IELTS an overview  

IELTS stands for International English language Testing System. Technically speaking, this exam is conducted for evaluating the knowledge and competency of any foreign and non-native students of English who are planning to study, work and migrate to English speaking countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A, and U.K.

The candidates are tested on the basis of their readiness and dexterity in English. Nothing else like the academic knowledge or any specific skill of any subjects or field is checked. IELTS evaluates the students on the basis of 4 basic and vital parameters of a language viz, listening, reading, writing, and speaking which in total take 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete.

Listening, reading, and writing tests are generally taken on the same day. whereas, speaking test is taken before or after the date of listening, reading, and writing. There is no maximum limit on taking the exam. The candidate can appear for the IELTS exam as many times as he wants to.

There are mainly two modules – Academic module and General module.

The academic module is normally taken by the students who wish to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level. The general training module is suitable for the candidates wishing to continue their studies at the diploma level only. It is also useful for candidates who are looking for immigration or PR.

There is no passing or failing in the IELTS exam. Candidates are given a band score between 0- 9. The university or college in which you wish to study will inform you of the requirement of a band score for enrollment in the particular course.

Listening subtest:

This section has been included in the exam to evaluate the ability of the students to work and study in the English speaking environment. The candidate is going to a country where English is the first language. Thus, the government of a particular country wants to make sure that you are able to listen and comprehend the tone, accent, and pronunciation of the people from the native origin.

In the listening test, the students are provided a set of 40 questions in 4 different sections. A tape is played and the student has to answer the question as the tape goes on. The students are not allowed to pause the tape or play it twice. The tape is played once only. Generally, the duration of the listening test is 20 minutes. You will be given 10 extra minutes to transform your answers to an answer sheet.

The listening test is the same for both the academic and general modules.

Reading subtest:

This subsection contains three passages of about 1500 to 2500 words and 40 questions in total. You are given 60 minutes to complete the test. Note that no extra minutes are given to you. You have to answer the questions and transform them to the answer sheet at the same time.

The reading passage becomes more difficult and demanding as the test progresses which means the first passage is comparatively easier than the second. In the same way, the second passage is easier than the third one.

The general training module’s reading test is less difficult as compared to the academic module. These reading passages are generally taken from journals, magazines, newspapers. There may be charts, diagram in the test. at least one passage in the test contains an argument.

Writing subtest:

In witting sub section candidates are asked to complete two different tasks for which they are given 60 minutes. In the academic module, task 1 consists of illustrating any given chart or diagram whereas, in the general module, students have to write down a letter. Writing task 2 is the same for both the modules in which candidates are given an essay on different topics for which they have to write down 250 words.

It should be kept in mind that IELTS writing task 2 is not an informative essay where the students can provide information. It is basically an argumentative essay. Students must provide the overall argument for the given topic by describing the ideas, supportive evidence, and examples.

Speaking subtest:

The speaking section consists of an interview of the candidates with the examiner which lasts for 11 to 15 minutes. The test is taken in three different parts.

In part one, the Candidate is asked general questions such as personality types of people, family, hometown, hobbies, Transportation system, leisure activities, Relation, Parenting, Education, and other similar general topics.

In part two, the candidate is given a topic on which he has to speak for 1 to 2 minutes. one minute time is also allocated for preparing the topic. students can make the notes before speaking if they wish to.

There is a discussion between the examiner and the students in part 3. Most of the questions are related to the topic which has been asked in part 2.

Allocation of time:

Listening: 30 minutes (20 minutes for the test, 10 minutes for copying the answers into the answer sheet)

Reading:  60 minutes

Writing:   Task 1: 20 minutes,

                Task 2: 40 minutes

Speaking: 11 to 15 minutes

Total:        2 hours 45 minutes