The International English Language Testing System or IELTS is a comprehensive test that measures a person’s expertise and proficiency over it , if he or she desire to study or work in a country which uses English as the language of communication. IELTS is available in two test formats – Academic and General Training – and provides a valid and accurate assessment of the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. Students have to appear for Academic modules whereas migration aspirants should take the General training of IELTS as a pre-requisite for achieving the coveted 7 bands in each module. The exam lasts for a little under three hours.
IELTS Academic and General Test Modules
IELTS Academic is suitable for those planning to study at an university at undergraduate or postgraduate level, or join a professional organisation in an English-speaking country. IELTS General Test is for those planning to study below undergraduate level, or work, or emigrate in an English Speaking country. The four modules in IELTS Training Test are as follows:
The Listening Test takes about 30 minutes to complete. There are 40 questions which can be chosen from: multiple choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labelling, form completion, note completion, table completion, ﬂow-chart completion, summary completion, sentence completion, short-answer questions etc. The test measures the examinee’s ability to comprehend an idea or some factual information, identify the purpose and the attitude of the speaker, and also follow the development of an argument.
The IELTS Reading Test takes approximately 60 minutes, and assesses one’s reading skills for grasping main ideas and detail, understanding inferences and underlying meanings, recognising a writer’s opinions, attitudes and purpose. The Reading Test is separate for IELTS Academic and General Training. The Academic one consists of lengthy and elaborate texts or excerpts from journals, books, magazines and newspapers whereas the General Test uses two or more brief, factual texts on topics which are relevant to daily life in an English-speaking country.
The time allotted for this test module is 1 hour. It is also different for Academic and General Tests.
The Academic Test contains two tests; the first one has a graph, table, chart or diagram which needs to be explained or described by the person who is giving the test. Sometimes, some data or facts are also given, where one is asked to summarise, infer or explain the information. In the next task, one is asked to write an essay in response to an argument or state personal views in a debatable format to a problem.
In the General Test, one is given a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the same. For the second task, one is asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, a debate or a problem.
The Speaking Test is a two part exam, but it does not have separate formats for IELTS Academic and General training. It takes between 11 and 14 minutes, candidates are interviewed individually and the test is recorded. In the first part of the IELTS Speaking Test, the examiner will ask some simple questions to find out a little about the candidate and helps to put him/her at ease. These will be general questions about the candidate’s family, studies, background and interests.
The second part of the IELTS Speaking Test lasts between 3 and 4 minutes (including 1 minute preparation time). The candidate is given a task card and asked to speak about the task, without interruption, for approximately between 1 and 2 minutes.
Part 3 of the test lasts between 3 to 4 minutes and the candidate will be asked questions linked to the topic in the previous task.