IELTS, stands for International English Language Testing System.The IELTS test measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency, from non-user (Band Score 1) through to expert (Band Score 9).
IELTS conforms to the highest international standards of language assessment and is a mandatory requirement by immigration authorities and other government agencies to be eligible to work or study abroad.
Two types of IELTS
The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English-speaking country. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training.
IELTS General Training
The IELTS General Training test is for those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.
IELTS Test Format
IELTS assesses the Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking abilities of the candidates in 2 hours 45 minutes’ time.
In the IELTS Academic Format, the topics are of general interest and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.
The tests are divided broadly into four parts as follows:
- IELTS Reading Test
Duration: 60 minutes, 3 sections, in increasing order of complexity
The Reading Test comprises of 40 questions designed to test a wide range of reading skills. It shall test the logical argument abilities and assessing the writers' opinions, attitudes.
In the IELTS Academic Reading test - three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical are included, generally they are the extracts from books, journals, magazines and newspapers especially selected for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.
- IELTS Writing Test
Duration: 60 minutes, 2 writing modules
The Assignments comprise of two General subjects:
IELTS Listening Test
- Assignment 1 – The candidate will be presented with a situation and shall be asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. It could be personal, semi-formal or formal in style of writing.
- Assignment 2 - An essay has to be written by the candidate in response to a point of view, an argument or a problem fairly personal in style.
30 minutes, 4 sections on audio, in order of increasing difficulty
- Each section could be a dialogue or a monologue, played once only
- Questions for each section must be answered while listening by the candidate
- Couple of minutes are provided to students for checking their answers
Mostly, students get to hear four recordings of native English speakers:
- First Recording – Could possibly be a set up of conversation between two people in everyday social context.
- Second Recording- Could possibly be a monologue e.g. a speech about local facilities in everyday social context.
- Third Recording– Could possibly be a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a Professor and a student discussing an assignment.
- Fourth Recording– Could possibly be an academic monologue e.g. a university lecture.
The idea is to understand how the candidate grasps main ideas and detailed factual information from the context and forms opinions.
IELTS Speaking Test
11-14 minutes, 3 parts, individual interview is recorded with a specially trained examiner.
This test assesses the use of spoken English of the candidate in three parts:
- First Part - Lasts between four and five minutes where the examiner will ask general questions about the candidate and a range of simple and familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests, hobbies.
- Second Part - The candidate shall have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minute where he will be given a card asking him to speak about a particular subject. Later, the examiner will ask one or two questions on the same subject.
- Third Part – To give the candidate more opportunity to discuss additional abstract ideas and issues, the candidate will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2, this part of the test shall last between four and five minutes.
There are more than 1100 centres across the world are certified to administer this test mostly run by the British Council, IELTS Australia, universities and language academies. For more information you can also read the IELTS Official Website
or read our Frequently Asked Questions.