About the IELTS Test

The International English Language Testing System is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is the language of communication and instruction. It covers four basic language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. IELTS is managed by three reputable, international organizations - British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL). IELTS is a compulsory exam for admission into universities and training programs in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Did you know that it has become a must for those of you who wish to get a student visa to Australia? The tests are administered at centers throughout the world. Internationally, universities, professional bodies, government agencies and immigration authorities of countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia recognize the tests.

There are two formats of the test – Academic and General training.

Academic – Institutions of Higher and Further Education

The Academic format is, broadly speaking, for those who want to study or train in an English-speaking university or Institutions of Higher and Further Education. Admission to undergraduate and postgraduate courses is based on the results of the Academic test.

General Training – for school, work or migration

The General Training format focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts. It is typically for those who are going to English-speaking countries to do secondary education, work experience or training programs. People migrating to Australia, Canada and New Zealand must sit the General Training test.

It should be noted that certain professions require an Academic test result for registration and migration purposes.
All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking modules but different Reading and Writing modules.

Academic Training General Training
Listening: 4 sections, 40 questions, 30 minutes
Reading: 3 sections, 40 questions, 60 minutes Reading: 3 sections, 40 questions, 60 minutes
Writing: 2 tasks, 60 minutes Writing: 2 tasks, 60 minutes
Speaking: 11 to 14 minutes


This is the first section of the IELTS you will have to deal with. Well, the listening part is divided into four sections, each consisting of 10 questions and each with a higher degree of difficulty. The first two sections are concerned with social needs. There is a conversion between two speakers and then a monologue. The final two sections are concerned with situations related to educational or training contexts. There is a conversation between up to four people and then a monologue.

A variety of question types is used, including: multiple choice, short – questions, sentence completion, notes/chart/table completion, labeling a diagram, classification, matching.

The main problem that you have got to deal with is that you will be allowed to listen to the cassette just once. In most cases, you have to write down something you hear (could be a phone number, an address, a name, etc.). At times key words like names and numbers are spelt or repeated, but not always.

In the 30-minutes test, you will have to answer a total number of 40 questions, some of which are multiple-choice. According to us, if you get anything more than 30 answers right, it would means a good score, but at times, you may get good enough marks even with 27 or 28 right answers. Ten minutes are allowed at the end to transfer answers to the answer sheet.


The Reading section is different for Academic IELTS and General Training IELTS. However, for both, in the space of 60 minutes, you will be required to answer as many as 40 questions. This, in effect means 20 minutes to each passage.

Academic Training Reading

There are three reading passages, of increasing difficulty, on topics of general interest and candidates have to answer 40 questions. The passages are taken from magazines, journals, books and newspapers. At least one text contains detailed logical argument.

A variety of question types is used, including: multiple choice, short-answer questions, sentence completion, notes/chart/table completion, labeling a diagram, classification, matching lists/phrases, choosing suitable paragraph headings from a list, identification of writer’s views/attitudes – yes, no, not given, or true, false, not given.

General Training Reading

Candidates have to answer 40 questions. There are three sections of increasing difficulty, containing texts taken from notices, advertisements, leaflets, newspapers, instruction manuals, books and magazines. The first section contains texts, relevant to basic linguistic survival in English, with tasks mainly concerned with providing factual information. The second section focuses on the training context and involves texts of more complex language. The third section involves reading more extended texts, with a more complex structure, but with the emphasis on descriptive and instructive rather than argumentative texts.

A variety of question types is used, including: multiple choice, short-answer questions, sentence completion, notes/chart/table completion, labeling a diagram, classification, matching lists / phrases, choosing suitable paragraph headings from a list, identification of writer’s views/attitudes – yes, no, not given, or true, false, not given


The IELTS does not test your knowledge of English in as much as it tests your comprehension skills. It is more a test of your time management skills and your ability to comprehend in a short time frame. Well, in effect you have to complete two writing tasks in just one hour. The Writing section is different for Academic IELTS and General Training IELTS.

Academic Training Writing

There are two tasks and it is suggested that candidates spend about 20 minutes on Task 1, which requires them to write at least 150 words for 40 minutes on Task 2 – 250 words. The assessment of Task 2 carries more weight in marking than Task 1.
In Task 1 candidates are asked to look at a diagram or table and to present the information in their own words. They are assessed on their ability to organize, present and possibly compare data, describe the stages of a process, describe an object or event, explain how something works.
In Task 2 candidates are presented with a point of view, argument or problem. They are assessed on their ability to present a solution to the problem, present and justify an opinion, compare and contrast evidence and opinions, evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or arguments.

