There are two modules to choose from – Academic and General Training.
IELTS Academic is for test takers wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration.
IELTS General Training
IELTS General Training is for test takers wishing to migrate to an English-speaking country (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK), and for those wishing to train or study at below degree level.
The four components of the IELTS test
Timing – Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes’ transfer time).
Questions –There are 40 questions.
A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following: multiple choice, matching, plan/ map/diagram labelling, form completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, summary completion, sentence completion, short-answer questions.
There are 4 sections:
Section 1 is a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context (e.g. a conversation in an accommodation agency).
Section 2 is a monologue set in an everyday social context (e.g. a speech about local facilities or a talk about the arrangements for meals during a conference).
Section 3 is a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context (e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment, or a group of students planning a research project).
Section 4 is a monologue on an academic subject (e.g. a university lecture). Each section is heard once only. A variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used.
A wide range of listening skills are assessed, including: • understanding of main ideas • understanding of specific factual information • recognising opinions, attitudes and purpose of a speaker • following the development of an argument.
Marking Each correct answer receives 1 mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale.
Scores are reported in whole and half bands.
Timing – 60 minutes (no extra transfer time).
There are 40 questions. A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following: multiple choice, identifying information (True/False/Not Given), identifying a writer’s views/claims (Yes/No/Not Given), matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion, short-answer questions.
There are 3 sections. The total text length is 2,150-2,750 words.
Each section contains one long text. Texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been written for a non-specialist audience and are on academic topics of general interest. Texts are appropriate to, and accessible to, test takers entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses or seeking professional registration. Texts range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. If texts contain technical terms, then a simple glossary is provided.
Section 1 – contains two or three short factual texts, one of which may be composite (consisting of 6-8 short texts related by topic, e.g. hotel advertisements). Topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country.
Section 2 – contains two short factual texts focusing on work related issues (e.g. applying for jobs, company policies, pay and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training).
Section 3 – contains one longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest. Texts are authentic and are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers.
Skills assessed – A wide range of reading skills are assessed, including: • reading for gist • reading for main ideas • reading for detail • understanding inferences and implied meaning • recognising writer’s opinions, attitudes and purpose • following the development of an argument.
Timing – 60 minutes
Tasks – There are 2 tasks. You are required to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2.
In Task 1, you are presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and are asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
In Task 2, you are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The issues raised are of general interest to, suitable for and easily understood by test takers entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. Responses to Task 1 and Task 2 should be written in an academic, semi-formal/neutral style.
General Training Writing
In Task 1, you are presented with a situation and are asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal or semi-formal/neutral in style.
In Task 2, you are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing.Task 2 essay. Topics are of general interest.
Timing – 11-14 minutes
Test Parts – There are 3 parts.
Part 1 Introduction and interview (4-5 minutes) The examiner introduces him/herself and asks you to introduce yourself and confirm your identity. The examiner asks you general questions on familiar topics, e.g. home, family, work, studies and interests.
Part 2 Individual long turn (3-4 minutes) The examiner gives you a task card which asks you to talk about a particular topic and which includes points you can cover in your talk. You are given 1 minute to prepare your talk, and are given a pencil and paper to make notes. You talk for 1-2 minutes on the topic. The examiner may then ask you one or two questions on the same topic.
Part 3 Two-way discussion (4-5 minutes) The examiner asks further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2. These questions give you an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas.
A wide range of speaking skills are assessed, including: • the ability to communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences and situations by answering a range of questions • the ability to speak at length on a given topic using appropriate language and organising ideas coherently • the ability to express and justify opinions and to analyse, discuss and speculate about issues.