Everything You Need To Know

IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is a standardized test that helps to gauge the English proficiency of non-native English speakers.

Launched by Cambridge English Language Assessment and the British Council, the test’s innovative format will gauge your communicative language learning skills.

IELTS is one of the major English language tests given to students preparing for study, migration, and work. Accepted by 3,000 academic institutions and universities in countries such as Australia, Canada, U.S, England, Ireland, and New Zealand, it is designed to test students from English newbies to experts.

IELTS is a 2-hour 45-minute test that is divided to four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

The 2-hour 45-minute IELTS test is divided into two categories: the IELTS General Training Test and IELTS Academic Test. You have to pass the Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing sections of these tests to work or study in countries where English is the main language.  


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  • IELTS General Training Test (this one):
    General Training IELTS is for those who want to
    work or immigrate to an English-speaking country.  It is intended for immigration purposes, for those who want to take non-academic training, or for those who want to gain work experience in another country.  
  • IELTS Academic Test (click here to get there):
    The academic version is for those who want to
    study at a higher level in a foreign country. This means, if you are planning to study in higher institutions and universities in an English-speaking country, academic IELTS is for you.

Test Features

Highly Secure

Since every IELTS test center will ask for your high-resolution photograph, you can trust their authenticity. The test takers then verify that image with the person giving the test to ensure you are the proper test-taker.

Time-Bound

You will have only 2-hours and 45-minutes to complete the test. For the listening section, you will have 30 minutes, for reading and writing you have 60 minutes each, and for speaking you have 11-14 minutes.

Assesses Your English Language Skills

The IELTS general training test evaluates your listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. In order to do well on the test, you must pass the required criterion in each of the four sub-tests. The speaking part, a crucial component of the test, is conducted in the form of a one-on-one interview, and the examiner assesses your fluency as you are speaking.

Available Globally

The IELTS General training test is available in more than 1,500 locations worldwide with more than 50 locations just in the US.  Whether you are given a test from the UK, China, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada, your test will be valid.

Offers Fairness

The IELTS training test offers utmost fairness by accepting all standard varieties of native speakers: British,  North American, New Zealand, Australian. The test also avoids cultural bias and offers an unbiased assessment of every candidate.

Technical Aspects

Time-Bound

You will get only 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete the test. You will be given 30 minutes for the listening section, 60 minutes each for reading and writing, and 11-14 minutes for speaking.

4 Sections

Every section is divided into further parts:

  1. Listening Section
  2. Reading Section
  3. Writing Section
  4. Speaking Section

Listening Section

During this section, you will listen to four recordings and then write your answers.

  • Recording 1 is a conversation between two people in an everyday context.
  • Recording 2 is a monologue in an everyday context.
  • Recording 3 is a conversation between four people in an educational context.
  • Recording 4 is a monologue on an academic subject.

The test’s listening recordings may include a range of accents, including British, North-American, Australian, New Zealandian, South-African, and more. Before taking the test, use the iPrep Course to listen to these different varieties and to get accustomed to them.


Task types:  The total number of questions is 40, based on the order of recordings heard in the audio. The tasks include multiple choice, matching, sentence completion, chart summary completion, plan, and diagram labeling. Each question is worth one point.

Answers: You will first have to write the answers on the question paper, but at the end of the test, you will be given 10 minutes to write your answers on the sheet. Make sure you write the answers carefully as incorrect grammar and spelling lead to a deduction in points. Obviously, in the computerized version, your answers are immediately recorded.

Reading Section

The reading section includes three sections. In section 1—“social survival”—you will have up to three short texts such as advertisements, notices, and timetables; in section 2—“workplace survival”—you will have up to two medium-length texts such as job descriptions, guidelines, and training materials; in section 3—“general reading”—you will have one long passage taken from journals, books, and magazines.  These questions test you on various reading skills including reading for the main idea, gist, skimming, detail, understanding argument, writer’s idea, and opinion.

Task types: The total number of questions is 40 and their tasks include multiple choice and short answer questions, identifying the writer’s views, matching sentence headings, features, headings, sentence, table, note, flow chart diagram, and summary completion. Each question is worth one point.

Answers: In this section, you will not have extra time to transfer your answers. You are required to write your answers on the sheet as you take the test.

Writing Section

The writing section has two tasks. The first is to respond to a situation in writing, such as answering an email or writing a letter or directions. The second is to write a short essay in response to an argument. The essay may be either formal or fairly personal in style.

