IELTS Guide


Our complete IELTS guide is here to show you how to ace the IELTS test.

But first, you need to have a solid idea about the IELTS test…

About the IELTS Test

IELTS is short for International English Language Testing System. It is designed to test the English language ability of candidates.

Candidates are usually from non-native English speaking.

Acceptability and Recognition

IELTS is accepted and recognized by more than 9,000 organizations worldwide. These include universities, employers, professional bodies, immigration authorities, and other immigration authorities, and other governmental agencies.

Band score scale

The IELTS band score scale

 Score

 Meaning

9 Expert User
8 Very good user
7 Good user
6 Competent User
5 Modest User
4 Limited User
3 Extremely limited User
2 Intermittent user
1 Non user
0 Did not attempt the test

 

IELTS Test format

IELTS is available in two test formats:

1). Academic test

This test format is usually for those who want to study at a tertiary level.

2). General Training

This test format is usually for employment or migration purposes.

Components of the IELTS Test

The IELTS test is composed of 4 sections, namely:

Listening test

Timing: It’s approximately 30 minutes—plus a 10 minutes transfer time.

Questions: This section contains 40 questions. Questions could come from the following areas: maps/ diagram, labelling, form completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, sentence completion, summary completion, short-answer questions.

Test parts

Section 1: is a conversation between two people. The conversation is usually based on everyday social context. For example: it could be a conversation in a law firm, accommodation agency, etc.

Section 2: is a monologue in an everyday context. For example: a speech about a conservation park, music, local facilities, etc.

Section 3: Is a conversation with up to 4 people. For example: The conversation may be between 2 students discussing a project, or a between a teacher and a student discussing an assignment.

Section 4: is a monologue on an academic subject. For example: in music, university lecture, etc.

Reading

Timing: This is a 60 minutes test.

Questions: There are 40 questions which are usually chosen from the following:

Multiple choices, identifying a writer’s views/claims (Yes/No/Not Given/True/False), matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentences endings, sentence completion, summary completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion, short-answer questions.

Test parts

There are 3 sections. The total length is below 3000 words.

Each section contains one long text. Texts are authentic, and are taken from magazines, newspapers, books, journals, etc.

Note: No extra time is given for the transfer of answers to the answer booklet.

Writing

Timing: This is a 60 minute test.

Questions: There are 2 tasks in this section—Task 1, and Task 2.

Task 1 usually requires you to write an essay of at least 150 words.

Task 2 usually requires candidates to write an essay of at least 250 words.

Skills assessed

In both tasks, you are assessed on your ability to write a response which is appropriate in terms of:

  • Content
  • The organisation of ideas.
  • The accuracy and range of vocabulary and grammar.

Academic writing

In task 1, depending on the task type, you are assessed on your ability to organise, present and possibly compare data; to describe the stages of a process or procedure; to describe an object or event or sequence of events; to explain how something works.

In task 2, depending on the task type, you are assess on your ability to present a solution to a problem; to present and justify an opinion; to compare and contrast evidence, opinions and implications; to evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument.

General Training Writing

In task 1 depending on the task type, you are assessed on your ability to engage in personal correspondence in order to: elicit and provide general factual information, express needs, wans, likes and dislikes; express opinions (views complaints etc.).

In task 2, you are assessed on your ability to provide general factual information; to outline a problem and present a solution; to present and possibly justify an opinion; to evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument.

Marking

You are assesses on your performance on each task by certified IELTS examiners according to the IELTS writing test assessment criteria (Task Achievement / Response Coherence and cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy).

Speaking

The timing for this test is 11-14 minutes.

Test parts

There are 3 parts:

Part 1: Introduction and interview

This usually takes about 4-5 minutes

The examiner introduces himself / herself, and asks you to introduce yourself. He and to confirm your identity. He or she asks then proceeds to ask you questions on general questions on “familiar topics”, e.g. home, family, work, studies, and interests.

Part 2: Individual long turn

This usually takes about 3-4 minutes.

The examiner gives you a tasks card which asks you to talk about a particular topic and which includes points you can cover in your talk. The examiner could also choose tell you a topic to talk instead of giving you a task card.

You are given 1 minute to prepare your talk, and are given a pencil and paper to make notes

You can talk for 1-2 minutes on the topic.

The examiner may then ask you one or two questions on the same topic.

Part 3: Two-way discussion

This usually takes about 4-5 minutes.
The examiner asks further questions which are connected to the topic of part 2. These questions give you an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas.

Skills accessed

A wide range of skills are assessed, including:

The ability to communicate opinions, and information on every topics and common experiences and situations by answering a range of questions.

The ability to speak at length on a given topic using the appropriate language and organising ideas coherently,

The ability to express and justify opinions and to analyse discuss and speculate about issues.

Marking

You are accessed on your performance throughout the test by a certified IELTS examiner to the IELTS Speaking test assessment criteria (Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range, Accuracy, Pronunciation). The public version of the Assessment criteria can be found here.

 IELTS Speaking Test Sample Questions

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