IELTS – International English Language Testing System

What is IELTS?

IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is the language of communication.

IELTS is jointly managed by the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL), British Council and IDP: IELTS Australia. IELTS conforms to the highest international standards of language assessment.

IELTS is recognised by universities and employers in many countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It is also recognised by professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies.

Where can I take IELTS?

More than 1,100 test centers around the world administer IELTS. Most test centers are run by the British Council, IELTS Australia, or universities and language schools. Some testing centers also offer off-site testing for large groups by prior arrangement with IELTS. Contact your local examination center or visit www.ielts.org to find out where the nearest IELTS test center is located.

Where can I find information about registering for the test?

You can contact your nearest examination center or visit the official IELTS website for more information about application procedures and the location of a test center near you.

The Test Format

There are four sub-tests, or modules, to the IELTS test: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Students must sit all four sub-tests. While all students take the same Listening and Speaking tests, they sit different Reading and Writing tests, depending on whether they have selected the Academic Module or the General Training Module.

On the day of the test, the four subsections will be taken in the following order:

Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

The Speaking test may even take place a day or two later at some centres.

IELTS Listening test lasts for about 30 minutes. It consists of four sections, played on cassette tape, in order of increasing difficulty. Each section might be a dialogue or a monologue. The test is played once only, and the questions for each section must be answered while listening, although time is given for students to check their answers.

IELTS Reading test lasts for 60 minutes. Students are given an Academic Reading test, or a General Training Reading test. Both tests consist of three sections, and in both tests the sections are in order of increasing difficulty.

IELTS Writing test also lasts for 60 minutes. Again, students take either an Academic Module, or a General Training Module. Students must perform two writing tasks, which require different styles of writing. There is no choice of question topics.

IELTS Speaking test consists of a one-to-one interview with a specially trained examiner. The interview is recorded and has three separate parts:
An introduction and interview, an individual long turn where the candidate speaks for one or two minutes on a particular topic, and a two-way discussion thematically linked to the individual long turn. This interview will last for approximately 11-14 minutes.

Grammar for IELTS

In the IELTS test, Grammar is awarded a separate band score in both the Speaking and Writing modules. You are assessed on your ability to use correct and appropriate grammar and on the range of sentence types that you produce. Even simple sentences need to be written accurately but in order to raise your score above Band 4, you also need to be able to show that you can use some complex sentence types and have an understanding of the relevant tenses and structures.

This section offers concise yet comprehensive coverage of the grammar necessary in order to be successful in the IELTS test. It is designed for students with a limited amount of time to prepare for the IELTS test or for students who have already completed an IELTS course and would like a last-minute guide to the test.

Test format

In IELTS, there are four papers: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. There are two different IELTSmodules: Academic and General Training. The Speaking and Listening tests are the same in both modules, but the Reading and Writing tests are different.

Academic module

Choose this if you wish to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, or if you are seeking professional registration, e.g. doctors and nurses.

General Training module

Choose this if you wish to migrate to an English-speaking country, (e.g. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK) or if you wish to train or study at below degree level.

What’s in the exam?

Paper Content Time
Listening 40 questions Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes’ transfer time)
Reading 40 questions 60 minutes
Writing 2 tasks 60 minutes
Speaking 3 parts 11–14 minutes

Computer-delivered IELTS

If you select this option, you will take the Listening, Reading and Writing sections on a computer. The Speaking test will remain face to face with a trained IELTS Examiner. As per the authorisation body, it is the most effective way of assessing your speaking skills. The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests (Paper-based or Computer-delivered) are completed on the same day. The Speaking section, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests.