There are two IELTS tests available – IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training. The test you choose should be based on what it is you want to do.
IELTS can help you with a variety of life choices, like moving abroad, getting the job you’ve always wanted or even just improving your English language skills. So before you book your test, be sure to check which one is right for you.
IELTS Academic measures whether your level of English language proficiency is suitable for an academic environment. It reflects aspects of academic language and evaluates whether you’re ready to begin training or studying.
Take this test if you want to:
study at an undergraduate level or postgraduate level anywhere in the world
apply for a Student Route visa (Tier 4) at a university that is a Student route (Tier 4) Sponsor in the UK
work in an English-speaking country for a professional organisation
You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions.
Recording 1 – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
Recording 2 - a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
Recording 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.
Recording 4 - a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.
Assessors will be looking for evidence of your ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of an utterance and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas.
Test format – IELTS Academic Reading
The Reading section consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers' opinions, attitudes and purpose.
IELTS Academic test - this includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.
Test format – IELTS Academic Writing
Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. There are two tasks:
Task 1 - you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and 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 in a formal style.
Test format – IELTS Academic Speaking
The speaking section assesses your use of spoken English. Every test is recorded.
Part 1 - the examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
Part 2 - you will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
Part 3 - you will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.