help universities and colleges select students
with sufficient English skills to succeed in their
courses, The IELTS test was introduced
in 1989 to assess “whether candidates are
ready to train in the medium of English”.
It is now used for this purpose around the globe.
Depending in the course of study that students
plan to take, students must elect to sit either
the Academic IELTS test or the
General Training IELTS test.
This choice must be made when applying to sit
the test. The Academic IELTS test is necessary
for students who plan to study at university (undergraduate
or postgraduate courses), and will test the student’s
ability both to understand and to use complex
academic language. The General Training IELTS
test is required by other institutions, such as
colleges and high schools, for courses that require
less complex language skills, and is also as a
general test of English proficiency e.g. for immigration
purposes in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The Test Format
There are four sub-tests, or modules, to the IELTS
test: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.
Students must sit all four sub-tests. While all
students take the same Listening and Speaking
tests, they sit different Reading and Writing
tests, depending on whether they have selected
the Academic IELTS test or the General Training
On the day of the test, the four subsections will
be taken in the following order:
Total Test Time
2 hours 45 minutes
The Speaking test may even take
place a day or two later at some centres.
IELTS listening test lasts for
about 30 minutes. It consists of four sections,
played on cassette tape, in order of increasing
difficulty. Each section might be a dialogue or
a monologue. The test is played once only, and
the questions for each section must be answered
while listening, although time is given for students
to check their answers.
IELTS Reading test lasts for
60 minutes. Students are given an Academic Reading
test, or a General Training Reading test. Both
tests consist of three sections, and in both tests
the sections are in order of increasing difficulty.
IELTS Writing test also lasts
for 60 minutes. Again, students take either an
Academic test, or a General Training test. Students
must perform two writing tasks, which require
different styles of writing. There is no choice
of question topics.
IELTS Speaking test consists
of a one-to-one interview with a specially trained
examiner. The examiner will lead the candidate
through the three parts of the test:
An introduction and interview, an individual long
turn where the candidate speaks for one or two
minutes on a particular topic, and a two-way discussion
thematically linked to the individual long turn.
This interview will last for approximately 11-14