Your success in life depends upon how effectively you can communicate your thoughts and ideas. Language plays a major role in your communication skills. Not only your native language but you must also master the language of the world which is English. English is now considered as an international language for communication. A good command over English can open lots of opportunities for you. These opportunities are in terms of career or higher studies in leading countries like the UK, the US, Australia etc. But to prove your skills at English language you need to take the IELTS test. IELTS (International English Language Testing System) assesses your skills at reading, writing, speaking and listening in English. The test was first introduced in 1989 and was primarily aimed at those students for whom English was a second language. To undergo your graduation or post graduation in leading English speaking countries you need to first acquire a good enough proficiency in English. The sole purpose of this exam is to avoid the language becoming the barrier in understanding your graduate classes. Now-a-days, IELTS  is also being used for the purpose of immigration to many English speaking countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand etc.

Test Format

The IELTS  has four sections on reading, writing, speaking and listening to English. The duration of reading, writing and listening sections is nearly three hours without break. The speaking section is nothing but a personal interview of a candidate for about 15 minutes. The writing test starts at around 9 a.m. and once it is over the interview session starts. The interviews are spread over the whole day. Your time for the interview is decided at the time of your written test.

There are two modules of the test. These are Academic Module and the General Training Module. These two modules are aimed at different sets of applicants. The Academic module is for those who are taking the test for academic purpose and the General Training module is taken by those who are seeking immigration or career opportunities in English speaking countries mentioned above. At a time an applicant can take only one module of the test. Both these modules have all the four sections mentioned above. But on a particular test date the reading and writing sections are different for both the modules and the remaining sections i.e. listening and speaking are similar for both of them. Let us see the individual sections in details.

Reading Section

The reading section of the test is aimed at checking your abilities as to how well you can read and understand the English language. The reading section has 3 subsections in it. There are in all 40 questions to answer. The time allotted is 60 minutes. This section is different for General Training and Academic modules. The questions are asked in an increasing order of difficulty.

Writing Section

This section of the test is like an essay writing exam. It is a test of your English writing skills. Here you need to write 2 passages. These passages are of 150 and 250 words respectively. Both of these passages require different kinds of writing skills. The total time allotted for the writing section is 60 minutes. This test is different for Academic module and General Training module.

Listening Section

The listening section of the test is aimed at checking a candidate for his listening skills. This is to check whether you can assimilate spoken English well or not. The listening section has 4 subsections in it. These four subsections are in terms of dialogue or monologue. Along with this you are given a question paper with 40 questions to answer. While you listen to the tapes you have to answer the questions given. The candidates are given the instructions about how to attempt this section. Then a sample question is played on a tape. Then you are asked to read the questions based on the first recorded subsection. As you listen you need to write the answers on the question paper itself. Then the same thing is followed for other three subsections also. These recorded sessions are in the order of difficulty. All the tapes are played only once. However, you get time to check your answers and write them in the answer sheet. Overall the time allotted for complete listening section is 30 minutes.

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