DETAILS :

A test of all four language skills

IELTS is a test of your language skills in Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. IELTS is available in two test formats: Academic or General Training. There are four parts – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

All test takers take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests. The difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training is in the subject matter of the Reading and Writing sections.

Listening, Reading and Writing must be completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them. The order in which these tests are taken may vary.

The Speaking test will either be after a break on the same day as the other three tests, or up to a week before or after the other tests. This will depend on your test centre.

Why is the IELTS test format fairer for you?

  • You deserve a fair chance to do your best.
  • Unlike other tests, IELTS gives you a quiet room with no distractions for your Speaking test.
  • IELTS recognises that people have different approaches to answering questions.
  • For example, with IELTS, you can answer in the order that suits you.
  • You can go back and make changes to your Reading and Writing answers during the allocated time.
  • You won’t get timed out on individual questions as you do in many other tests.
  • Why choose IELTS?

    Listening
    Test Format – Listening (30 minutes)
    You will listen to four recorded texts, monologues and conversations by a range of native speakers, and write your answers to a series of questions. These include questions that test your ability to understand main ideas and detailed factual information, ability to understand the opinions and attitudes of speakers, ability to understand the purpose of an utterance and the ability to follow the development of ideas. A variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used and each section is heard only once.
    Section 1
    A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
    Section 2
    A monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
    Section 3
    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.
    Section 4
    A monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.

    Academic Reading
  • Test Format – Academic Reading (60 minutes)
  • The Reading component consists of 40 questions. A variety of question types is used in order to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers' opinions, attitudes and purpose.
  • The Academic version includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. The texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. These have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.

  • General Training Reading
    Test Format – General Training Reading (60 minutes)
    The Reading component consists of 40 questions. A variety of question types is used in order to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers' opinions, attitudes and purpose.
    The General Training version requires test takers to read extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.

    Academic Writing
    Test Format – Academic Writing (60 minutes)
    The Writing component of IELTS Academic includes two tasks. Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.
    Task 1
    You will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
    Task 2
    You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.
    General Training Writing
    Test Format – General Training Writing (60 minutes)
    The Writing component of IELTS General Training includes two tasks which are based on topics of general interest.
    Task 1
    You will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
    Task 2
    You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay.
    Speaking
    Test Format – Speaking (11-14 minutes)
    The Speaking component assesses your use of spoken English, and takes between 11 and 14 minutes to complete. Every test is recorded. The Speaking component is delivered in such a way that it does not allow people to rehearse set responses beforehand.
    Part 1
    The examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between 4 and 5 minutes.
    Part 2
    You will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have 1 minute to prepare before speaking for up to 2 minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic to finish this part of the test.
    Part 3
    You will be asked further questions connected to the topic in Part 2. These questions will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between 4 and 5 minutes.


    IELTS scoring in detail

    The IELTS Academic and General Training test results are reported using the same nine-band scale

    The Test Report Form provides your Overall Band Score and band scores for each of the four components: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

    Overall Band Score

    The Overall Band Score is the average of the four component scores, rounded to the nearest whole or half band. The component scores are weighted equally.

    Some examples:

      Listening Reading Writing Speaking Average of four components
    (total of the four individual
    component scores
    divided by four) 
    Band score
    Test taker A 6.5 6.5 5 7 6.25 6.5
    Test taker B 4.0 3.5 4.0 4.0 3.875 4.0
    Test taker C 6.5 6.5 5.5 6.0 6.125 6.0

    If the average of the four components ends in .25, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next whole band.

    Component Band Scores

    Listening
    The IELTS Listening test contains 40 questions. Each correct answer is awarded one mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS nine-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

    Reading

    The IELTS Reading test contains 40 questions. Each correct answer is awarded one mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS nine-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

    The Academic and General Training Reading tests are graded on the same scale. The distinction between the two tests is one of genre or text type. However, Academic Reading tests may contain texts which feature more difficult vocabulary or greater complexity of style. It is usual that a greater number of questions must be answered correctly on a General Training Reading test to secure a given band score.

    The tables below indicate the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score in Listening, Academic Reading and General Training Reading.

    Listening  
    Band score Raw score out of 40
    5 16
    6 23
    7 30
    8 35

    Academic Reading  
    Band score Raw score out of 40
    5 15
    6 23
    7 30
    8 35

    General Training Reading 
    Band score Raw score out of 40
    4 15
    5 23
    6 30
    7 34
    8 38

    Writing

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

    • Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2)
    • Coherence and Cohesion
    • Lexical Resource
    • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
    The criteria are weighted equally and the score on the task is the average.

    Speaking

    Examiners use assessment criteria to award a band score for each of the four criteria:
    • Fluency and Coherence
    • Lexical Resource
    • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
    • Pronunciation
    The criteria are weighted equally and the Speaking band score is the average.

    Versions of the assessment criteria for Writing and Speaking have been developed to help stakeholders better understand the level of performance required to secure a particular band score:

    Fill in the details to receive detailed information