IELTS is administered in two different ways, one as IELTS Academic and the other as IELTS General. Both tests assess your skills in listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Listening, Reading, and Writing will be conducted on the same day without breaks, but the Speaking test may be scheduled on a different date in a week prior or after the written test.
The difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General is only in the Reading and Writing modules. IELTS Academic reading texts are meant to test the language skills of people entering university courses or seeking professional registration. IELTS General reading extracts are materials you are likely to encounter daily in an English-speaking environment. Academic writing task 1 asks you to write a report on a given graph, table, chart or diagram while General writing task 1 asks you to write a letter.
Also, IELTS Academic can be taken on paper, a computer or an online exam can be booked from home or any convenient location with strong internet access. IELTS General test on the other hand can only be taken on paper or computer at a test center.
The duration of the test is 2 hours 45 minutes.
Listening Module (Both Academic / General ) (30 minutes)
The listening booklet has four sections and there will be 10 questions in every session and so 40 questions in all. You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions. The sections are graded in difficulty which means that the test becomes tougher as it proceeds.
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
You will be judged on 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 skill to follow the development of ideas.
Each question carries 1 mark. You are given 10 minutes to copy your answers to the answer sheet
Reading Module (60 minutes)
Academic reading consists of three reading passages with a variety of questions using a number of task types. They are aimed at a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration. These are taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers.
IELTS Academic test-The reading test takes one hour and there are 40 questions to be answered from three long passages. These passages range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. The questions test your skill for reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.
General IELTS Reading has three sections with 40 questions which have to be answered in 60 minutes. It 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.
IELTS General Training test -It has three sections which contain many extracts. The questions test your skills for reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognizing writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.
Writing Module (60 minutes)
Topics are of general interest and those that test the language skills of people entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. There are two tasks:
- Task 1 – You must write a report on a visual input like a chart, table, graph or diagram where you have to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may even 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.
Topics are of general interest. There are two tasks:
- Task 1 – You will be presented with a situation and asked to write a formal, semi-formal or personal letter requesting information or explaining the situation.
- 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.
Speaking Module (Both Academic / General )
Part 1 – Introduction and interview
In this part, the examiner introduces him/herself and checks the test takers’ identity. Then the test taker is asked general questions on familiar topics such as on home, family, work, studies and interests. The examiner reads out the question from a script. Part 1 lasts for 4–5 minutes.
Part 2 – Long turn
Part 2 is a long turn talk by the test taker for 1 to 2 minutes on a single topic. The examiner gives the test taker a task card with a particular topic. The card has sub-questions printed under the topic so that the test taker can easily organize his points. The test taker is given 1 minute to do this and prepare his talk. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
Part 3 – Discussion
In part 3 the examiner has a discussion with the test taker on the topic in part 2 in a more general and abstract way. The test taker here will have to answer elaborately. Part 3 lasts 4–5 minutes.
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