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A quick look at the IELTS Academic Reading test

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

A quick look at the IELTS Academic Writing test

Duration: 60 minutes

The IELTS Academic Writing test is made up of two tasks. The topics in these tasks are related to areas of general interest and are suitable for test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. Responses to both tasks must be written in a formal style. 

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 present data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object, plan or design.  

Task 2  

You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You will support your point of view with relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience. 

A quick look at the General Training Writing test

Duration: 60 minutes  

The General Training Writing test includes two tasks that are based on topics of general interest.  

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 slightly more personal in style compared to an Academic Writing task. You will support your point of view with relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience. 

A quick overview of the IELTS General Training Reading test

The General Training Reading test requires you to read extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter daily in an English-speaking environment. There are three parts in the test, with Part 1 containing two to three short texts, Part 2 contains two texts and Part 3 contains one longer text. 

A quick look at the IELTS Listening test

Duration: 30 minutes 

The Listening test is the same for both IELTS Academic test and IELTS General Training test. You will need to answer 40 questions in response to four recordings. 

You will listen to four recordings which are a mix of monologues and conversations from a range of native speakers and you will only hear each recording once. There are 10 questions for each part of the Listening test.  

These questions test your ability to understand: 

  • Main ideas and detailed factual information 

  • The opinions and attitudes of speakers 

  • The purpose of an utterance 

  • The ability to follow the development of ideas. 

Listening part details: 

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, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.  

Recording 4   A monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture. 

A quick look at IELTS Speaking test

Duration: 11 to 14 minutes  

The Speaking test will assess your use of spoken English. The test will last between 11 and 14 minutes where you will discuss a variety of topics with an IELTS examiner. Your test will take place in a quiet room with an examiner who will encourage you to keep speaking. Unlike an AI test, an IELTS examiner will be able to make you feel relaxed and confident. They’re also able to understand your accent to ensure you get the best possible score. There are 3 parts to the Speaking test.  

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 4 and 5 minutes.  

Part 2  

You will be given a task card and the examiner will ask you to talk about a topic. You will have 1 minute to prepare before speaking for up to 2 minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic to finish this part of the test.  

Part 3

You will be asked further questions connected to the topic in Part 2. These questions will allow you to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between 4 and 5 minutes.