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.

There are 4 Modules in IELTS’s Exam.

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.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Test

In Detail >>>

IELTS is jointly managed by the British Council, Cambridge ESOL Examinations and IDP Education, Australia. There are two versions of the test:

  • Academic

  • General Training

Academic is for students wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels in an English-medium environment.

General Training is for people who wish to migrate to an English-speaking country.

This book is primarily for students taking the Academic version.

The Test

There are four modules:


30 minutes, plus 10 minutes for transferring answers to the answer sheet NB: the audio is heard only once.

Approx. 10 questions per section

Section 1: two speakers discuss a social situation

Section 2: one speaker talks about a non-academic topic

Section 3: up to four speakers discuss an educational project

Section 4: one speaker gives a talk of general academic interest

Reading (60 minutes)

3 texts, taken from authentic sources, on general, academic topics. They may contain diagrams, charts, etc.

40 questions: may include multiple choice, sentence completion, completing a diagram, graph or chart, choosing headings, yes/no, true/false questions, classification and matching exercises.


Task 1: 20 minutes: description of a table, chart, graph or diagram (150 words minimum)

Task 2: 40 minutes: an essay in response to an argument or problem (250 words minimum)


11-14 minutes

A three-part face-to-face oral interview with an examiner.

The interview is recorded.

Part 1: introductions and general questions (4-5 mins)

Part 2: individual long turn (3-4 mins) – the candidate is given a task, has one minute to prepare, then talks for 1-2 minutes, with some questions from the examiner.

Part 3: two-way discussion (4-5 mins): the examiner asks further questions on the topic from Part 2, and gives the candidate the opportunity to discuss more abstract issues or ideas.

 Timetabling Listening, Reading and Writing must be taken on the same day, and in the order listed above. Speaking can be taken up to 7 days before or after the other modules.


 The Listening and Reading papers have 40 items, each worth one mark if correctly answered. Here are some examples of how marks are translated into band scores:Marking

Listening:               16 out of 40 correct       answers:     band   score 5

                                    23 out of 40 correct       answers:     band   score 6

                                    30 out of 40 correct       answers:     band   score 7

Reading                   15 out of 40 correct       answers:     band   score 5

                                    23 out of 40 correct       answers:     band   score 6

                                    30 out of 40 correct       answers:     band   score 7

 Writing and Speaking are marked according to performance descriptors.

Writing: examiners award a band score for each of four areas with equal weighting:

  • Task achievement (Task 1)

  • Task response (Task 2)

  • Coherence and cohesion

  • Lexical resource and grammatical range and accuracy

Speaking: examiners award a band score for each of four areas with equal weighting:

  • Fluency and coherence

  • Lexical resource

  • Grammatical range

  • Accuracy and pronunciation

Brief Information about IELTS’s Exam…

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