Overview

The international English language testing system (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration, with over 2 million tests taken in the last year.

IELTS assesses all of your English skills — listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The test is designed to reflect how you will use English at the study, at work, and at play, in your new life abroad.

The IELTS test is developed by some of the world’s leading experts in language assessment. It has an excellent international reputation and is accepted by over 9,000 organisations worldwide, including schools, universities, employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies.

IELTS is the most widely accepted English language test that uses a one-on-one speaking test to assess your English communication skills. This means that you are assessed by having a real-life conversation with a real person. This is the most effective and natural way of testing your English conversation skills.

You can take IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training – depending on the organisation you are applying to and your plans for the future. Whatever your reason for taking IELTS, make the most of your language skills.

Test Format:

Listening (30 minutes)

You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions.

  • Recording 1 – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
  • Recording 2 – a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
  • Recording 3 – a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context,
  • Recording 4 – a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.

Reading (60 minutes)

The Reading component consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding the logical argument and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.

IELTS Academic test – this includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers.  They have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.

IELTS General Training test – this includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.

Writing (60 minutes)

IELTS Academic test

Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. There are two tasks:

  • Task 1 – you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
  • Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.

IELTS General Training

Topics are of general interest. There are two tasks:

  • Task 1 – you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
  • Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.

Speaking (11–14 minutes)

The speaking component assesses your use of spoken English. Every test is recorded.

  • Part 1 – the examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
  • Part 2  – you will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
  • Part 3 – you will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.