Test your English with IELTS
What Does the IELTS Test
What is IELTS?
IELTS is the abbreviation of International English Language Testing System. As the acronym suggests, this test basically tests the ability of a person to survive in a country where English is the primary language. It essentially tests the English proficiency of people across the globe. It has over 500 official testing centers all over the world and takes place around 4 times in a month. Anyone who would like to take the test is free to do so. There are no barriers to nationalities or the number of times that one can take the test.
It assesses the four major language skills that one must possess in order to claim proficiency in English. They are Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. It is realistic in terms of testing the examinees for their ability to survive in a foreign country with the help of a foreign language.
There are two types of tests; Academic and General. Academic Test is chosen by professionals who are going to opt for higher education. General Test is opted by those planning for studying in secondary schools, work or migration. The reading and writing sections of these two tests are different, however, the speaking and listening sections of the two tests are similar.
What are the Sections and Question Types in IELTS?
As mentioned above, there are four sections in this test. Let's look at all of these sections for both academic and general tests.
1. Reading: The Reading section is different for Academic and General training candidates. The duration for this test is 1 hour. There are many kinds of questions that can be asked in this test, such as, matching, identifying information, true/false, sentence correction, questions on flow charts, inference, drawing conclusions, labeling diagrams, short answer questions etc. There are 3 sections in this part. The total length of the text can vary between 2000 and 2750 words. These texts are derived from journals, newspapers, books, editorials etc. In the case of General Training Reading, there are 2-3 factual texts provided and direct or indirect questions may be asked. In the case of Academic Reading, topics that are related to everyday life may be asked. The text may focus on work-related issues such as applying for jobs, pay and conditions etc.
2. Listening: The Listening Section is similar to both Academic and General Training candidates. The examinee is made to listen to a tape and decipher answers that can be derived from conversations in the test. The Listening Section lasts for 30 minutes and it has 4 sub-sections. There are 10 questions in each of the sub-sections. The last 10 minutes are given to the candidates to transfer or check their answers. The listening section tests your ability to understand main ideas, recognize attitudes of people, understand opinions and follow an argument.
3. Speaking: This section like the previous one is the same for both Academic and General Training candidates. You will be given a trained examiner to proctor your speaking test. The speaking section takes around 11 to 14 minutes. There are 3 sub-sections in the given section. In the first part you need to introduce yourself and the examiner will ask you pertinent questions relating to you. In the next part, you will be required to speak on a topic that will be suggested by your examiner. The third and the final part will require you to discuss a topic with your examiner. The main point of assessment in this section is the ability to communicate effectively as well as the ability to express opinions.
4. Writing: This section is different for Academic and General Training candidates. The total duration for this test is 1 hour. There are two tasks that are given to the candidates. In case of General Training, the candidates are first required to write a letter of 150 words on a given topic. They are then asked to write an essay of 250 words on a general topic. In case of Academic Module, first, the candidates are given a graph/chart/diagram/table and they are asked to describe or summarize it in 150 words. The basic information to describe or explain the data presented is given in the question. The candidates will need to apply their minds to be able to score well in this section. As a second task, candidates are expected to write an essay of 250 words, in response to an opinion, argument or a problem. The basic organization and coherence of thought is measured by way of this writing test.
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