IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

The world's most popular English test for higher education and global migration.

Educational institutions, employers, professional registration bodies and government immigration agencies often require proof of English language skills as part of their recruitment or admission procedures. IELTS is widely accepted for these purposes.

IELTS is designed to test the language ability of people who want to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. Over 3 million tests are taken each year.

Key facts

Band score range:1–9

Test format:Paper-based

No. of papers:4

Length:About 2 hours 45 minutes

Test format

IELTS consists of 2 variants : General training and Academic, each containing four modules i.e. Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The difference in the two lies in terms of reading and writing. Speaking and Listening tests are the same for both.

Academic module

 Choose this if you wish to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, or if, you are seeking professional registration, e.g. doctors and nurses. 

We have taught a large number of candidates and helped them accomplish their dream of settling abroad.  

General Training module

Choose this if you wish to migrate to an English-speaking country, (e.g. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK) or if you wish to train or study at below degree level. Find out what’s in the IELTS General Training module.

Listening

               

You will be listening for a purpose and hear a variety of accents.

A variety of voices is used in the IELTS Listening test, so you might hear Australian, British, New Zealand or North American accents.

You will be listening to a pre-recorded CD-ROM, and the passages that you hear will increase in difficulty as you go through the test.

The content of the Listening test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.

Purpose of the test

The IELTS Listening test is designed to assess a wide range of listening skills, including how well you

  • understand main ideas and specific factual information

  • recognise the opinions, attitudes and purpose of a speaker

  • follow the development of an argument

Timing

The IELTS Listening test takes approximately 30 minutes, and you are allowed an extra 10 minutes to transfer your answers from your question booklet to your answer sheet.

The IELTS Listening test is broken down into four sections:

Section 1

You listen to a conversation between two people set in an everyday social situation, e.g. a conversation in an accommodation agency, and answer questions on your comprehension.

Section 2

You listen to a monologue set in an everyday social situation, e.g. a speech about local facilities or a talk about the arrangements for meals during a conference.

Section 3

You listen to a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment, or a group of students planning a research project.

Section 4

You listen to a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.

 

You will begin by listening to a recording of instructions and a sample question for section 1. Then you will read the questions for section 1, listen to section 1, and answer the questions.

This procedure is repeated for sections 2, 3 and 4.

In the final 10 minutes, you will transfer your answers onto the answer sheet.

Each section is heard once only.

Questions

There are 40 questions.

A variety of question types is used, and you may be asked to

  • answer multiple choice questions

  • label a plan, map or diagram

  • fill in a form

  • complete a table

  • complete a flow-chart

  • give short answers

Reading

You will need to read quickly and efficiently, and manage your time

You will be asked to read three different passages and respond to related questions in your IELTS Reading test.

The content of the Reading test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests. Details of each version are given below.

Purpose of the test

The IELTS Reading test is designed to assess a wide range of reading skills, including how well you

  • read for the general sense of a passage

  • read for the main ideas

  • read for detail

  • understand inferences and implied meaning

  • recognise a writer’s opinions, attitudes and purpose

  • follow the development of an argument

This is the case for whichever version of the IELTS test you are taking.

Timing

The IELTS Reading test takes 60 minutes.

You are not allowed any extra time to transfer your answers, so write them directly on to your answer sheet.

You will need to manage your time during the test because you will not be told when to start or finish each section.

Three sections

You will be given three different passages to read, each with accompanying questions. You can expect to read 2,150 - 2,750 words in total during your test.

Academic Reading test

There are three sections to the IELTS Academic Reading test, and each contains one long text.

These 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.

They range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical.

Each text might be accompanied by diagrams, graphs or illustrations, and you will be expected to show that you understand these too.

A simple glossary is provided if the material contains technical terms.

General Training Reading test

There are three sections to the IELTS General Training Reading test.

The texts used in each section are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers.

Section 1 contains two or three short factual texts, one of which may be made up of 6 - 8 short texts related by topic, e.g. hotel advertisements. The 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 a job, 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.

Questions

There are 40 questions.  

A variety of question types is used. You may be asked to

  • fill gaps in a passage of written text or in a table

  • match headings to written text to diagrams or charts

  • complete sentences

  • give short answers to open questions

  • answer multiple choice questions

Sometimes you will need to give one word as your answer, sometimes a short phrase, and sometimes simply a letter, number or symbol.

Make sure you read the instructions carefully

Writing

You will need to write your heart out.

Purpose of the test

The IELTS Writing test is designed to assess a wide range of writing skills, including how well you

  • write a response appropriately

  • organise ideas

  • use a range of vocabulary and grammar accurately

This is the case for whichever version of the IELTS test you are taking.

Timing

The IELTS Writing test takes 60 minutes. Spend 20 minutes on Task 1, and 40 minutes on Task 2.

You will need to manage your own time, so make sure you move on to Task 2 after 20 minutes.

Two tasks

There are two tasks in the IELTS Writing test. You will be asked to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2.

IELTS Academic Writing test

Write in a formal style in the IELTS Academic Writing test.

In Task 1 you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram. You will be asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. This might involve describing and explaining data, describing the stages of a process or how something works, or describing an object or event.

In Task 2 you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You should find the issues interesting and easy to understand.

IELTS General Training Writing test

The topics used in the IELTS General Training Writing test are of general interest.

In Task 1 you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. You can write the letter in a personal, semi-formal or formal style.

In Task 2 you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You can use a fairly personal style.

Speaking

The Speaking test is as close to a real-life situation as an exam can get.

You will talk to a certified examiner in the IELTS Speaking test. The test is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get. A variety of accents may be used, and the test will be recorded.

The content of the IELTS Speaking test is the same for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.

Purpose of the test

The IELTS Speaking test is designed to assess a wide range of skills.

The examiner will want to see how well you can

  • communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences; to do this you will need to answer a range of questions

  • speak at length on a given topic using appropriate language

  • organise your ideas coherently

  • express and justify your opinions

  • analyse, discuss and speculate about issues

Make sure that you relax and talk fluently. You will need to speak naturally.

Timing

The IELTS Speaking test takes 11-14 minutes.

Three sections

The Speaking test is made up of three sections:

Section 1

Introduction and interview

Duration : 4-5 minutes

The examiner will introduce him or herself and ask you to introduce yourself and confirm your identity. The examiner will ask you general questions on familiar topics, e.g. home, family, work, studies and interests. This section should help you relax and talk naturally.

Section 2

Individual long turn

Duration : 3-4 minutes

The examiner will give you a task card which asks you to talk about a particular topic, including points to include in your talk. You will be given one minute to prepare and make notes. You will then be asked to talk for 1-2 minutes on the topic. You will not be interrupted during this time, so it is important to keep talking. The examiner will then ask you one or two questions on the same topic.

Section 3

Two-way discussion 

Duration : 4-5 minutes

The examiner will ask you further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2. These questions are designed to give you an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas.

The Famous Four

Canadian School of IELTS is a official member of the following:

CELPIP Network

CAEL Network

Test preparation centre for CELPIP and CAEL

IELTS partnership program with the British Council

IELTS referral partner for IDP

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