WHAT IS IELTS? The International English Language Testing System or IELTS assesses English language competence of non-native speakers of English for the purposes of studying or working in an English-speaking country. It is accepted by more than 9000 organisations, in more than 130 countries. There are two types of versions available: Academic and General Training:
The Academic version is intended for students who want to further their studies in an institute of higher education, or doctors and nurses who want to find work abroad.
The General Training version is suitable for people who want a language certificate for other professional purposes, or who want to emigrate to an English speaking country.
WHAT DOES THE TEST INCLUDE? There are 4 different modules in the IELTS test: Reading, Writing (different for Academic and General Training), Speaking and Listening (the same for both exams). The total duration of the test is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The written parts of the exam are completed without a break. The Speaking may be taken up to 7 days either before or after the test date.
Listening: The duration of the test is 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes to transfer the answers onto an answer sheet). There are four different sections, with 40 questions overall. Each section is heard once only. Each correct answer receives 1 mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELSTS 9-band scale.
Reading: The duration of the test is 60 minutes. There are 3 sections, followed by 13-14 questions each. The total text length is 2,150 - 2,750 words. Each correct answer receives 1 mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale.
Writing: The duration of the test is 60 minutes. There are 2 sections. In Task 1 of the the Academic module, candidates describe, summarise or explain a graph, diagram, table or chart (at least 150 words). In Task 2, candidates respond to a point of view, argument or problem (at least 250 words). Task 2 gets twice as many marks as Task 1.
Speaking: The duration of the test is 11-15 minutes. There are three parts. In the first part of the interview, candidates are asked questions of a personal nature such as hobbies, family, reasons for taking IELTS etc. In the second part, candidates prepare and present a short speech about a given topic. The third part involves a discussion with the examiner about issues raised in the topic.
THE IELTS 9-BAND SCALE IELTS is scored on a nine-band scale. Each band corresponds to a specified competence in English. Overall band scores are reported in whole and half bands.