International English Language Testing Systems commonly abbreviated as IELTS, is an increasingly popular exam taken up either by students who plan to study abroad, or by job-seekers who desire to work in countries where English is the fundamental medium of communication. This exam is jointly managed by British Council and IDP. It is designed to assess and acknowledge the English comprehending abilities of an individual at various levels, and conforms to highest International standards of language assessment. It is a worldwide accepted exam, recognized by different professional bodies, immigration authorities, and government agencies, including those in UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
IELTS exam is of two types:
- Academic exam, for those who want to pursue their higher education overseas.
- General exam, required for immigration or work purpose.
IELTS has primarily four modules- Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking, conducted in similar fashion and these are specified below.
- Listening: It is of overall 40 minutes duration, which is further sub-divided as:
- 30 minutes + extra 10 minutes (to transfer the answers on to the sheet where they have to write after hearing the audio clip. An individual can jot down their answers while listening as well). But one has to be very vigilant and cautious while listening, as the cassette tape is played only ONCE, and the questions are in increasing difficulty order.
- It has 4 sections and consists of 40 questions, encompassing 4 recorded monologues or dialogues and conversations.
- Section 1: Here we have a conversation between two speakers talking about day-to-day situations. For e.g. asking for directions, enrolling for any government scheme, etc.
- Section 2: It has a talk on general topic of interest by an individual, like, any seminar or excursion.
- Section 3: It’s a type of group discussion between 2-4 people over a particular topic like, education.
- Section 4: It’s a lecture on general academic topic.
- Reading: It lasts for around 60 minutes, and includes 3 passages and 40 questions. Texts ranges from descriptive and factual to discursive and comprehensive, and analytical RCs include non-verbal material like graphs, diagrams and charts. Passages are from authentic sources like books or journals.
- For Academic Test, passages are on general topics (& not on specialized topics). It has questions like, MCQs, matching type, yes/no type, short-answer writing, and summary or note-making.
- In General Test, the passages are on everyday situations, or work-related environments, or on topics from newspapers, magazines, journals, etc.
- Writing: This module also lasts for 60 minutes, and comprises of 2 writing tasks, which require different writing styles. This can also be classified on Academic and General Test basis. The 2 tasks are:
- 150 words short writing where a candidate must summarize and explain the given scenario. (20 minutes)
- 250 words essay writing. (40 minutes)
- Speaking: This is the last but not the least module. Duration of this module is for around 11 to 15 minutes and consists of face-to-face interview with a specially trained examiner. It has 3 sections:
- Introduction about individual to give personal information like, family, hobbies, business, etc. (4-5 minutes)
- Cue card round: Here you are given a topic randomly and you have 1 minute to prepare for that like an extempore round. (2-3 minutes)
- Two-way discussion, in this a structured discussion is done at length by the interviewer. It is thematically linked to an individual and the questions are more of abstract nature. (5-7 minutes)
The entire test can henceforth be summarized in this one single picture as:
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
(Plus 10 minutes extra for Listening module)