IELTS: how does the exam work?

IELTS is the most popular English test in the world. It is recognized worldwide and taking it is generally required for migration to certain countries.

IELTS: What is it?

IELTS, which is defined as the International English Language Testing System, is an English test for people of foreign nationality who want to study, find work and live in an English-speaking country. It is the most recognised English language assessment test in the world and assesses your ability to speak, write, read and listen to English.

The different types of IELTS

There are 3 versions of the IELTS exam, each version has different content and different targets:

IELTS academic 

Intended for all those who wish to continue their studies at an English-speaking university or other academic institution where courses are taught in English, those who want to join a professional body such as medicine, law or engineering in an English-speaking country.

IELTS general training 

This exam is for those who want to immigrate to an English-speaking country to work or to enter a high school. Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Canada and the United States require IELTS results when studying for a visa.

IELTS life skills 

Unlike the first two tests, IELTS life skills measures a person’s ability to speak and understand English. No marks are given: either the person passes or fails; the aim is to determine how well they can communicate with others. To obtain an immigration visa for the United Kingdom or an immigration visa for a family, spouse or partner, an IELTS life skills A1 is required, while to obtain citizenship, an IELTS life skills B1 is required.

How is the test administered?

A person who knows how the IELTS test is administered has an advantage over others. Make sure you are familiar with how the test is administered.
The test is in two stages: the listening, reading and writing tests take place in one session, while the speaking test can take place either on the same day, 7 days before or 7 days after.

Listening 

Listening consists of listening to 4 recordings in English and answering a series of questions, usually 40 in number. Each correct answer will earn you 1 point. This is a half-hour stage and you will be given an extra 10 minutes to write your answers on your exam sheet.

Reading 

You will be asked to read 3 different passages and then answer a series of questions related to the text. Each correct answer will earn you 1 point. The test lasts 60 minutes for 40 questions.
– For an academic IELTS, texts from journals, magazines or books have been specifically chosen for non-initiates but that people seeking to enter a university or a job can understand.
– For a general training IELTS, the texts will deal with topics that you are likely to encounter every day. They have been taken from books, magazines and newspapers.

Writing 

This 60-minute test is designed to test your ability to write the most appropriate answer, to organise your ideas, to use grammar effectively and to measure the extent of your vocabulary.
– For an academic IELTS, first you will be presented with a graph which you will explain in your own words. Secondly, you will write an essay in response to a point of view or problem.
– For a general training IELTS, the first step is to write a letter explaining or inquiring about a situation. As with academic IELTS, the second step will be an essay.

Speaking 

In this last step, you will be face to face with a certified examiner. The test will be interactive, so you’ll be brought into conversation. The discussion will be recorded and different accents can be used. You will be graded on your pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar, consistency and fluency.
– In the first part of the speaking part, the examiner will introduce himself and ask you to introduce yourself. The examiner will then introduce you to a familiar topic: home, work, school or family.
– The examiner will then give you a specific topic. You will have 1 minute to prepare before speaking for 2 minutes without interruption. The examiner will then ask you one or two questions about the topic.
– In this last part, the examiner will still ask you questions on topic number 2, but they will be more in-depth.

Why is it important to take the IELTS exams?

Even if you do not fail or pass the IELTS exam, it is important to prepare in advance because depending on the reason you need to take the exam you will need to achieve a certain score.

Why is it so important to prepare for this exam and why take it?

– Some universities, especially English-speaking ones, require a certain IELTS score before admitting a foreign student. Other, less demanding universities do not specify the mark but require a certificate that the student has been tested on language ability before admitting the student.
– Because the IELTS is the most popular English language test in the world, it is recognized in more than 140 countries. To join an international company or the government, taking the IELTS is a major asset.
– Because the test affects a person’s ability to read, write, speak and listen to English, it is accurate and truly reflects your abilities.
– IELTS covers both American and British English.

How to prepare for your IELTS test?
Why taking IELTS Exam?