IELTS

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular globally conducted English language test for higher education and global migration. The prestigious IELTS exam is jointly managed by the official conducting authorities: the British Council and IDP IELTS and was established in the year 1989. By appearing for the IELTS test, non-native English language speakers can prove their proficiency in the English language in order to study, work and migrate abroad to English speaking countries. More than 3.5 million tests are taken each year.

Why IELTS?

IELTS

The majority of workplaces and most renowned universities/colleges require the IELTS exam as a mandatory eligibility criterion. Government immigration agencies more often than not make a prerequisite demand for providing proof of English language skills. 

IELTS is conducted in over 1,600 locations in more than 140 countries. 10,000+ organisations and institutions worldwide accept IELTS results as proof of language ability. 

Candidates now have the flexibility to opt for a paper-based IELTS exam or choose to sit through a computer-delivered test. The format of both the exams remains the same. 

IELTS Test is universally accepted for all the above purposes in the USA, the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and many other countries worldwide.

Anyone who desires to either study, work or migrate to the United Kingdom will have to opt for the IELTS test approved for UK Visas & Immigration purposes. The exam is also called IELTS for UKVI. 

The Academic as well the General Training of IELTS for UKVI are conjointly called Secure English Language Test (SELT) and are approved by the UK Home Office for visa applications to the United Kingdom. 

Appearing for IELTS Test and securing an apt IELTS Score is all but the very first step in the Visa Application process. Given that the IELTS Score conforms to the highest international standards of language assessment, it is a trusted and valid indicator of your ability to communicate in English. IELTS Results are more often than not a non-negotiable and an integral part of the admission and recruitment process of most institutions.

Happy teacher welcoming students in classroom, standing at blackboard with Hello Class inscription. Vector illustration for back to school, education concept

IELTS is conducted for two different modules: Academic and General Training. The IELTS test consists of four papers: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The Listening and Speaking tests are the same for both the modules while the Writing and Reading tests are distinct. The IELTS Exam can now be taken on both a computer and on paper. There are no limits for the number of attempts. IELTS results are valid for two years.

The total duration of the test is 2 hours 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writing modules of the exam will be conducted on the same day without any break whereas the Speaking module will be scheduled up to about a week before or after the other tests. You will be informed about the date and time of your speaking test by your IELTS test centre.

IELTS ACADEMIC 

Opt for this module if you want to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate studies or in case you want to be a registered professional like a doctor or a nurse.

IELTS GENERAL TRAINING

Opt for this module if you are seeking migration to English speaking countries like the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand or if you want to train and/or study at below degree level.

IELTS AT A GLANCE

Paper type

Content

Duration

Listening

40 questions

30 minutes + 10 minutes transfer time

Reading

40 questions

60 minutes

Writing

2 tasks

60 minutes

Speaking

3 parts

11–14 minutes.

(Same for both Academic and General Training)

The listening paper has four parts, each having ten questions. The recording will be played only once and the information relayed would be in the same order of the questions. Therefore, the answer to the second question can be found before the answer to the first question.

Diverse accents such as North American, British, Australian and New Zealand can be used.

IELTS LISTENING AT A GLANCE

Part 1

Everyday, Social situations

Two speakers

Part 2

One speaker

Part 3

Educational & Training situations (Academic)

Two speakers

Part 4

One speaker

Total 40 questions

One mark for each correct answer.

30 minutes (plus 10 for transfer)

Approximate 30 minutes are allotted for IELTS Listening. Moreover, a transfer time of 10 minutes is provided for writing the answers in the answer sheet. Marks will be deducted for incorrect spellings and grammar, hence answers must be filled attentively. One mark will be allotted for every right answer.

The final Band score for IELTS Listening will be given either in half or full bands, e.g. 6.5 or 8.0.

IELTS READING (ACADEMIC)

IELTS Academic Reading paper consists of three sections and a total of 40 questions. The text length, in total, will range from 2,150 to 2,750 words.

The text will be sourced from books, journals, magazines, newspapers and online resources, pertaining to a non-specialist audience. The topics, though diverse, will be of general interest to students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The designated text will be quite diverse in writing styles, ranging from narrative/descriptive to discursive and argumentative. Diagrams, graphs and illustrations might be included as well. An elaborate and intricate logical argument will be given in one text, minimum. In case of any usage of technical vocabulary, a simplified dictionary definition will be allotted.

Kindly take note that, unlike the IELTS Listening paper, no additional transfer time of 10 minutes will be provided. Hence, answers must be transferred to the answer sheet in the allocated hour of the IELTS Reading test. Moreover, answers must be written diligently to abstain from losing marks for incorrect spellings and grammar.

IELTS READING (ACADEMIC) AT A GLANCE

Allotted time
Number of Sections
Number of questions 
Marking
  60 minutes (including transfer time)
3
40
One mark for each correct answer

The Reading paper of IELTS General Training has 3 sections of increasing difficulty and an overall total of 40 questions. The text length, in total, will range from 2,150 to 2,750 words.

The text will be varied with topics ranging from shorter everyday text to longer, intricately descriptive ones and will be sourced from books, magazines, newspapers and online resources.

Kindly take note that, unlike the IELTS Listening paper, no additional transfer time of 10 minutes will be provided. Hence, answers must be transferred to the answer sheet in the allocated hour of the IELTS Reading test. Moreover, answers must be written diligently to abstain from losing marks for incorrect spellings and grammar.

