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IELTS Test Format Explained

The IELTS Test is of two types – General and Academic. Both of them have four sections:

  • – Listening
  • – Speaking
  • – Reading
  • – Writing

While the first two sections are almost the same for both types, the content of the last two sections vary depending on which type of test you are taking. IELTS Coaching is available for both types.

The writing, listening and reading sections are all completed on the same day. The speaking test is either conducted a week before or a week after all the other sections. It all depends on the test centre.

Total time taken for the IELTS test is 2 hours and 45 minutes

Take a look at the brief about IELTS Exam Format

Reading section

60 minutes

General IELTS test:

There are a total of 40 questions in this section for testing your reading skills. The questions include extracts from books, newspapers, advertisements, magazines, handbooks, and notices.

IELTS Tips #1: These are readings which you encounter in your regular life.

Academic IELTS test:

This includes three texts taken from newspapers, books, magazines and journals.

IELTS Tips #2: These texts are appropriate for people on the verge of entering universities.

Listening section:

30 minutes

This section consists of listening to 4 audio recordings of native English speakers. After the recordings are played, a number of questions are asked to test your listening skills.

The four types of recordings are as follows:

  • – Regular conversation between two people
  • – Educational or training conversation between up to four people
  • – An academic monologue (for example, a professor giving a lecture on a subject)
  • – A regular monologue (for example, somebody talking about lack of local facilities)

IELTS Tips # 3: Practice listening to BBC radio for preparing for this section

Writing section

60 minutes

General IELTS Test

There are two tasks in this test:

Task 1) You will be given a situation and then you will be asked to write a letter. That letter could be for requesting information or for explanation purposes.

Task 2) You will be asked to compose an essay in reply to an argument or a problem. The essay can be personal in nature.

Academic IELTS test:

– You will be given a graph, a chart or a table and then asked to summarize the data in your own words. For example, you might be asked to explain and describe data or explain how something functions.

– You will be asked to write a formal essay in reply to an argument or a problem. Unlike the general test, this essay needs to be formal in style.

IELTS Tips # 4: Enroll in a reputed IELTS coaching centre for acing this section

Speaking section:

11 to 14 minutes

This section is designed to test your English speaking skills

– Four to five minutes – You will be asked to speak about your family, friends, your interests or about yourself.

– Two minutes – You will get a card with the name of the topic on it. You will get just a minute for preparing to speak about that topic. You need to speak on that topic for two minutes. After you finish speaking, the examiner will ask you questions about the same topic.

– Four to five minutes – You will be asked more questions about the topic you just spoke about. This will allow you to discuss ideas.

IELTS Tips # 5: Practice speaking on topics using a stopwatch