IELTS (the International English Language Testing System) tests the capacity to read, listen, write, and speak in English in a professional setting where English is required. The test is divided into four segments: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. All candidates will takethe same Listening and Speaking sections. For the Reading and Writing sections, each candidate must then decide whether to take an Academic or General Training version.
Listening (approx. 30 minutes)
Candidates will hear various recorded texts and must answer questions based on each text. Each recording is played only once but candidates are permitted to view the questions beforehand and may take notes. Texts will be spoken with different dialects and accents.
Academic Reading (60 minutes)
Three reading texts (extracted from magazines, books, newspapers, etc.) will be presented and candidates are asked to complete tasks based on the readings.
General Training Reading (60 minutes)
Candidates will be expected to read, comprehend and use information from excerpts from instruction manuals, newspapers, magazines. Oneof the texts will be longer and more descriptive (as opposed to argumentative).
Academic Writing (60 minutes)
The candidate is asked to write two compositions. First, the candidate will examine a table or diagram and compose a report of approximately150 words on the information presented. Second, the candidate will respond toan opinion or problem with a 250-word essay. Each candidate is expected to create an argument, discuss issues, and utilize the appropriate tone and register.
General Training Writing (60 minutes)
The candidate is asked to write two compositions. First, the candidate will compose a letter of approximately 150 words requesting informationor explaining a situation. Second, the candidate will respond to an opinion or problem in a 250-word essay. Each candidate is expected to create an argument, discuss issues, and utilize the appropriate tone and register.
Speaking (11-14 minutes)
In a face-to-face, the candidate is expected to answer short questions, discuss a familiar topic at length, and interact with the examiner.
IELTS is scored on proficiency levels (called "bands") from one to nine. To provide some scope of these bands: band one implies a"non-user" (a candidate that has no ability to use English beyond a few isolated words), band five suggests a "modest user" (a candidate that has limited command of English and can understand overall meanings but may make many mistakes), and band nine indicates an "expert user" (a person highly fluent in English need to navigate most professional situations). The test will place a candidate in an overall band and band for each specific section of the test.
Top 6 Test Tips for the IELTS
Note-taking is a common task on the IELTS test, you may find this task in any section of the test.
In the writing sections (all sections), correct spelling is important! You will lose credit for misspelled words and improperly written dates (incorrect: 7th May. Correct: May 7th). Make sure your statements contain facts that are correct because points may be docked if you provide inaccurate information.
IELTS questions will always follow the same order of information as the recording.
In the speaking sections, try to use the same verb tense as the questions. Stick to the topic or else you could lose points. You will only have one minute to prepare during the real test so practice extracting useful information (note-taking key points) from recordings.
In the reading sections, some tasks may require you to answer questions using words or phrases directly from the text instead of putting the information into your own words. You will lose points if you use more than three words for sentence or note completion, summary.In the writing section, tone is important: you will lose points for employing the wrong tone.
For more information and scores/percentages by country and language of origin, visit www.ielts.org.
For IELTS texts and online training materials, visit here. Check out Road to IELTS, developed by the British Council. a rich-multimedia test preparation tool, available in network, standalone and online versions.
- Developed by the British Council.
- Includes at least 120 hours of learning materials.
- Aimed at IELTS, but useful for all higher level exams and for EAP.
- Integrates with Results Manager.
- Available for Academic and General Training Modules.
- Ideal for classwork, homework and self access.