IELTS READING (GENERAL) AT A GLANCE

Allotted time
Number of Sections
Number of questions 
Marking
60 minutes
(including transfer time)
3
40
One mark for each correct answer

THE COMPLEXITY OF THE THREE SECTIONS IS FURTHER MENTIONED BELOW IN DETAIL.

Section 1
Two or several shorter texts
Everyday topics
(grasp crucial details from notices, advertisements and timetables)
Section 2
Two texts

Work topics

(job descriptions, contracts, staff development and training materials)
Section 3
One long text
Descriptive & instructive text of general interest taken from books, newspapers, magazines and online resources.

IELTS Academic Writing paper consists of two tasks and completion of both is mandatory. The allotted time is 60 minutes and marking of Task 2 weighs twice as much as Task 1. The answers must have full sentences with correct grammar. Writing answers as notes or in bullet points is strictly prohibited. Notes can be made on the question paper but they will not be graded by the examiner. Only answers written in the answer sheet will be evaluated.

IELTS WRITING (ACADEMIC) AT A GLANCE

IELTS Writing Task 1
Task achievement
Describe visual information (graph, chart, table or diagram)
Minimum 150 words
20 minutes
IELTS Writing Task 2
Task response
Discuss a point of view, argument or problem
Minimum 250 words
40 minutes

The assessment will be done by certified IELTS examiners; the assessment criteria is made for the evaluation of the following skills.

Task achievement/ Task response

Task 1

  • Organisation, presentation and comparison of data
  • Description of sequences of a process or a procedure
  • Explanation of functioning of something.

Task 2

  • Proper development of arguments using individual examples and/or experiences.
  • Presentation and justification of an opinion
  • Comparison & contradiction of evidence, opinions and implications
  • Evaluation of ideas and challenging arguments

Cohesion & coherence

  • Clarity & fluency of writing
  • Proper structuring of ideas & information
  • Proper logical order of described ideas
  • Appropriate use of cohesive devices (linking words, pronouns and conjunctions, etc.)

Lexical resources

  • Accurate and appropriate use of a wide range of vocabulary

Grammatical range accuracy

  • Accurate and appropriate use of grammatical devices

IELTS General Training Writing paper consists of two tasks and completion of both is mandatory. The allotted time is 60 minutes and marking of Task 2 weighs twice as much as Task 1. The answers must have full sentences with correct grammar. Writing answers as notes or in bullet points is strictly prohibited. Notes can be made on the question paper but they will not be graded by the examiner. Only answers written in the answer sheet will be evaluated. 

The assessment will be done by certified IELTS examiners; the assessment criteria is made for the evaluation of the following skills.

 IELTS WRITING (GENERAL) AT A GLANCE 

 

Task achievement/response

Task 1

  • The letter must achieve its purpose in a succinct manner. 
  • The response must be accurate, appropriate and relevant, encapsulating the task requirements. 

 

Task 2 

  • Proper development of arguments using individual examples and/or experiences.
  • Presentation and justification of an opinion 
  • Comparison & contradiction of evidence, opinions and implications
  • Evaluation of ideas and challenging arguments

Cohesion & coherence

  • Clarity & fluency of writing
  • Organisation of ideas & information
  • Proper logical order of described ideas
  • Appropriate use of cohesive devices (linking words, pronouns and conjunctions, etc.)

Lexical resources

  • Accurate and appropriate use of a wide range of vocabulary 

Grammatical range & accuracy

  • Accurate and appropriate use of grammatical devices

(Same for both Academic and General Training)

The IELTS Speaking test comprises of a face-to-face interview between the candidate and the examiner. The test consists of three parts, each encompassing a distinct pattern of tasks that will assess the candidate’s speaking abilities in several ways. The allocated time is 11-14 minutes.

IELTS SPEAKING TEST AT A GLANCE (ACADEMIC/GENERAL)

Part 1       

Introduction & interview   

4-5 minutes          

  • Introduction of the examiner and the candidate
  • Generic questions regarding the home and family life and/or work, studies and interests.

Part 2

Long turn

3-4 minutes

  • Task card with a certain topic will be provided
  • The card will contain points to explore and will instruct the candidate to elaborate on one aspect        of the topic.
  • One minute will be allotted to prepare for the talk along with a pencil and paper to make notes.

Part 3

Discussion 

4-5 minutes

  • Further discussion on issues related to the topic given in Part 2.
  • The approach can range from more generic and abstract to some significant depth whenever appropriate. 

The grading system in the IELTS exam is quite unique; there is no pass or fail system in the IELTS test. The candidate is graded on the basis of their performance in each part of the test: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking using band scores 1-9. The combined results from these four parts of the test make up the overall IELTS Band Score.

IELTS RESULTS AT A GLANCE

Computer-delivered IELTS
5-7 days
Paper-based IELTS
13 days

The IELTS Band score is unique due to its recognition and understanding at an international level. The distinctive 9-band scoring system is consistent in measuring performance, no matter when or where the test is conducted. With each band corresponding to a level of competence in the English language, all parts of the test as well as the overall band score are reported in whole and half bands, e.g. 5.5, 7.0, 8.0, 8.5.

A half band score is an indication of strong performance at a specific band level. For instance, an overall band score of 7.5 translates to a strong performance within the Band 7 level.

Band 9
Expert user
Band 8
Very good user
Band 7
Good user
Band 6
Competent user
Band 5
Modest user
Band 4
Limited user
Band 3
Extremely limited user
Band 2
Intermittent user
Band 1
Non-user
Band 0
  • No assessable information provided
  • Did not attempt the test

Any employer, university or institution can verify the genuineness of a candidate’s result by registering with Test Report Form (TRF) Verification Service.

IELTS RESULTS

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