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The International English Language Testing System (IELTS), commonly known as IELTS, is a globally recognized standardized test that evaluates English proficiency. Developed by leading language assessment experts worldwide, IELTS serves as a measure of an individual’s ability to use English effectively in academic or professional settings.

Established in 1989, IELTS is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English. It assesses all primary language skills, including listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

The test offers two versions: IELTS Academic, designed for those pursuing higher education or professional recognition, and IELTS General Training, for individuals intending to migrate to Australia, Canada, or the UK, or engage in secondary education, training programs, or work in an English-speaking environment.

What sets IELTS apart is its unique 9-band scoring system, ensuring a fair and unbiased evaluation of English language proficiency, ranging from “non-user” (band score 1) to “expert” (band score 9). The overall band score is calculated as the average of scores in the four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

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IELTS Listening
  • Both the General Training and Academic versions of the IELTS Listening test share identical formats. The only sections that vary between the two exams are the Reading and Writing components. Therefore, the information provided in this post is pertinent to preparation for both Academic and General Training IELTS.

    Duration for the IELTS Listening Test

    The IELTS Listening test lasts for around 40 minutes in total. You’ll spend roughly 30 minutes listening to recordings and answering questions in your Question Booklet. This booklet includes instructions and the questions you must respond to. Your final answers for assessment are written on the separate Answer Sheet.

    It’s crucial to note that only the answers you write on your Answer Sheet will be graded. After listening to the final passage, you’ll have 10 minutes designated for transferring answers from your Question Booklet to your Answer Sheet.

    Make the most of this “transfer time” by utilizing it wisely. There’s no need to finalize answers on your Answer Sheet until the 10-minute transfer period at the end. Use this time to write neatly and clearly, ensuring the grader can easily decipher your responses.

IELTS Writing

About IELTS Writing:

In the IELTS Writing section, candidates are assessed on their ability to construct coherent and logical arguments on specific topics. These topics generally revolve around subjects of general interest, familiar to students at the undergraduate or postgraduate level. Candidates are required to write a minimum of 250 words.

Task 2 is longer than Task 1, so it’s advisable to dedicate about 40 minutes to Task 2 and 20 minutes to Task 1.

The IELTS Writing test consists of two parts, and candidates have a total of 60 minutes to complete both components.

For the Academic module:

  • Task 1 involves describing information presented in various formats such as bar charts, line charts, diagrams, pie graphs, or tables. Candidates must provide a detailed report of at least 150 words based on the provided information.
  • Task 2 requires candidates to respond to an argument, problem, or issue. They are evaluated on their ability to present a reasoned and coherent response, covering a minimum of 250 words.
IELTS Speaking

IELTS Speaking Test Overview:

Here’s the essential information about the IELTS speaking test:

  • The speaking test is conducted face-to-face with an examiner in a designated room.
  • There is only one speaking test for all candidates, whether Academic or General Training.
  • Even if you choose computer-delivered IELTS, the speaking test remains face-to-face with an examiner, unchanged for everyone.
  • The test is recorded, allowing you to request a remark if desired.
  • It’s an informal conversation.
  • The examiner, who asks the questions, determines your results at the end of the test.
  • The test typically lasts between 11 and 14 minutes, staying within this timeframe.
  • The examiner manages the timing and duration of your responses.
  • The test comprises:
    • ID check and Greeting
    • Part 1: Questions and answers (4 to 5 minutes)
    • Part 2: A monologue for 1-2 minutes with follow-up questions for 1 minute.
    • Part 3: Discussion (4 to 5 minutes)
  • To assess your speaking score, four marking criteria are used:
    • Fluency & Cohesion (25%)
    • Vocabulary (25%)
    • Grammar (25%)
    • Pronunciation (25%)
IELTS Reading
  • Introduction to IELTS Reading:

    For many IELTS candidates, the Reading section is often seen as the most daunting part of the exam. This holds especially true for the Academic Reading section due to its strict time limits. Test-takers must move quickly through passages and answer questions promptly to finish the section within the allocated time. While the General Training Reading section may pose less difficulty, managing time remains a common challenge for many candidates. Whether you’re tackling the Academic or General Training version of the IELTS, adopting a strategic approach to the Reading section is crucial.

    Before discussing strategies, let’s explore some key aspects of the IELTS Reading test. While the Academic and General Training versions have their differences, they also share similarities. Both tests last for 60 minutes and include 40 questions. Furthermore, despite differences in the reading passages, the approach to answering questions is largely the same across both versions, as the types of questions are similar. Additionally, the General Training IELTS always includes one passage—usually the last one—that matches the length and complexity of an Academic Reading passage. As a result, students preparing for the General Training exam can benefit from studying Academic Reading passages and questions.

    Now, let’s look at the main differences between the Academic and General Training Reading sections.

    The Academic Reading section consists of three passages, each accompanied by 10-14 questions. These passages cover a range of topics such as science, history, and the environment. While expertise in these fields is not required, candidates with a broad vocabulary have an advantage. Academic Reading passages may include technical terms and visual aids like charts and graphs, often taken from professional and academic publications, textbooks, reports, and newspapers.

    Similarly, the General Training Reading section includes articles from journals, newspapers, and magazines, but with shorter passages and simpler vocabulary. The topics typically relate to everyday life, with some passages taken from advertisements, guidebooks, magazines, notices, or employee manuals, especially in the early sections.

    While there are variations in each General Training IELTS Reading test, candidates can generally expect a gradual increase in difficulty throughout the exam. Section 1 usually contains 2-3 short articles on everyday life topics, followed by two brief texts in Section 2, often related to work-related themes like job applications or company policies. Finally, Section 3 features a longer, more challenging text discussing academic or abstract topics, representing the toughest part of the General Training Reading exam.