The IELTS listening test
The IELTS listening test consists of four sections. It takes about 20 minutes. There are 40 questions in all. You will be asked to listen to a recorded tape. Note that the recording is played only once and it will not be paused at any time. For most test takers the listening test is probably the hardest. To improve your chances of doing well in the listening test, start by watching English TV programs or listen to radio. Familiarize yourself with various accents and pronunciations.
The IELTS Writing test
The IELTS writing test has two sub-tasks. It takes an hour. The first task is to write a report or letter of 150 words based on a graph, diagram or a table you are given. The second part is to write an essay of 250 words on a given topic.
The writing test requires special practice. Your essay and report should be written in grammatically correct English. It is also important that you present your ideas in a coherent manner. Improve your chances of scoring well in the writing test by writing practice essays and reports on a wide variety of topics. Remember that good writing skills are acquired with practice. The more you write the better your writing gets.
The IELTS Reading test
The IELTS reading test takes about an hour. There are 40 questions in all. You will be given 3 passages to read. You are then required to answer questions, label diagrams and complete sentences. The passages are taken from books, newspapers and magazines. The topics could be anything. An example will be given for each type of task. Keep in mind that you will not be given extra time to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. You have to write your answers with a pencil. Pens are not allowed.
The IELTS speaking test takes up to 15 minutes. It has three parts: a personal interview, a short speech and a discussion.
The speaking test is usually the last part of the IELTS test. The first part of the speaking test is an interview. During the interview the examiner will ask you questions about yourself, your work, studies, family, friends, pets etc. It doesn’t require a lot of efforts to prepare for the interview test. Just make sure that you give your answers in fluent English. You may also want to work on improving your pronunciation skills.
The second part of the speaking test consists of a short speech. You will be given a card with 3-4 questions. In one minute you have to prepare a short speech which answers those questions. Remember that you might also be asked a couple of additional questions.
The last part of the speaking test consists of a discussion. The topic will be somewhat related to the topic on which you gave a short speech during the second part of the test. During the discussion you will have to express and justify your opinions.