General Training Writing

There are two tasks and it is suggested that candidates spend about 20 minutes on Task 1, which requires them to write at least 150 words, and 40 minutes on Task 2 – 250 words. The assessment of Task 2 carries more weight in marking than Task 1

In Task 1 candidates are asked to respond to give problem with a letter requesting information or explaining a situation. They are assessed on their ability to engage in personal correspondence, elicit and provide general factual information, express needs, wants, likes and dislikes, express opinions, complaints, etc

In Task 2 candidates are presented with a point of view, argument or problem. They are assessed on their ability to provide general factual information, outline a problem and present a solution, prevent and justify an opinion, evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or arguments.


In this 14-minute section, is usually a conversation about you, your life, your aspirations, your studies and your town. You should be ready to talk on these subjects.

In addition, the examiner will show you a card with an argument and you will have to that. Use simple words and expressions. This is to test your ability to communicate what you think. Your accent, pronunciation, etc are not all that important. What is more important is your understanding of what the examiner says and your ability to communicate clearly and effectively. The conversation usually lasts 15-20 minutes and will be recorded.


There is no pass or fail in IELTS. Candidates are graded on their performance in the test, using scores from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Your results from the four parts then produce an Overall Band Score.

This unique 9-band system measures scores in a consistent manner – wherever and whenever the test is taken. It is internationally recognized and understood, giving you a reliable international currency.

The IELTS 9-band scale

Each band corresponds to a level of English competence. All parts of the test and the Overall Band Score can be reported in whole and half bands, eg 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0.

Band 9:Expert user: has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.

Band 8:Very good user: has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well

Band 7:Good user: has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.

Band 6: Competent user: has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.

Band 5: Modest user: has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.

Band 4:Limited user: basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.

Band 3:Extremely limited user: conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.

Band 2:Intermittent user: no real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English

Band 1: Non-user: essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.

Band 0:Did not attempt the test: No assessable information provided


Why do we have two formats of IELTS?

IELTS has two versions – Academic and General Training. The Academic test is for those who want to study at a tertiary level in an English-speaking country. The General Training test is for those who want to do work experience or training programs, secondary school or migrate to an English-speaking country. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests

How do I know which should I take?

Read the explanation of the Academic and General Training tests and contact the organization or institution to which you are applying to find out what it requires. Note that you must know which version to take when you complete the IELTS Application Form.

How long is the test?

The Reading and Writing sections are for 60 minutes each, the listening is for 30 minutes, speaking is for 11-14minutes, which means that total duration is 2hrs 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are done in one sitting. The Speaking test may be on the same day or up to seven days before or after the other tests.

How much does the test cost?

The IELTS test in India costs INR 7600. The IELTS test fee will increase to INR 7900 from January 2012.

When will I receive my test results?

Your Test Report Form will be posted to you 13 calendar days after your test date. All test centers will post your Test Report Form to you. Keep your Test Report Form in a secure place as you only receive one copy. Some test centers provide SMS alerts and an online results service.

How long are IELTS scores valid?

IELTS scores are valid for 2 years.

Students speak

Princeton Review was very helpful in my preparation for the SAT, in which I scored 2350. My essays prior to these classes were mediocre, but the feedback I got during the mock tests allowed me to lift my essay ...
Thank You
Sriram Baireddy

Thanks a lot! By the way, there is no question as to how I feel. I'm elated but I feel I could have scored a few more marks in the Quants part as all of the practice tests I had taken indicated the same. Anywa... Thank You

The Princeton Review is a best way there is to get a GMAT score; I say this because of my personal experience with Princeton Review, Tambaram. One can very well go through the normal process of self preparation...
Thank You
Narendrasivam K

I took my GRE exam today (with my course completing last weekend) and obtained an overall score of 333 (166 in Verbal and 167 in Quantitative) . I started with a score of only 142 on the Verbal and 151 on the Q...
Thank You

I am very pleased with what Princeton Review achieved with my daughter Priyanka. At the outset before Priyanka was introduced to your program she was a little apprehensive about her approach to the SAT exam. Mr...
Thank You
Priyanka Sethy

