IELTS – International English Language Testing System

Who should take IELTS?

IELTS is recognised by universities and employers in many countries, including Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It is also recognised by professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies. More than 700,000 people take the test every year.

What is the IELTS test like?

Candidates can choose either the Academic Module or the General Training Module: The Academic Module is intended for those who seek admission to universities and other institutions of higher education. The General Training Module is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience, or for immigration purposes. IELTS tests the ability to listen, read, write and speak in English.

The test has four sections:

Listening – 4 sections, 40 questions, 30 minutes
Speaking – interview, 15 minutes
Reading – different for Academic or General Training – 3 sections, 40 questions, 60 minutes
Writing – different for Academic or General Training – 2 pieces of writing, 60 minutes

Listening test

During the listening test, you have 20 minutes to listen to a tape. You have to answer questions on what you hear. You will be given 10 minutes to transfer your answers to Answer Sheet.

Reading test

Reading test takes 1 hour. You will be given passages to read. Your task is to answer questions based on the passages you have read. The reading test may include other types of assignments too.

Writing test

The writing test takes 1 hour. It is divided into two parts. You will be given 20 minutes to write a letter or report and 40 minutes to write an essay.

Speaking test

The IELTS speaking test takes up to 15 minutes. There will be a personal interview, a little speech and a discussion.


You get a score between 1 and 9. Half scores such as 7.5 are possible. Universities often demand an IELTS score of 6 or 7. They may also demand a minimum score in each of the 4 sections.

Where do I take the test?

IELTS tests are administered at accredited Test Centres throughout the world – there are currently more than 300 Centres, in over 120 countries. There are up to 48 test dates available per year. Each test centre offers tests up to four times a month depending on local demand. At some centres you can take the computer-based version of IELTS. This is only available for academic modules.

IELTS Preparation Tips

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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