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Interested in taking IELTS?
Let’s have an overview of the test.
IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who want to study or work where English is the language of Communication.
This is a standardized test that is designed to measure your language skills on all fronts. In fact, your IELTS score is the measure of your language proficiency. Universities and immigration departments use this score to decide whether they should grant your request for admission or emigration.
IELTS is offered up to four times a month in more than 125 countries. Tests are usually on Saturdays or Thursdays.
You can book your test date basing on the availability of seats. Of course, you should also decide how well prepared you are for the test. This is actually vital consideration for deciding on the test date.
There are two modules to choose from – Academic and General Training.
The Academic module is for candidates wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration
The General Training module is for wishing to migrate to an English-speaking country (Australia, Canada, New Zealand or UK) and for those wishing to study or train at below degree level.
Both modules cover all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. Everyone takes the same Listening and Speaking tests. There are different Reading and Writing tests for the Academic and General Training modules.
The Listening, Reading and Writing tests must be completed on the same day. There are no breaks between the three written tests. The Speaking test may be taken up to seven days before or after the other three tests
The IELTS tests all of the fundamental skills that you can put language to.
The following is the distribution of test components.
Timing: Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes’ transfer time)
There are 40 questions A variety of question types is used, chosen from the following: multiple choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labeling, form completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, summary completion, sentence completion, short-answer questions.
IELTS is internationally focused in its content. For example, a range of native-speaker accents (North American, Australian, New Zealand, and British) is used in the Listening test, and all standard varieties of English are accepted in candidates’ responses in all parts of the test.
Timing: 60 minutes (no extra transfer time)
Questions: There are 40 questions. A variety of question types is used, chosen from the following: multiple choice, identifying information (True/False/Not Given), identifying writer’s views/claims (Yes/No/Not Given), matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence ending, sentence completion, summary completion, flow chart completion and short answer questions.
Test Parts: There are 3 sections. The total text length is 2,150-2,750 words
Each section contains one long text. Texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been written for a non-specialist audience and are on academic topics of general interest. Texts are appropriate to, and accessible to, candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses or seeking professional registration. Texts range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. If texts contain technical terms, then a simple glossary is provided
General Training Reading
Section 1 contains two or three short factual texts, one of which may be composite (consisting of 6-8 short texts related by topic, e.g. hotel advertisements). Topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country
Section 2 contains two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues (e.g. applying for jobs, company policies, pay and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training)
Section 3 contains one longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest
Texts are authentic and are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers
Timing: 60 minutes
Tasks: There are 2 tasks
Candidates are required to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2
Test Parts: There are 2 parts
In Task 1, candidates are presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and are asked to describe, summarize or explain the information in their own words. They may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event
In Task 2, candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The issues raised are of general interest to, suitable for and easily understood by candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.
Responses to Task 1 and Task 2 should be written in a formal style
General Training Writing
In Task 1, candidates are presented with a situation and are asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style
In Task 2, candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay Topics are of general interest
Timing: 11-14 minutes
The Speaking test is a 3-part face-to-face oral interview with an examiner.
The Speaking test is recorded
There are 3 parts
Part 1 Introduction and interview (4-5 minutes)
The examiner introduces him/herself and asks the candidate to introduce him/herself and confirm his/her identity. The examiner asks the candidate general questions on familiar topics, e.g. home, family, work, studies and interests
Part 2 Individual long turn (3-4 minutes)
The examiner gives the candidate a task card which asks the candidate to talk about a particular topic and which includes points which the candidate can cover in their talk. The candidate is given 1 minute to prepare their talk, and is given a pencil and paper to make notes. The candidate talks for 1-2 minutes on the topic. The examiner then asks the candidate one or two questions on the same topic
Part 3 Two-way discussion (4-5 minutes)
The examiner asks further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2. These questions give the candidate an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas
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