Culture has nothing to do with IELTS exam

Cultural bias is a weak scapegoat for poor IELTS performance, readers say. Other topics: saving, cycling , UAE airlines, rents

Preparation is key to achieving high scores in the IELTS exam, readers say. Christopher Pike / The National
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Your editorial IELTS exam provides test for schools (February 1) made me ponder whether an international exam is supposed to cater to thousands of cultures around the world or should the test takers acquaint themselves with the system. It's a million-dollar question.

Sara Smith, US

Cultural bias is a weak scapegoat for poor IELTS performance. It is already widely known that standardised testing is often culturally biased.

However, anyone who has ever been in an English language classroom in this country knows that, of all the factors affecting test scores, cultural bias is not the largest one in poor scores.

More needs to be done to research motivational factors, attitude towards study, teaching methods in secondary and primary school and study habits if progress is to be made in preparing students for university.

You could be taught by the best teachers with the best methods, but if you don’t have a positive attitude and good study habits (and indeed enough time), you will not be successful in learning a language and will need study to bridge the gap before moving forward.

Low national score averages are also the result of students not preparing or studying properly and taking the test simply in hopes of getting a high enough score to enter baccalaureate programmes in federal institutions.

D Glass, Dubai

The exam is not culturally biased. Those who did poorly should reflect and learn from their failure. Complaining will not improve their score.

Gaby Priestley, UK

Understand the value of money

I agree with your argument in the editorial Clear language needed for loans (February 1).

If people were taught the value of money, they wouldn’t need to go into debt. All good things come to those who wait.

Delayed gratification is better. So save for what you want instead of lining bankers’ pockets with your money.

Name withheld by request

Build more cycle lanes, please

Dubai should do more to be bicycle friendly (Dubai aims for record Car Free Day this year, February 1). The weather is suitable for cycling for eight months a year, so more bicycle lanes need to be implemented.

Paolo Maselli, Dubai

Our airlines have no parallel

I can't imagine choosing any of the big three US airlines – American, Delta and United – over Etihad or Emirates unless the big three offer an enormous discount (Open skies dispute between US and Gulf airlines escalates, January 30). The quality of the experience is not comparable.

John Francis, US

Competition is fair game. US airlines should upgrade their services and align their prices.

Wissam Halawani, Abu Dhabi

Why would I pay for 15 hours of bad service? We love you Emirates. Keep it up.

Pam Durant, Dubai

Doubts over rent decrease

I still have to validate what property consultants are saying about falling rents in Dubai (Dubai house prices and rents still slipping but worst appears to be over, February 1).

From my experience and observation, I can say that rents have not decreased. So what is the basis of these figures?

Name withheld by request

Worst is over for whom? Certainly not tenants.

Steve O'Brien, Dubai