What is IELTS?

A Complete GuideIELTS means is International English Language Testing System. It is an international English language proficiency test for non-native English language speaker. This test is combindly managed by British Council, Cambridge Assessment English and IDP.

What is the purpose of IELTS test?

This test is to test the English language proficiency of non-native English language speakers. If it is required by you to study, work or migrate to another country like Canada, USA, Australia, this test is required.

IELTS test Modules: Which one do you need?

Generally there are two modules of IELTS.

  • Academic Module: If you want to enroll in universities or other institutions of higher education and for professionals such as medical doctors, engineers, nurses who want to study or practice in an English language speaking countries like USA, this test should be taken.
  • General Training Module: If you are planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience or for immigration purposes, you have to take this test.

There is also another test called IELTS Life Test offered by IELTS test partners. This is  supposed for people who ought to prove their English speaking and listening skills at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels A1 or B1 and can be accustomed to apply for a ‘family of a settled person’ visa, indefinite leave to stay or citizenship within the UK.


IELTS Test Format:

There is no distinction within the content, format or level of problem and rating between IELTS General Training and Academic examination. The listening and speaking tests remain the same for both the versions, while the Reading and Writing tests differ.

Paper            Content Time
Listening 40 questions At most 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes as transfer time)
Reading 40 questions 60 minutes
Writing 2 tasks 60 minutes
Speaking 3 Parts 11-14 minutes

So, this test take time of 2 hours and 45 minutes. Reading, Listening and Writing are finished in one sitting. The Speaking test may be taken in that day or up to one week before or after the other tests.

IELTS Listening test (30 minutes):

In this section, you will have to listen 4 recordings by putting a headphone on you hear and you have to answer the questions that are asked. The duration of this test is 30 minutes.

  • Recording 1: you may hear a dialogue placed in lifestyle and context.
  • Recording 2: You will listen to a conversation about everything that occurs our daily life. For instance, a chat on the condition of streets in a part.
  • Recording 3: You will hear a conversation between two or more two people. For example, a teacher is discussing a topic in class
  • Recording 4: You will listen a general dialogue about academic subject. For example, a university lecture.

IELTS Reading test (60 minutes):

You have to answer 40 questions here and this test is designed to check your reading skills. You have to read three passages here and the passage will be about general topic, biography or others.

  • The Reading test for Academic module contains three long texts which can be factual, analytical and descriptive. The texts are taken from newspapers, journals and books,
  • The Reading test for General Training module are collected from the company handbooks, newspaper, books, notices, advertisements and magazines. Then, You should read all well to answer the questions that follow.

IELTS Writing test (60 minutes):

The IELTS writing test consists of two tasks and covers topics of general interest based on the module you are taking.

IELTS Academic is suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate students

  • Task 1: There will be chart, graph or diagram and a table, that you will have to explain or summarize, describe in your own words. You might also be asked to describe the data shown, and stages and working of a process.
  • Task 2: You will have to write an essay for an argument, problem or opinion. Make sure that you respond to both tasks in formal style.

IELTS General Training module comprises of excerpts on general topics from books, notices, company handbooks and guidelines that you are likely to face on a daily basis in an English speaking environment.

  • Task 1:  You will need to write a letter to request information on, or describing the given situation.  You have option to write it informally or formally.     
  • Task 2:  You will be asked to write an essay as a response to problem an argument or opinion. You may write it in informal style.

 IELTS Speaking Test (11-14 minutes):

The IELTS Speaking test will test your spoken English skills. The test is conducted in three parts and recorded.

  • Part 1: You will be asked questions about yourself and generic topics like work, interests and studies, home. This may take about 4-5 minutes.
  • Part 2: You will be given a paper in which the topic is written. You have to speak on this topic for about two minutes and will have a minute to prepare before you start talking. The examiner will also ask some related questions on the topic allotted. 

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How to Calculate IELTS Score?

Each section like Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking has score between 1 and 9. You can get 1 to 9 in each section depending on your skill.

The overall band score is the average score of the four component score and it will be rounded.

For example,

If a test speaker gets 6.5 in Listening, 6.5 in Reading, 5 in Writing and 7 in Speaking, the average of the four components will be 6.25. But he will get band score 6.5 roundly.

Component Band Score:


Correct Answers Band Scores
39-40 9
37-38 8.5
35-36 8
32-34 7.5
30-31 7
26-29 6.5
23-25 6
18-22 5.5
16-17 5
13-15 4.5
11-12 4

Academic Reading:

Correct Answers Band Scores
39-40 9
37-38 8.5
35-36 8
33-34 7.5
30-32 7
27-29 6.5
23-26 6
19-22 5.5
10-12 5
8-9 4.5
6-7 4

General Training Reading:

Correct Answers Band Scores
40 9
39 8.5
37-38 8
36 7.5
34-35 7
32-33 6.5
30-31 6
27-29 5.5
23-26 5
19-22 4.5
15-18 4

IELTS Writing:

Examiners use assessment criteria to award a band score for every of the four criteria:

  • Task accomplishment (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2)
  • Coherence and Cohesion
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

The criteria are weighted equally and therefore the score on the task is that the average.

IELTS Speaking:

Examiners use assessment criteria to award a band score for every of the four criteria:

  • Fluency and Coherence
  • Lexical Resource
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Pronunciation

How Can You Prepare Yourself for IELTS?

Which Books Should You Study For IELTS?


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