International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the basic language proficiency test. The test is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who want to study or work where English is the language of communication.
The formats of IELTS
There are two formats to choose from – Academic and General Training.
- Academic module is for candidates wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration.
- General Training module is for candidates wishing to migrate to an English speaking country (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK), and for those wishing to train or study at below degree level. Both modules cover all four language skills –listening, reading, writing and speaking. Everyone takes the same Listening and Speaking tests. There are different Reading and Writing tests for the Academic and General Training modules.
The Listening, Reading and Writing tests must be completed on the same day. There are no breaks between the three written tests. The Speaking test may be taken up to seven days before or after the other three tests.
The Test Components
A.Listening : The test taker needs to answer approximately 40 questions in approximately 30 minutes. However, as separate time is not given to the students to answer the questions, they are required to write their answers in question paper itself. Thus, they are given ten minutes time to transfer the answers from the question paper to the answer sheet.
B.Reading : This section is perhaps the most difficult section in the IELTS. The section contains three passages, each of which is with approximately 12 – 14 questions. You are given 60 minutes time to answer the forty questions. The difficulty faced by the students is primarily because of variety of questions and the specific ways in which they are to be answered.
C.Writing : This section consists of two tasks. The Academic and General Training variants of IELTS differ slightly here. for academic training students, the first task is report-writing whereas for General training students, the first task is a letter writing task. In both cases, the second task is a General Essay which is to be written basing on your knowledge and experience. However, the topics in Academic Module are likely to be academically oriented, but the General essay for General Training module is usually of general interests.
D.Speaking : The speaking module of IELTS is a personal interview. A qualified and trained examiner will interview you for 11-15 minutes time and allocates some score basing on your performance. The first part of the speaking test is likely to be about topics familiar to you and the later questions are mostly analysis-based with a bent towards abstract topics.
Total Test Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes
ILETS tests is organized and administrated by British Council and IDP – Australia.