There are two types of IELTS: Academic and General Training. Listening and Speaking are the same for both tests, but the subject matter of the Reading and Writing sections differs depending on which test you take.
The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them.
The Speaking section, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. Your test centre will advise.
The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
IELTS Listening Test:
The IELTS listening test will take about 30 minutes, and you will have an extra 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. The listening test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training modules.
You will listen to four recorded texts, monologues and conversations by a range of native speakers, and write their answers to a series of questions. These include questions which test the ability to understand main ideas and detailed factual information, ability to understand the opinions and attitudes of speakers, ability to understand the purpose of what is said and ability to follow the development of ideas. A variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used and you will hear each section only once.
The IELTS Listening test consists of four sections:
Section 1: A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context, e.g. a conversation in an accommodation agency.
Section 2: A monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
Section 3: A conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.
Section 4: A monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.
IELTS Reading Test:
The IELTS reading test will take about 60 minutes. It consists of 40 questions. A variety of question types is used in order to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument, recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.
IELTS Academic Reading Test:
The IELTS Academic reading test includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. The texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. These have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are recognisably appropriate for anyone entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses or seeking professional registration.
IELTS General Training Reading Test:
The IELTS General Training reading test includes three passages with tasks. It requires you to read extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English speaking environment.
IELTS Writing Test:
The IELTS Writing test will take 60 minutes.
IELTS Academic Writing Test:
The IELTS Academic writing Test includes two tasks. Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for anyone entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.
Task 1: You will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and you will be asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
Task 2: You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. *Responses to both tasks must be written in a formal style.
IELTS General Training Writing Test:
The IELTS General Training writing test Writing includes two tasks, which are based on topics of general interest.
Task 1: You will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
Task 2: You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay.
IELTS Speaking Test:
Speaking Skills test will take 11 to 14 minutes (the speaking test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training).
IELTS Speaking test is a face-to-face interview, which will take about 11 to 14 minutes. The Speaking test is designed to assess your use of spoken English. Every test is recorded.
The Speaking test consists of three parts:
Task 1: You will be asked to answer general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as your home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between 4 and 5 minutes.
Task 2: You will be given a card and you will be asked to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner then asks you one or two questions on the same topic to finish this part of the test.
Task 3: You will be asked further questions connected to the topic in Part 2. These questions give you an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
*The Speaking component is delivered in such a way that does not allow you to rehearse set responses beforehand.