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 General Training
IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and tests reflect both workplace and social situations.
Take this test if you would like to:
study or train below degree level
work or undertake work related training in an English-speaking country
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 General Training 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 General Training test - this includes 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.
Test format – General Training Writing
Topics are of general interest. There are two tasks:
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 fairly personal in style.
Test format – IELTS General Training 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.