All candidates must complete four Modules - Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking to obtain an IELTS Test Report Form.
Candidates are tested in Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules. There is a choice between Academic and General Training in the Reading and Writing Modules.
Total Test Time
2 hours 45 minutes
The first three modules - Listening, Reading, and Writing - must be completed in one day. The Speaking Module may be taken, at the discretion of the test center, in the period seven days before or after the other Modules.
The tests are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert users.
Each paper is given a mark from 1-9 ( 9 being the highest mark) You will then receive an average of the 4 papers for your final results.
As a rough guide, if you wish to study abroad or work in a profession (doctor, engineer, chemist, etc) You will need between 6.5 and 7.5. from the academic exam. For immigration purposes, 4 or 5 from the easier general paper is common.
Academic or General Training
The Academic Reading and Writing Modules assess whether a candidate is ready to study or work in the medium of English at an undergraduate, postgraduate, or professional level.
The General Training Reading and Writing Modules are not designed to test the full range of formal language skills required for academic purposes, but emphasize basic survival skills in a broad social and educational context. General Training is suitable for candidates who are going to English-speaking countries to complete their secondary education, to undertake work experience or training programs not at degree level, or for immigration purposes to Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
It is the responsibility of the candidate to inform the test center whether they wish to take the Academic or General Training Modules. Centers are not responsible for providing this information.
Practice, practice, practice. In our experience candidates raise their grades 1-2 levels by taking mock exams.
In the reading and listening, parts answer every question. If you don't know the answer, guess! You are not penalized for incorrect answers.
Some questions ask for answers with no more than three words. If you write more than 3 words it's wrong no matter how good your answer.
Be very careful when you transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Small mistakes in capitalization or missing a "%" "p.m" "a.m" etc will cost you a point.
In the writing tasks, you are penalized if you write less than 145 words for task 1 and 243 words for task 2. The examiners will count the number of words if the essay looks short.
In the speaking, partly doesn't get rattled by "unfriendly" examiners. To ensure impartiality examiners are instructed to keep their responses to "yes" "ok" etc, they will not praise and it's not really a conversation. Examiners are just focused on and listening to your replies.
In the speaking part, there are 4 sections. The questions in the first 3 sections aren't very difficult. Section 4 questions can be quite difficult to understand and even harder to reply to. Section 4 questions are to help the examiner decide if the candidate is going to score 7,8 or nine.
IELTS Writing - Overview
The IELTS Academic and General Writing Modules are similar in some ways and different in others. Whichever test you do, you have one hour to complete two tasks. It is the nature of the tasks that makes them different.
In both cases, your score is based on three fundamental criteria:
Content: How well do your present your arguments, ideas, and evidence?
Quality: How effectively are you able to communicate your ideas and thoughts?
Technical Aspects: How correct is your grammar? How rich is your vocabulary? How varied are your sentences?