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IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

Test format

In IELTS, there are four papers: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. There are two different IELTS modules: Academic and General Training. The Speaking and Listening tests are the same in both modules, but the Reading and Writing tests are different.

Academic module

Choose this if you wish to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, or if you are seeking professional registration, e.g. doctors and nurses.

General Training module

Choose this if you wish to migrate to an English-speaking country, (e.g. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK) or if you wish to train or study at below degree level

What’s in the IELTS General Training Reading paper

There are three sections of increasing difficulty.

Section 1: – may contain two or three short texts or several shorter texts.

Section 2: contains two texts.

Section 3: there is one long text.

The texts in Section 1 –   deal with everyday topics,. You will need to pick out important information, e.g. from notices, advertisements and timetables.

 The texts in Section 2  – focus on work topics, for example, job descriptions, contracts, staff development and training materials.

 The text in Section 3  – deals with a topic of general interest. The style of writing in Section 3 is generally descriptive (containing detailed information) and instructive (telling you how to do something

What’s in the IELTS General Training Writing paper?

There are two Writing tasks and BOTH must be completed.

In Task 1, you have to respond to a situation by writing a letter, for example, asking for information or explaining a situation. You need to write at least 150 words in about 20 minutes.

In Task 2, you are given a point of view, argument or problem which you need to discuss. You need to write at least 250 words in about 40 minutes.


Certificated IELTS examiners assess your performance on each Writing task. There are four assessment criteria (things which the examiner thinks about when deciding what score to give you):

  • Task achievement/response
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy.


What’s in the IELTS Listening paper?

The paper has four parts, with ten questions in each part. The questions are in the same order as the information in the recording, so the answer to the first question will be before the answer to the second question, and so on.

Parts 1 and 2 deal with    every day, social situations.. Only one person speaks in Part 2 (for example, a speech about local facilities).

Parts 3 and 4 deal      with educational and training situations

Different accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand and North American, are used.

What’s in the IELTS Speaking paper?

The Speaking test is a face-to-face interview between the candidate and an examiner. The Speaking test is recorded.

There are three parts to the test, and each part follows a specific pattern of tasks in order to test your speaking ability in different ways.


Certificated IELTS examiners assess your speaking performance throughout the test. There are four assessment criteria (things which the examiner thinks about when deciding what score to give you):

  • Fluency and coherence
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy
  • Pronunciation.