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The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular and recognized English language proficiency test for study, work and migration, with more than three million tests taken in the past year.
The IELTS results are recognized by more than 10,000 organizations, including educational institutions, employers, professional associations and governments, in 140 countries around the world. IELTS is a test of all four language skills such as - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
Listening, Reading and Writing tests shall be conducted on the same day one after the other, with no breaks in between. For the Speaking test, you can book a slot online on your preferred date and time. If you fail to choose a slot within the stated time period, a time slot will be automatically allocated to you.
The total test time is under three hours. You can choose to take your IELTS test either on paper or computer, depending on your convenience. There is no difference in the content, format or level of difficulty between the two options.
Remember, you will have to carefully choose which module you wish to take - IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training, depending on the purpose of taking test.
For academic purposes − thousands of the world’s most reputable universities and colleges will accept your IELTS results as evidence of your English language proficiency.
For working professionals − professional registration bodies in many fields will accept an IELTS result, including accounting, engineering, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and teaching bodies in many countries. This means that after completing your studies, you may need to take the test in order to gain professional registration in an English-speaking country.
For migration and PR purposes – IELTS scores are required by governments in more countries than any other English language test as a requirement for permanent residency. Unlike other test providers, the IELTS General Training test is the only non-academic test available for migration to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, The United Kingdom and The USA.
It’s the test that’s fairer to you – IELTS assesses you on your practical communication abilities and provides with an accurate assessment of the four skills being tested. It lays emphasis on on testing the language abilities rather than specialist knowledge of the candidate and offer two versions – Academic and General Training. Plus, it allows for a one-on-one Speaking test one with an examiner in a private room with no distractions.
The test content for IELTS is developed by an international team of experts and undergoes extensive research to ensure the test remains fair and unbiased for any candidate regardless of nationality, background, gender, lifestyle or location.
IELTS Life Skills is a test for those who need to prove their English speaking and listening skills to acquire a UK VISA, and is available at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels A1 and B1. It is designed to meet the requirements of UKVI for certain visa categories and other immigration purposes.
In order to opt for computer-delivered IELTS, you take the Listening, Reading and Writing components using a desktop computer. All other things related to the test remains the same as paper-based IELTS test, including, Content, Question types, Timings and Marking. The timings when you take IELTS on computer are slightly different from the paper-based test, before attempting any part of the Listening test, you’ll have some time to read the questions and before finishing the Listening test, you’ll be given two minutes to review your answers. Duration of the Listening test is approx. 30 – 36 minutes.
The four parts of the IELTS test
The test total time is: 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Listening, Reading and Writing are completed in one sitting. 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.
The module comprises four sections, with ten questions in each section. It takes 40 minutes: 30 - for testing, plus 10 for transferring the answers to an answer sheet.
Sections 1 and 2 are about everyday, social situations.
Sections 3 and 4 are about educational and training situations
Each section begins with a short introduction telling the test taker about the situation and the speakers. Then they have some time to look through the questions. The questions are in the same order as the information in the recording, so the answer to the first question will be before the answer to the second question, and so on. The first three sections have a break in the middle allowing test takers to look at the remaining questions. Each section is heard only once.
At the end of the test students are given 10 minutes to transfer their answers to an answer sheet. Test takers will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar.
The Reading paper has three sections and texts totaling 2,150-2,750 words. There will be a variety of question types, such as multiple choice, short-answer questions, identifying information, identifying writer's views, labeling diagrams, completing a summary using words taken from the text and matching information/headings/features in the text/sentence endings. Test takers should be careful when writing down their answers as they will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar.
Texts in IELTS Academic
Texts in IELTS General Training
The Writing paper has two tasks which must both be completed. In task 1 test takers write at least 150 words in about 20 minutes. In task 2 test takers write at least 250 words in about 40 minutes. Test takers will be penalised if their answer is too short or does not relate to the topic. Answers should be written in full sentences (test takers must not use notes or bullet points).
IELTS General Training
The speaking test is a face-to-face interview between the test taker and an examiner.
The speaking test contains three sections.