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What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is conducted by three institutions, namely, the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment (University of Cambridge).

Why IELTS?

Students aspiring to study in the topmost universities and colleges of the English-speaking world need to clear an English language proficiency test. Non-native speakers of English have to show that they can read, write, speak, and understand English, so as to be able to follow lectures, study, take exams, and interact comfortably with fellow students, teachers and the local population. For this purpose as well as for the purpose of immigration, a standardised English language proficiency test for non-native English spea-kers has been established as a pre-requisite for the selection process. IELTS is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test and a world of opportunity awaits those who clear the required scores.

VERSIONS :

There are two versions of the IELTS test: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The purpose of both tests is different and the one you take will depend on the requirements of the academic institution you plan to study in, your work/professional or visa requirements.

IELTS Academic: This test is meant for students wishing to study at universities and institutes of higher education in countries where English is the medium of instruction in the classroom. Many professions, like, medical, nursing, engineering etc., also require an IELTS Academic result for registration. The Academic test is designed to assess the proficiency in English required in an academic and higher learning environment.

IELTS General Training: This test is usually a visa requirement for those applying for permanent residency to English speaking countries, such as, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Persons going to these countries for training programmes, employment or secondary education, are required to take this test. IELTS General Training is intended to test the English skills that an immigrant or a worker would need for communication in the workplace and in an everyday environment.

IELTS TEST FORMAT

The test is divided into two broad sections: Academic & General Training. Both versions of the test include the same Listening and Speaking components and different Reading and Writing components.

ACADEMIC - IELTS Academic is divided into four sections

Listening The test is of 30 minutes, an additional time of 10 minutes is given for transferring the answers to the answer sheet. The candidates are tested on their ability to understand lectures and conversations in various Western accents, primarily British.

Reading The test is of 40 questions divided in 3 sections. The test is 60 minutes long and it measures the the ability of candidates to understand descriptive, factual, and analytical passages.

Writing In this test 2 tasks have to be completed in 60 minutes. Task 1 comprises of describing tables, graphs, charts, diagrams in a minimum of 150 words and in task 2 candidates are required to write a 250 words long essay on the given topic. The contribution of task 2 to the total writing score is twice of task 1.

Speaking The speaking test is generally 11 to 14 minutes long and is conducted in a face to face interview format . This test has 3 sections, in the first section the examiner asks questions related to the candidate's introduction etc. In the second section the candidate is asked to speak for 2 minutes on a general topic and in the third section followup questions related to the topic in section 2 are asked.

GENERAL - IELTS General Training is also divided into four sections

Listening The test is of 30 minutes, an additional time of 10 minutes is given for transferring the answers to the answer sheet. The candidates are tested on their ability to understand lectures and conversations in various Western accents, primarily British.

Reading The duration of this test is 60 minutes in which three passages are given. Each passage forms one section of the test and is accompanied with 10 to 14 questions. There are a total of 40 questions.

Section 1 generally has two or three short paragraphs on factual texts.

Section 2 mostly has on two short paragraphs based on factual texts.

Section 3 is likely to be a long passage on a general topic.

Writing In this test 2 tasks have to be completed in 60 minutes. Task 1 comprises of writing a 150 words long formal or an informal letter on the given situation and in task 2 candidates are required to write a 250 words long essay on the given topic. The contribution of task 2 to the total writing score is twice of task 1.

Speaking The speaking test is generally 11 to 14 minutes long and is conducted in a face to face interview format . This test has 3 sections, in the first section the examiner asks questions related to the candidate's introduction etc. In the second section the candidate is asked to speak for 2 minutes on a general topic and in the third section followup questions related to the topic in section 2 are asked.

HOW ARE BANDS ALLOTTED?

Candidates are judged on a band scale of 1 to 9 in each part of the test. These bands clearly mentions a candidate's ability to use and understand English. IELTS results are valid only for 2 years. There is no pass or fail system in IELTS test.

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