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Introduction to IELTS


IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a language proficiency test for study, migration and work. There are two types of tests- IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.

IELTS Academic test is to be given by those who wish to apply for higher education or professional  registration in English speaking countries whereas IELTS General  Training Test is to be given by those who plan on going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience,  training programs and Permanent Residency.

There are 4 modules on which you will be tested- Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The first three modules are tested on one day during a 2 hour 45 minutes test (without break) and the speaking test takes place a week before or after the written test.Although the purpose differs a tad, the listening and speaking modules remain the same for both. 



TIMING- Approximately 40 minutes including the 10 minutes transfer time.

QUESTIONS- This module consists of 40 questions (4 sections with 10 questions each).

Sections 1 and 2 play every day social discussions between two speakers. Section 1 usually includes discussion between 2 speakers about travel arrangements, accommodation etc. Section 2 is a monologue usually about local facilities etc.

Sections 3 and 4 play education and training related conversations wherein section 3 has about 4 people conversing with each other primarily in an educational or training setup (ex. A group of students discussing a project) and section 4 has a monologue on an academic project usually.

Each section is played only once.

Variety of accents are used, primarily British and Australian.

Each correct answer gets you 1 mark and your total score out of 40 is further converted into the IELTS

Score that is scaled from 0-9.


TIMING- 60 MINUTES in all with no transfer time.

QUESTIONS- This module consists of 40 questions (divided in 3 sections).

Various types of questions are asked, these include- Multiple choice, identification of information (True/False/Not Given), identification of a writer’s views or claims (Yes/No/Not Given), matching the information/headings/features/sentence endings, sentence completion, summary/note/table/flow-chart/diagram-label completion, short –answer questions.


Each section contains one long text. These authentic texts are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers, usually written for non-specialist audience on academic topics of general interest. Tests are appropriate to, and accessible to, test takers 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.

MARKING- Each correct answer gets you 1 mark and your total score out of 40 is further converted into the IELTS Score that is scaled from 0-9.


TIMING- 60 minutes

TASKS- This module consists of 2 tasks. Task 1 requires at least 150 words and Task 2 requires no more than 250 words.


In task 1, a graph, table, chart or diagram is given and you are asked to describe, summarize or explain the information in your own words. You may be expected to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process or the way something works or describe an object or event.

In task 2, a point of view, argument or problem is given and you are expected to write an essay on the same.

The issues raised are of general interest to, suitable for and easily understood by test takers entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.

The responses to Task 1 and 2 should be given in an academic, semi-formal or neutral in style.


The assessment of each task is done on the basis of your performance by certificated IELTS examiners according to the IELTS Writing test assessment criteria (Task Achievement/Response, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy).

Task 1 is marked out of 3 bands whereas it is 6 bands for Task 2.


TIMING-  11-14 Minutes

TEST PARTS- It consists of 3 parts.

PART 1- Introduction and Interview (4-5 minutes)

The examiner introduces him/herself and asks you to introduce yourself and confirm your identity and further asks you generic questions on common topics like home, family, work, studies and interests.

PART 2- Individual long turn (3-4 minutes)

The examiner gives you a cue card which asks you to talk about a particular topic and which includes points you can cover in your talk. You are given 1 minute to prepare, and a pencil and paper to make notes. You are then expected to speak on the same for 1-2 minutes and then the examiner asks you one or two questions on the same topic.

PART3- Two-way discussion (4-5 minutes)

The examiner further asks a few questions related to the topic of part 2 entail the discussion.


You are assessed on your performance throughout the test by certificated IELTS examiners according to the IELTS speaking test assessment criteria (Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy, Pronunciation).

Mentioned below are a few tips one must keep in mind before appearing in the exam-

  1. You must choose between US and UK spellings. Mixing the two will make you lose marks.
  2. You are to use a pencil for the written exam. Don’t forget to carry an eraser.
  3. Always write your answers in capital letters for the reading and listening test.
  4. Nothing written on the question paper will be marked.
  5. Adhere to the word limit in the writing tasks.

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