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.

IELTS Test Overview: Frequent Questions About the IELTS Exam

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System, and is, together with TOEFL, the primary test used as admission requirements at universities in English speaking countries.
The IELTS tests your English skills in four different areas: speaking, writing, reading and listening. Here are some frequent questions we receive about the IELTS exam.

What is the IELTS qualification for?
If you are going to study or work in an English speaking country, taking the IELTS might be useful. Most universities in UK, U.S, AUSTRALIA, New Zealand and Canada accept IELTS. Many agencies and employers in these countries also recognize it as a proof of English knowledge.

Is there any difference in the difficulty Level between the two different versions of the IELTS?
There is no difficulty differences between the two different versions of the IELTS exam (click here to learn the difference between the academic and general training version)
The score required for admission to a university varies, but it usually is around 6.5.

What different sections does the IELTS exam include?
IELTS consists of four modules
• Speaking (11-14 minutes)
• Listening (30 minutes - 4 parts)
• Reading (60 minutes - 3 parts)
• Writing (60 minutes - 2 data)

The entire test takes 2 hours and 45 minutes.

How does the scoring work on the IELTS?
For each module, you get a score between 1 to 9 , where 9 is the highest. The average score of the individual modules are then aggregated and provides a comprehensive score.
Different IELTS Scores
9: Expert User
8 : Very Good User
7 : Good User
6 : Competent User
5 : Modest User
4: Limited User
3 : Extremely Limited User
2: Intermittent User
1 : Non User
0: Did not attempt the test

There is a clear advantage to taking a preparatory IELTS course before taking the exam, mainly to get used to the format of the exam. Start preparing for the IELTS exam today and maximize your IELTS score.

Hope this information cleared up some questions you have regarding the IELTS.

The Difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training Exam

We often get the question from people who are about to take the IELTS exam on what the difference between IELTS academic and IELTS General Training exam is? And which test they should take? So here is a brief overview of the two different IELTS formats.

IELTS General Training Exam

The General Training IELTS Test focuses on English in more of a professional setting. This could be in environment as secondary school, workplace and immigration.
The majority of IELTS General Training test takers are professionals who are looking to work in a country where the language is English. Some countries also require an IELTS score for immigration purposes.

IELTS Academic Exam

The IELTS academic test is for students who are looking to study at a University level in a English speaking country. Many admission offices require a certain level of IELTS score to be able to attend their University.

The IELTS Academic test is used by colleges and universities in these countries Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and United Kingdom.

How to Study for the IELTS Exam

Many students often ask what is the best way to study for the IELTS exam? Today's post is going to focus on how to study for the IELTS exam so that you are ready when it’s time to take the test.

Before doing anything it is important to understand how the exam is structured and to know whether you need to take the academic or general module. After getting this information you can start taking a closer look at the different sections of the IELTS exam (reading, listening, writing and speaking).

Once you have learned the test format for the different sections you can start focusing on improving your reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking skills and writing skills.

The fastest and most potent way to improve these skills are to take actual practice exams, by taking practice tests you improve the skill you of the section as well as your test taking skills which is a key factor when it comes to IELTS preparation. However test taking skills are often overlooked when studying for the IELTS.

Another interesting aspect is that practice tests often show you where your weaknesses are. For example if you are continuously scoring well on the reading and writing section parts of the practice exams, it might be a good idea to focus on the listening and speaking section.

By improving your weaknesses you insure that you will have better score when taking the IELTS exam. Another advice is not to become too overambitious in your preparation and try to learn the whole complete English language before taking the test.

Keep your focus on what you will see when taking the IELTS. Have a methodical study plan and go over all the sections of the exam while prioritizing on improving your weaknesses is the key point when it comes to how to study for the IELTS exam.