#EngTips: IELTS

Are you planning to get a scholarship and study or work in Australia, UK or Canada? In this post, we will introduce you to IELTS. It is something very important if you wish to study, work or migrate to countries mentioned above.


What is IELTS?

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It’s an internationally standardized test of English proficiency. IELTS is generally used in Australia, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and commonwealth countries. However, these days, universities all over the world take both IELTS and TOEFL to make it easy on international students. The test aims to assess your English skill and make sure that you are ready and able to communicate well in English.

There are 2 versions of IELTS test: Academic Version and General Training Version. The academic version of IELTS is intended for candidates who want to enroll in universities & institutions of higher education. The general training version is intended for those planning to work or migrate to Australia, UK, Canada, New Zealand, etc.


IELTS modules

Both modules contain 4 modules:

  • Reading,
  • Writing,
  • Listening and
  • Speaking.

Reading & Writing modules are different for both academic and general version, but Listening & Speaking modules are the same. Let’s have a look at every module that you will find in an IELTS test. We’ll start from the Reading module.


Reading Module

Candidates have 60 minutes to finish the Reading module. Materials may be from academic textbooks, newspapers or magazines.
The Reading module of the academic version comprises of 3 sections, followed by 13 or 14 questions for a total of 40 questions. The Reading module of the general training version also has 3 sections, however with shorter texts.

One of the three sections will always be an opinion piece whereby you will be asked to give an argument and explain your opinion. The variety of questions is quite broad, and not every text will have every question type.

You might be asked to do one or more of the following:

  • to match headings to paragraphs in the text,
  • to fill in a table or chart or picture from the text,
  • to complete a summary using words from the text,
  • to choose from multiple-choice questions that ask you about key details,
  • to match words and ideas,
  • to give short-answers which are to be taken directly from the text, and/or
  • to state whether a given statement is true, false or not included in the text.


Writing Module

The writing module in the academic version consists of 2 tasks.

  • In task 1 candidates are to describe a diagram, graph, process or chart. You will have to identify important information, compare and contrast different figures or maybe describe a process.
  • Whereas in task 2 of the writing module in the academic version will ask candidates to respond to an argument. Candidates are asked to present their opinion on a statement about a fairly open topic such as: “Smoking should be banned.”

In the 1st task in general training, candidates will write a letter or explain a situation, and in task 2 they write an essay.

Candidates are given 60 minutes to complete the writing module.


Listening Module

The IELTS test has 4 listening sections. Each section can be either a monologue or dialogue.

  • The 1st section is a transactional conversation (such as applying for an ID card) or asking for information.
  • The 2nd section is an informational lecture of some kind such as a dean explaining the rules of the university.
  • The 3rd may be a conversation in an academic context and
  • The last (4th) section will be an academic lecture.

For all sections, you may be asked to: fill out a summary, fill in a table, answer multiple-choice, questions, label a diagram or picture, or classify information into different categories. You will be expected to fill out answers as you listen.

In the listening module, candidates will have 40 minutes, 30 minutes to listen to the recording and answer questions and additional 10 minutes to transfer the answers to the answer sheet.

The first 3 modules of IELTS test (Listening, Reading & Writing) are completed in one day and taken with no break in between. Last but not least, there’s the most interesting part of IELTS test… The speaking module.


Speaking Module

This part will only take 15 minutes. The speaking module is a key component of IELTS. It is conducted in the form of a one-to-one interview with an examiner. The speaking module may be taken, depending on the test centre, in the period of 7 days before or after the other modules.

The speaking module contains 3 sections:

  • The 1st section is an interview. Candidates may be asked about their hobbies, interests, reasons for taking IELTS, and other general topics such as computer, free time, music, film or family.
  • In the 2nd section, candidates are given a topic card and a few specific questions to address. Candidates will have 1 minute to prepare and then speak for 2 minutes on the given topic.
  • The 3rd section is a discussion on questions relating to the theme already spoken about in section 2.

The examiner will assess the candidate as he or she is speaking and the session will be recorded for monitoring. Since the speaking module is done in an interview format, you can ask the interviewer to explain if you don’t understand a question. Getting feedback can be helpful in order to correct mistakes and improve during the test.



Most of you must wonder whether you should take TOEFL or IELTS test. Worry not! Most universities take both TOEFL & IELTS. However you should still check with the specific university you want to apply to. Most educational institutions clearly state what test the students must take in order to enroll in their university.

Don’t worry too much about the test. Practice, prepare yourself and be confident!



A special thanks to @inararirurero for making this —> IELTS #EngTips @EnglishTips4U

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak at @EnglishTips4U on Tuesday, January 8, 2013


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