IELTS Test Format: Understanding the IELTS Exam

The IELTS test includes four different sections, in this post we are going to dig deeper into what to expect in the different sections of the IELTS exam. All test takers take the same speaking and listening section regardless if you are taking the academic or general training version of the IELTS.

Listening Section

The listening section of the IELTS consist of 40 questions, expect different kind of question types like multiple choice, matching, labeling etc. You receive 1 mark for each correct answer.

The listening part includes four different sections, where you will be listening to four different types of verbal communication. You will only be able to hear each part once.

  1. Conversation between two people or more
  2. Monologue (One person speaking)
  3. Conversation between a group (3 to 4 people)
  4. Monologue on an academic subject (lecture)

The listening part of the IELTS measures your listening comprehension of the main topic and information you have received.

Reading Section

The reading section gives you 60 minutes to answer 40 questions. Each correct answer gives you one mark. Like the listening section you can expect different types of questions like true/false, matching, sentence completion etc. There are 3 different sections included in the reading part and each text contains around 2500 words.

IELTS Academic Reading

Each section contains a long article. The article is usually an academic topic taken from journals, magazines, newspapers, and books.

IELTS General Training Reading

The first section includes between 2 to 3 short articles about general situations in an English speaking country.

The second section includes 2 short informational articles on a business related topic.

The third section includes a longer article on a complex issue.

The reading part measures your reading comprehension and ability to understand main ideas as well as implied meanings.

Speaking Section

The speaking section of the IELTS test takes between 11 to 14 minutes, it consist of a 3 part face to face interview with an examiner.

Part I: Introduction & Interview

You will be asked to introduce yourself and answer questions about personal matters.

Part II: Monologue

You will be given a task to talk about a specific topic, you will have 1 minute to prepare your speech. The examiner will ask you a couple of questions when you have finished your speech.

Part III: Discussion

You will be asked questions on the previous topic, and will discuss this topic with the examiner.

Your speaking test will be recorded.

Writing Section

The writing section includes 2 tasks; candidates are required to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2. You will have 60 minutes to complete the writing section.

IELTS Academic Writing

Task I: the test taker is asked to describe the data presented in a graph, chart or diagram.

Task I: the test taker is asked to write an opinion essay.

IELTS General Training Writing

Task I: the test taker is asked to write a letter based on a specific situation.

Task II: the test taker is asked to write an opinion essay.

International English Language Testing System

The IELTS tests your ability to communicate in English with focus on factors like, organization of ideas, ability to justify opinion, compare and contrast facts, and the accuracy and range of vocabulary and grammar.

To learn more about the IELTS test format visit which is the official website for the IELTS exam, to familiarize yourself with the IELTS test format and practice for the IELTS with click here.