What is the IELTS Exam?

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System, which is jointly managed by Cambridge ESOL Examinations and IDP Education Australia. It is one of the most recognized English tests in the world and is the number one test requested by UK universities. IELTS is available in two test formats: Academic(for study abroad purposes) or General Training (usually for immigration purposes).

The IELTS Academic Test is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who wish to study overseas in any English speaking country. If you are applying for an academic course in the UK you will need to prove your English ability and this is best done by means of an IELTS test.  

IELTS has four parts – Listening (30 minutes), Reading (60 minutes), Writing (60 minutes) and Speaking (11–14 minutes). The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes

  • Listening

    This section consists of a thirty-minute listening examination where you will hear a variety of conversations or monologues. The speakers will have British and/or Australian accents. The sections usually get more difficult as you work through the test. At the end of the listening test you will have ten minutes to fill in the answer sheet.

  • Reading

    The reading examination is one hour in duration and consists of three sections of increasing difficulty, which are designed to test the different reading skills, including comprehension, vocabulary knowledge and logic

  • Writing

    The one-hour writing examination is in two parts. The first section requires you to write a descriptive piece of around one hundred and fifty words based on a graph or diagram. This should take about twenty minutes. The second part is a two hundred and fifty word piece of discursive writing, which develops an argument on a newsworthy topic. This task should take about forty minutes.

  • Speaking

    Part 1 - the examiner finds out about the student's background and will then ask a series of questions that are based on familiar topics such as food, or special holidays in your country and are designed to put the candidate at ease. In part 2 the student will be given a topic and 1 minute to make notes, before talking for 2 minutes on that topic. Finally part 3 of the speaking is directly related to part two. So if you were asked to describe a teacher that has influenced you, part 3 of the speaking will be based on education and you may be asked to assess how education has changed since your parents / grandparents were at school. In the final part of the task, the examiner will ask increasingly difficult questions with a view to determining the student's linguistic ceiling.


The IELTS nine (9) band score system grades scores consistently. IELTS mainly tests communication skills, unlike other assessment exams which place an emphasis on memorizing vocabulary items. It is therefore important to train for the IELTS test in an interactive environment – rather than studying on your own at home.

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