Test for IELTS

Test Sections of IELTS Explained

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a globally accepted test that screens test takers for proficiency in the English Language. The test is conducted up to four times a month. A schedule of the test is available on the official website that gives you information about the testing dates. To view information about allotted dates for the year 2012 visit http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/how_do_i_register/test_dates.aspx. The test is conducted 48 times a year and you can find centers for it by visiting http://www.ielts.org/test_centre_search/search_results.aspx and selecting your location. There are two types of tests: Academic and General Training test. Each test is required to be taken depending upon the circumstances or purpose for which you are taking the test. If you wish to take up undergraduate or post-graduate studies in a English-speaking college or university you will have to take the Academic test whereas if you wish to migrate, work or attend secondary school in an English-speaking country you will have to take the General Training test.

Both these types have four main parts: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The matter tested under both the tests differs according to the purpose for which the test is taken. The Academic test screens test takers for proficiency in the English language required to study further in an English-Speaking country where as the General Training test screens test takers for proficiency of basic skills in the English language required in order to survive in an English-speaking country.

The Four Parts of the Test for IELTS

  • Reading
  • Both the Academic as well as General Training test has a Reading test that tests a test taker's understanding of the English Language. This part of the test lasts 60 minutes and is divided into three sections containing a total of 40 questions to be answered. This break-up is applicable to both the types of tests although the questions asked differ according to the type of test (Academic o General Training) you are taking. Students are required to go through the content provided and answer questions pertaining to the provided content. There are various questions types on the test. Some of the questions types are multiple-choice questions, identifying information, identifying writer's views/claims among others. Detailed information about Reading samples for Academic test is available at http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/test_sample/academic_reading_sample.aspx and for General Training test is available at http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/test_sample/general_training_-_reading.aspx. You can visit the aforementioned websites and read samples of questions that appear on the Reading part of the test.

  • Writing
  • This is a part of the test that has a similar pattern for the Academic as well as General Training test. Both types of tests have a Writing Sample part that lasts 60 minutes and have two tasks (one 150 words and the other 250 words). The matter tested as well as the tasks to be completed under the different versions of the tests differs. The Academic Writing Sample has two tasks, one provides test takers with visual information that is to be interpreted by them according to their understanding and in their own words (150 words to be written in 20 minutes) and the other presents test takers with an argument or point of view (250 words to be written in 40 minutes.) The General Training Writing Sample has two writing tasks, one where the test taker has to write a letter (150 words) in response to the situation provided and the other where the test taker has to write an essay (250 words) in response to a point of view or problem. Further detailed information about the Reading Sample of both types of tests is available at http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/test_sample.aspx under their respective links.

  • Speaking
  • This part of the test screens the ability of a test taker to communicate in the English language. The Speaking test is an interactive discussion with an expert examiner. The test pattern and format is common to both modules. This part of the test is divided into three sections. In the first section you will answer questions about yourself and your family, the second section is where you have to speak on a given topic and the third section is a continued discussion on the previous topic. More information about the Speaking Sample is available at http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/test_sample/speaking_sample.aspx.

  • Listening
  • This part of the test checks a test taker's understanding of spoken-English. This means that the understanding of the English-language is tested. You must use the answer sheet provided to mark your answers. You will be directed to listen to mp3/audio files or provided with transcripts to complete your tasks for the Listening Sample for the test. The format is common to both types of the test and lasts 30 minutes. More information about the same is available at http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/test_sample/listening_sample.aspx. Examples of questions that appear for the test are also available at the above mentioned link.