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IELTS Pattern

ielts

IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System which is designed in a way to effectively assess the test-taker’s proficiency in English. The test is conducted by the British Council, IDP, and Cambridge. Assessment is in English in both formats, the General Training and Academic.

The Pattern

The total duration of the test is 2 hours and 45 minutes and is divided into four sections. While the reading, writing, and listening sections will be conducted in a single day, the speaking section may be conducted on the same day or within seven days before or after the test day.

Reading

  • The testing format is different for Academic and General Training.
  • The duration is 60 minutes
  • Three passages with 13-14 questions each are designed to check your ability to grasp the main idea, understand the gist and the put forth a logical argument in the passage
  • Question types may be multiple choice, sentence completion, summary writing, matching information, or short-answers based on the given passages
  • The Academic format comprises of three long texts which may be descriptive and factual or discursive and analytical taken from books, journals, magazines, or newspapers and are more academic in context 
  • The General Training format comprises of extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, or advertisements, which are more general in context
  • Band score scales from 0 to 9

Writing

  • The testing format is different for Academic and General Training.
  • Two tasks need to be completed in 60 minutes 
  • Tasks in the Academic format:
    • Task 1: A graph, table, chart, stages of a process, or a diagram is given and test-takers are required to describe or summarize the information provided to them.
    • Task 2: Test-takers are required to write a formal and academic style essay expressing their point of view in response to the given argument or problem and support their response with appropriate examples.
  • Tasks in the General Training format:
    • Task 1: Test-takers are required to write a personal, semi-formal, or formal style letter requesting for certain information or explaining a given situation.
    • Task 2: Test-takers are required to write a personal style essay expressing their opinion of a particular argument or problem and support their response with appropriate examples.
  • Band Score scales from 0 to 9

Listening

  • The test format is the same for Academic and General Training.
  • Duration of 30 minutes
  • Four tasks with a total of 40 questions designed to test your ability to understand the main ideas and identify information that is required
  • The four listening items are:
    • a conversation between two individuals in an everyday social context
    • a monologue or a speech
    • a conversation between two or among four people in an academic setting
    • a monologue on an academic subject, in other words, a lecture
  • Each recording is played only once and test takers are allowed to take down notes while listening and refer to them while answering the questions
  • Band score scales from 0 to 9

Speaking

  • The test format is the same for Academic and General Training.
  • Three sections for a total duration of  11-14 minutes
  • The test is recorded for evaluation purpose and will be a face-to-face interview with an examiner who assesses your ability to speak English  
  • Part 1:
    • Examiner asks general questions about the test-taker
    • Proceeds with asking about familiar things like home, family, work, studies, and interests
    • This session lasts for about four to five minutes
  • Part 2:
    • The test-taker is given a task card with the prompts.
    • Test-taker is given a minute to prepare his speech
    • Test-taker is asked to deliver a two-minute speech on the topic mentioned on the task card
  • Part 3:
    • Examiner will ask more questions based on the response given by the test-taker in the second part
    • Test-taker gets an opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues
    • Lasts for about four to five minutes
  • Band scores scales from 0 to 9