I, Sunny Modi, appeared for my General Revised GRE and got 166 (94percentile) in Quantitative Reasoning and 164(94 percentile in Verbal). I thought of taking GRE near about in the month of April, I had started...
Thank You
Sunny Modi

Hello Friends! I began the GMAT journey back in August 2011, when one fine day, after going through the websites of the Harvard and Stanford business schools as well as our very own ISB, I decided that it h...
Thank You
Jai Gandhi

My decision to enroll for Admissions Counseling Services from Princeton Review has been a complete value for money. I got admits from all the universities I applied to (from dream to reach) and it would not hav...
Thank You
Suvigya Muchhal

I am a student at PESIT pursuing my Bachelor’s degree. As most of the students, even I gave a lot of thought about whether I should attend coaching classes and if yes, which one. When I met one of the sta...
Thank You
Apoorva Beedu

Dear Ma'am,
I am truly thankful to Princeton's online self-prep program and  for your unrelenting support ‎in my journey to achieving the GMAT score I desired...
Thank You
Trisha Suri

It was a great leaning experience get coaching from Princeton review. Faculty here in Princeton is really innovative and always enthusiastic to teach there students. The teaching method of both Dee...
Thank You

At last I am in a position to write a few lines about the dedication and help you have given to my profile that resulted in my dream selection to the prestigious Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg. A big THA...
Thank You
Parth Mishra

About Exam Experience: Initially I was quite nervous about GRE fearing that “would I be able to give my 100%?” but when we entered the Prometric center we felt a little relax...
Thank You
Damanjeet Singh

My experience at The Princeton Review’s Admissions Counseling Service (ACS) has been amazing. It is normal that a random person will find the U.S...
Thank You

Thank you" word will be an understatement for the efforts and support provided by you and your team. Your timely response was one of the support i had banked on. the list of colleges provided, after ...
Thank You
Abishek Munshi

When I first joined the institute I hardly had any idea about GRE and its scoring pattern. Princeton review helped me understand the pattern of the exam thoroughly. The faculty at Princeton Review...
Thank You
Karan Joshi

Hi, My name is Aditya Jindal and I have been admitted to London Business School's Masters in Management programme class of 2015. It is like a dream come true for and words are not e...
Thank You
Aditya Jindal

Princeton Review Helped me hone my skills of expressing myself to admissions committee about myself and why I am a good fit for the school. Megha initially helped me shorlist the universitites and I must ...
Thank You
Tallam Avinash

I just wanted to send you a thank you letter so you truly know how appreciative I am for everything youhave done for me. First, thank you for believing in me. Sometimes I had lost my faith in myself but your co...
Thank You
Prudhvi raju

Hi, I joined The Princeton Review with a confused mind perplexed on how to take on the daunting task of securing a good score. The Princeton Review helped me to achieve this with use ...
Thank You

I would Thank Princeton and attribute Princeton’s Regular Classroom Teaching and ACS Services for my Successful entrance into ISB. The Princeton’s Faculties and Counsellors have...
Thank You
Sahil Singla

Hello, When I first joined Manya group I wasn't sure whether I had it in me to succeed in that level and go forward. I already had taken one...
Thank You
Pratik Goon

I enrolled at Princeton Review Chandigarh in end June. The course ensued for 10 weeks, till approximately 15th September once it was over I decided to take 3 weeks off for self study and additiona...
Thank You
Ruvneet Kang

I joined Princeton for both GMAT coaching and ACS services, both of which were were extremely good, I specially cherish my conversations with Megha, my counsellor, who...
Thank You

Hi Jitender, Its been a wonderful journey with you from the starting of my association with the Manya Group. You have been an excellent councellor. After getting a low score in...
Thank You
Mridul Agarwal

Anushka ma’am, you are the best counsellor I could get to guide me through the admission process for the universities in the US. You made the application procedures look so easy that I could smoothly comp...
Thank You
Rohan Sharma

If you want your career to be proceeded as you dreamed, I would recommend Princeton Review. I joined here at Velachery Branch, Chennai with lot of hopes and dreams and I was delivered with the complete support ...
Thank You
Santhosh Srinivasan

I am extremely happy to share my experience about my GRE & TOEFL preparation.I enrolled myself for the online course of GRE & TOEFL.The online materials for GRE and the books & CDs provided fo...
Thank You
Prashast Kumar

