IELTS by Cambridge

How Does IELTS Test Your Competence in English

Test takers take the IELTS test in order to receive an evaluation of their abilities and skills in the English language. The test is designed to screen a person's proficiency at the language through four parts of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The test research committee comprises of representatives of the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. The test is administered through dedicated testing centers around the world. You can pick the next upcoming testing date of your choice by visiting http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/how_do_i_register/test_dates.aspx. The test is conducted up to four-times per month which makes it easier for you to pick a date. You are to pick between the Academic and General Training Cambridge tests depending on your purpose of taking the test. People who wish to pursue further education are required to take the Academic test while people who wish to take up secondary education, work or related training or migrate to an English speaking country would have to take the General Training test. More information about the types of  tests is available at http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/what_is_ielts/academic_or_general_training.aspx. All test takers take the same Listening and Speaking modules but the Writing and Reading ones differ upon the type of the test.





The Parts Common to Both Test Types

  • Speaking
  • This is the part of the test that screens a test taker's abilities to verbally communicate or make conversation in the English language. You are advised to remain calm and answer the questions asked to you in an eloquent and elaborate manner. Providing one-word answers will lead to a low rating in this part of the test. The test is conducted in the form of an interactive conversation between you and an expert examiner. There are three parts to this portion of the  test. One-an introductory conversation regarding yourself and your family, two-a topic will be provided to you regarding which you will have to talk at length, three-a detailed discussions will be conducted about the topic that you have spoken about. Information about this part of the test is available at http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/test_sample/speaking_sample.aspx.

  • Listening
  • In order to confirm that a person is able to understand the English language he should be able to follow what is being said or spoke to him. This part of the  test screens a test taker's ability to comprehend the English language. The test taker is provided with audio files and questions that pertain to the recital. The test taker is to listen to the content that is played and accordingly mark the correct answers. Both types of tests follow the same format of administering this part of the test and it lasts for 30 minutes. You are advised to pay careful attention to the audio content and refer to only such questions that pertain to the content being played. This is because questions in this section appear in the same order as the content provided. To read more information about this part of the test visit http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/test_sample/listening_sample.aspx.

The Parts that Differ on Both Test Types

  • Writing
  • Although both Academic and General Training tests have a Writing part, the matter tested under this part differs. The similarity between both types of the test is that the Writing section comprises of two tasks of 150 words and 250 words and lasts for 60 minutes. In the Academic writing part the test taker has one task in which he is to write 150 words about the visual information he is provided with and 250 words about an argument that he is presented with. The General Training  writing part requires the test taker to write a letter of 150 words and an essay that is 250 words long concerning the argument or topic provided. Detailed information about the Writing Sample for both types of tests is available at http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/test_sample.aspx.

  • Reading
  • This is a part of the test that is common to both types but the matter that is tested for Academic and General Training  tests differ. Both the types of tests follow a standard format which divides this part of the test into three sections containing a total of 40 questions to be answered by the test taker. Test takers are provided with content that they are expected to read and in turn provide answers to the questions based on the content. There are different types of questions types that are used in this part of the test. To read more information visit http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/test_sample.aspx and follow the desired link.