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The Listening test is 30 minutes long (plus 10 minutes transfer time) and covers four separate recordings. The Listening test is the same for both Academic and General Training tests.

There are four sections:

Section 1 is a conversation between two people set in an everyday context (e.g. a conversation in an accommodation agency).
 

Section 2 is a monologue set in an everyday social context (e.g. a speech about local families).

Section 3
 is a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context (e.g. a university tutor and student discussing an assignment).

Section 4
 is a monologue on an academic subject (e.g. a university lecture).

Timing

The IELTS Reading test takes 60 minutes.

You are not allowed any extra time to transfer your answers, so write them directly on to your answer sheet.

You will need to manage your time during the test because you will not be told when to start or finish each section.

Three sections

You will be given three different passages to read, each with accompanying questions. You can expect to read 2,150 – 2,750 words in total during your test.

IELTS Academic Reading test

There are three sections to the IELTS Academic Reading test, and each contains one long text.

These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been written for a non-specialist audience and are on academic topics of general interest.

They range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical.

Each text might be accompanied by diagrams, graphs or illustrations, and you will be expected to show that you understand these too.

A simple glossary is provided if the material contains technical terms.

IELTS General Training Reading test

There are three sections to the IELTS General Training Reading test.

The texts used in each section are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers.

Section 1 contains two or three short factual texts, one of which may be made up of 6 – 8 short texts related by topic, e.g. hotel advertisements. The topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country.

Section 2 contains two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues, e.g. applying for a job, company policies, pay and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training.

Section 3 contains one longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest.

Questions

There are 40 questions.

A variety of question types is used. You may be asked to

  • fill gaps in a passage of written text or in a table
  • match headings to written text to diagrams or charts
  • complete sentences
  • give short answers to open questions
  • answer multiple choice questions

Sometimes you will need to give one word as your answer, sometimes a short phrase, and sometimes simply a letter, number or symbol.

Make sure you read the instructions carefully.

Marking

Each correct answer receives one mark.

Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

IELTS Academic Writing test

Write in a formal style in the IELTS Academic Writing test.

In Task 1 you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram. You will be asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. This might involve describing and explaining data, describing the stages of a process or how something works, or describing an object or event.

In Task 2 you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You should find the issues interesting and easy to understand.

IELTS General Training Writing test

The topics used in the IELTS General Training Writing test are of general interest.

In Task 1 you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. You can write the letter in a personal, semi-formal or formal style.

In Task 2 you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You can use a fairly personal style.

Marking

Your Writing test will be marked by a certificated IELTS examiner.

Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1 in the IELTS Writing test.

Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

Part 1 Introduction and interview

4-5 minutes

The examiner will introduce him or herself and ask you to introduce yourself and confirm your identity. The examiner will ask you general questions on familiar topics, e.g. home, family, work, studies and interests. This section should help you relax and talk naturally.

Part 2 Individual long turn3-4 minutesThe examiner will give you a task card which asks you to talk about a particular topic, including points to include in your talk. You will be given one minute to prepare and make notes. You will then be asked to talk for 1-2 minutes on the topic. You will not be interrupted during this time, so it is important to keep talking. The examiner will then ask you one or two questions on the same topic.
Part 3 Two-way discussion 4-5 minutesThe examiner will ask you further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2. These questions are designed to give you an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas.