IELTS – International English language testing system
The international English language testing system (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration, with over 2 million tests taken through more than 800 test centres and locations in over 130 countries last year. IELTS is one of the two major English-language tests in the world, the other being the TOEFL.
IELTS assesses all of your English skills — Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking, and is designed to reflect how you will use English at study, at work, and at play, in your new life abroad.
IELTS Test format
The IELTS test evaluates your abilities in reading, listening, writing and speaking in just less than three hours.
The IELTS exam is of two types:
Academic IELTS test.
The General IELTS test.
The listening and speaking tests are the same for both exams, but are different for the reading and writing sections.
Listening, Reading and Writing tests of the IELTS exam are completed on the same day with no interruptions or break during the exam.
The speaking test is done like a week before or after the main exam.
The total test time for the listening, writing and reading test is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
About the IELTS Listening test.
The duration of the listening test lasts for 30 minutes.
You would be required to listen to four recordings of native English speakers and write your answers to a series of questions asked.
The first recording is a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
The second recording is a monologue set in an everyday social context.
The third recording is a conversation between about four people set in an educational or training sphere e.g. a university students discussing about their assignments.
The fourth recording is a monologue on an academic subject or research, e.g lecture from a university.
The listening has four sections with ten questions for each one. The questions are designed in such a way that the answers appear in the order they are heard in the audio recording.
The recordings of the listening test are heard only once. They contain a wide range of accents, which are Australian, New Zealand, British, American and Canadian accents.
How the IELTS Listening test is marked?
The Listening test is well-marked by certified IELTS examiners, who on a regular basis are monitored to ensure their reliability. All the answer sheets after being marked are further analysed by the Cambridge Assessment of English.
A Band Score conversion table is used for each version of the Listening test which translates scores out of 40 into the IELTS band 9 scale.One mark is bestowed for each correct answer in the 40 question test.
About the IELTS Reading test
The duration of the listening test lasts for 60 minutes.
The Reading test consists of 40 questions planned to test a wide range of your reading skills. These skills include reading for summary, reading for the main ideas, reading for details, skimming and the ability to recognise the writer’s’ opinions.
How the IELTS Reading test is marked?
The reading test is well-marked by certified IELTS examiners, who on a regular basis are monitored to ensure their reliability. All the answer sheets after being marked are further analysed by the Cambridge Assessment of English.
A Band Score conversion table is used for each version of the reading test, which translates scores out of 40 into the IELTS band 9 scale.
About the Academic writing test.
The duration of the academic writing test lasts for 60 minutes.
The topics covered are for test takers who wish to study at undergraduate level, postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. The academic writing test is of two tasks:
Writing task 1 consists of graphs, tables, charts or diagrams and you would be asked to describe, summarise or explain the information you can see in your own words. You can also be asked to describe and explain data and describe stages of a process for this section.
Writing task 2 consists of an essay in response to a point of view, argument or a problem. Responses to both tasks should be in a formal style.
How IELTS Academic Writing is marked?
Each task is evaluated independently. IELTS writing Task 2 test carries more marks than its Task 1 counterpart.
The answers provided are assessed by certificated IELTS examiners. All IELTS examiners hold relevant teaching qualifications and are recruited as examiners by the test centres and approved by the British Council or IDP
About the General Writing test.
The duration of the general writing test lasts for 60 minutes.
Topics are of general interest and are of two tasks:
The task 1 presents a situation where you would be asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter can be personal, semi-formal or formal in the style of writing.
The task 2 requires you to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay may be fairly personal in style.
How IELTS Writing is marked?
The task 1 answers are assessed on:
Coherence and cohesion
Grammatical range and accuracy.
The task 2 responses are evaluated on:
Coherence and cohesion
Grammatical range and accuracy.
About the IELTS Speaking test
The duration of the speaking test takes like 11–14 minutes.
The speaking section measures your use of spoken English. Every speaking test is recorded. The speaking test is made up of three parts and they are:
The first part: the examiner often ask you general questions about yourself and a range of topics relating to families such as home, work, and personal interests. This part lasts around four and five minutes.
The second part: you would be asked to talk about a particular topic. You will have about two minutes to prepare before speaking for up to four minutes and the examiner will then ask some questions on the same topic.
The third part you will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.
To check for the available test dates for IELTS please click here.