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IELTS Test Format

The IELTS test assesses your abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking – in less than three hours. The exam also evaluates your communication skills needed for study and work in an English-speaking country. The qualification is accepted by over 10,000 Government departments, employers, immigration authorities and other professional bodies across the globe.
There are two types of IELTS:

IELTS test is available in two formats; one is Academic Module and another is General Training Module.

1. Academic Module is intended for those who want to enroll in universities and other institutions of higher education for degree and diploma courses.

2. General Training Module is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience, or for immigration purposes.
Listening and Speaking are the same for both tests candidates, but the subject matter of the Reading and Writing sections differs depending on which test you take.

IELTS Test Format

Listening, Reading, and Writing are completed in one sitting with no breaks in between them. The Speaking test may be taken on the same day or up to seven days before or after the other tests. All test takers take the same Listening and Speaking tests, while the Reading and Writing tests differ depending on whether the test taker is taking the Academic or General Training versions of the test.

IELTS Test Format

Test format – Listening

You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions.

Recording 1 – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
Recording 2 – a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
Recording 3 – 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.
Recording 4 – a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.

IELTS sample listening test
IELTS listening exercises for beginner

Assessors will be looking for evidence of your ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of an utterance and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas. Learn more details for clarification about IELTS listening test format.

Test format – Reading

The Reading section consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognizing writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose. Learn more details for clarification about IELTS reading test format.

IELTS sample reading test
IELTS reading exercises for beginner

Test format – Writing

There are two tasks for Academic Writing. Learn more details for clarification about IELTS writing test format.
Task 1 – you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarize 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.
Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.

IELTS sample writing task 1
IELTS sample writing task 2

There are two tasks for General Training Writing. Learn more details for clarification about IELTS writing test format.
Task 1 – you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.

Test format – Speaking

The speaking section assesses your use of spoken English. Every test is recorded. Learn more details for clarification about IELTS speaking test format.

Part 1 – the examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
Part 2 – you will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
Part 3 – 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.

IELTS part 3 samples
IELTS sample speaking test

Related IELTS Resources

Take a practice test to find out what is your current weakness in terms of IELTS scale and allow more time to improve your weak spots. The following IELTS resources will help you to develop your skills faster:

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