A British English test is being geared up to attract Korean English learners who are overwhelmed by American English tests, especially TOEFL and TOEIC. Ian Simm, director of the British Council Korea, revealed his marketing plan for IELTS in Korea during a press conference in Seoul.
“Korea was heavily influenced by the United States, and so far people have preferred the U.S. than any other country for studying abroad. There were few institutions in the U.S. that authorized IELTS — this has made people in Korea prefer TOEFL, said Simm.
“Last year, the number of Korean people who took IELTS was around 13,500, far less than those who took TOEFL. However, about 700,000 people took IELTS worldwide, which is similar to the number that took TOEFL, he added.
The British Council plans to double the number of IELTS applicants in Korea up to 20,000 by the end of the year and increase the number to 50,000 by 2010. Under the plan, it has promoted the test to college admission officials and personnel members of 15,000 domestic corporations. Also, it will set up more IELTS courses at private institutes.
Created in 1989, IELTS tests four English language skills — listening, reading, writing and speaking — like TOEFL but it differentiates itself with the speaking and writing test which are given by an examiner.
“I believe that the IELTS score has much more to do with practical English. As I told you earlier, since those who take the speaking exams have to sit face to face with the speaking examiner, IELTS is the best way to improve your English in every day lives.”