The Importance of Visual Literacy: An Analysis of Potential Obstacles for Romanian Students in the Completion of IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

The Importance of Visual Literacy: An Analysis of Potential Obstacles for Romanian Students in the Completion of IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 by Marina-Cristiana Rotaru

IELTS seems to have become one of the most frequently taken English tests by Romanian students aiming to study abroad. While linguistic competence is indispensable for success, it is not sufficient to guarantee that the exam will be passed with the recommended band scale. Sustained training focused on the types of task characteristics of the four skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) is essential for achieving a good score in the test. The IELTS Academic Writing Task 1, based on graph analysis and interpretation, is one of those tasks that require specialized training. In this case, linguistic competence needs to be doubled by the ability to understand and represent information in the form of graphs, known as graphicacy. Although Romanian school curricula introduce pupils from all grades to various forms of graphic representation, Romanian students do not get enough training in graph analysis as required by an IELTS exam because this specific competence is not particularly envisaged by the national curriculum for English as a foreign language. Deciphering a graph and translating the lines and dots into words presuppose “obstacles” such as the use of appropriate language, conciseness and time limit, to mention but a few.

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