My experience at TPR was really good. Despite my having had many engagements apart from my AP exam I had to take time out for Princeton and I believe that it was really helpful. Another really helpful asp...
Thank You
Pulkit Jain

We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us. One of the best decisions I made was joining TPR for my AP Calculus BC course. The staff there was very cooperative. I was really moved by ...
Thank You
Vivaswat Poddar

When I first joined the AP program, I thought it was going to be difficult,  with time it became easier however it is to be noted that a lot of practice is needed to succeed in the AP exams. At Princeton, ...
Thank You
Anwesha Saha

My experience with the Princeton Review, Kolkata has been extremely beneficial to take the GRE. Being a professional in the Biopharmaceutical industry in the United States, I had been away from high school math...
Thank You
Kaushiki Mahapatra

I would like to recommend The Princeton Review to everyone who is concerned about their future. It provides you with the best direction and guidance to clear your standardized tests like the GMAT. I had a wonde...
Thank You
Ananya Khemka

The Princeton Review ACS has helped me to take my life into a better world.  Starting with my counselor, Renu Khandelwal, and then my editor, Nithya Kalyani, everyone has shown great responsibility towards...
Thank You
Pinakshi Gogoi

Princeton Review has been a wonderful experience.It actually made me realise my true potential. People here are so supportive and ever-ready to extend help even for the minutest of problems that it is really en...
Thank You
Amrita Raja

The time and effort that the people at Princeton Review, Guwahati, invest in their students is admirable. They want us to succeed! And I believe their guidance and methodical training that I received played a h...
Thank You
Abhinab Baruah

I recently took my GMAT exam and I scored 760 (Q51 V42). I would like to thank the team of trainers at Princeton Review for helping me achieve that score on the GMAT. The online tests available at the Student P...
Thank You
Antra Chowdhury

I started my GMAT journey on a rather positive note – a 700 on GMAT Prep. But it quickly became clear to me that this is not something I could do consistently. I was looking for a quality GMAT coaching pr...
Thank You
Rohit K Maskara

After doing well at the GMATPrep tests (710-720 48/39) but only getting a 640 (48/32 on the first attempt at the GMAT, I joined Princeton Review's excelerator program to understand what could have gone wrong an...
Thank You
Shiva Shanker

When I started the GRE preparation before a month the chances of scoring anywhere near 300 seemed worse than none. But with the aid of the amazing faculty that was Miss.Shantha and Lakshmi, I was able to score ...
Thank You
Jeevan Sanjay

I am pursuing my undergraduate degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from R.V.C.E, Bangalore. I am particularly passionate about VLSI Design and processor architecture. A Master’s degree wil...
Thank You
Nikhil Ravi Shankar

I’m a student of PES Institute of Technology, Bangalore, studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering and was in the JNR 127 batch of GRE training at Princeton Review. Going through this training reall...
Thank You
Brinda Mohan

When I first took the diagnostic test in June, I got an abysmal 470 so I was really skeptical whether I could pull off a decent score with just 4 months of prep. And today finally, when I do have a score in han...
Thank You
Nimisha Sharma

The optimistic environment along with a realistic approach at Manya – The Princeton Review made me opt for their SAT, TOEFL & Admission Counseling Services. My counselor considered the financial restrictions of my family, yet never compromised on the rankings of the shortlisted universities. My editor was a perfect fit for a procrastinator like me as she never allowed me to slack off, and encouraged me to finish my documents before the deadlines. My experience has been nothing short of fantastic. Manya- The Princeton Review’s services are excellence personified, for they deliver results.
Thank You
Pallak Bhandari

The whole Manya – The Princeton Review team worked very hard for my admission, from university selection to financial documentation support, and always responded immediately to my queries. The Sutradhar mail account and timely phone calls gave me a feeling that my application process was done right next to my office desk. As a result, I got offers from University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University for Masters.
Thank You
Siva Penke

My counselor went into comprehensive details about my background for my university selection, application and admission process. Whether it was about the complex questions regarding the selection process of a specific business school or the most basic criterion of selecting universities, my counselor gave sound feedback even at odd times. This personalized support motivates me to recommend Manya- The Princeton review’s Admission Counseling Services to anyone who decides to go through the arduous process of joining a reputed business school.
Thank You
Zohair Khan