteria in accordance to the band score they wish to achieve. 

“Some mistakes commonly observed among candidates include misreading instructions and off-topic writing,” he said, while reminding students to not repeating examiners’ questions during the oral exam. 

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Meanwhile, the number of enquires about overseas study has risen by 10 per cent since the start of the anti-government protests, said the IDP Education Limited’s Country Director Emily Tse Hor-yee. 

“The most common enquiries we received were about studying in Australia or Britain. There is also a slight increase in the number of people interested in studying in Canada,” she said. 

The IELTS Online Service Portal, a web-based self-service platform for IELTS applicants, is also launched today for test takers to request copies and delivery of their results to their home and/or institutions.