Task types: Completing both tasks is mandatory. In the first task, you will write 150 words in 20 minutes. In the second task, you will write 250 words in 40 minutes.

Answers: Answers must be clear, focused, well-organized, and relevant. Vocabulary, sentence structure, and grammatical level are also assessed. Answers must be written completely. Notes and bullet points will not be accepted.

Speaking Section

This section consists of an oral interview between you and the test taker. All the tests will be recorded. However, it consists of three parts.

  • In Part 1, the test taker will ask you about yourself and topics such as home and family. This part will last for four to five minutes.
  • In Part 2, you will be given a topic. You will have 1 minute to prepare. After you are done speaking, the examiner will ask you questions on the same topic.
  • In Part 3, you will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. This part takes four to five minutes.

Answers: All your answers will be marked based on fluency, coherence, pronunciation, grammatical range, accuracy, and lexical resources.

Paper-Based Or Computer

You can take the test in either format. The paper-based tests require you to take the Reading, Listening, and Writing sections of the test at a desk in the official IELTS center. The computer-based tests require you to sit in front of the computer with the questions presented on the screen of the official IELTS test center.

Note: The speaking test is not carried on the computer, but face-to-face under the observation of a trained IELTS examiner.

Availability and Language Support

You can take the IELTS general training test in more than 140 countries in over 12,000 different locations.

Compatibility

Anyone who wishes to work or study in another country can take a test.

Result and Score

Once the test is over, you will get a score between 1-9.

0 – You did not attempt the test.

1 – You are a non-user who is not capable of using the English language except for a few words.

2 –You are an intermittent user. Moreover, it also shows that you find difficulty in understanding the English language.

3 – You are an extremely limited user; which means you only understand the meaning of said language in environments that you are familiar with.

4 – You are a limited user and are not able to use the complex symbols of the English language.

5 – You belong to the modest user category and have partial command on the language. But you make more mistakes.

6 – You are a competent user and have an efficient command on the English language. You also have the skills to understand the complex phrases of the language.

7 – You are a very good user. Also, you completely understand the language and have an operational command on it.

8 – You belong to the category of very good users. While you have full command of the language, you may interpret some things in unfamiliar situations.

9 – You are an expert! You completely understand the language, you are fluent, and your usage is accurate.

Result Scale and Interpretation

The IELTS is accessed on a 9-band scale-and-report score on the basis of overall as well as individual skills. If you score 9 bands, this means you have complete command of the language, and your use of English is fluent, accurate, and appropriate. However, the “1” band score determines that you are a non-user and have no ability to use the language.

IELTS score

What Score Should I Get on the IELTS?

There are no fixed or passing scores for IELTS. The passing score that is required to pass the test is something which the professional bodies, colleges, universities, and immigration authorities decide. Moreover, the level of proficiency required to ensure that you are ready for entering a new country depends on the “standard setting.”

“Standard setting” is a process that decides what IELTS score you need before entering the particular program.

Setting the appropriate “standard setting” for IELTS score comprises four steps:

  1. The panel poll: This involves discussing the minimum level of English writing and speaking ability, gauging the assessment criteria for writing and speaking tests, and considering sample reading and listening materials.
  2. Setting standards:  The committee of internal groups like employees, teachers from different departments, and language experts set minimum standards.
  3. Setting minimum score: This involves setting a minimum score to get through the IELTS test.
  4. Evaluating the decision: Once the panel is done with recommendation related score requirements, your scores will be evaluated for further experiences.

IELTS Average Scores

These are the test takers average performance and band scale on both individual and overall skills. The scores are for both Academic and General training test takers in the year 2017.

IELTS score


Free Practice


Administration

Is the IELTS General Training Test Online or Offline?

You can take the IELTS general training exam in both online and offline mode. While offline you need to visit the center of the exam, for the online test, you only need to go to the official website.

Is the Test Taken Individually or by a Large Group of Candidates?

Anyone can take IELTS general training test. Whether you are a single student or you are taking the test in a large group, you can do so with ease.

Are Results Generated Instantly upon Completion?

No, you have to wait some time to know your scores. While the results of the online test will arrive up to 13 days from the test, offline test results might take up to 4-6 weeks.

Test Provider

IELTS test is provided by the British Council, Cambridge English Language Assessment, and IDP: IELTS Australia with the joint efforts of the experts across the world. The other test providers are from New Zealand, Canada, Australia, the US, and the UK. Moreover, it is trusted by universities, governments, and businesses around the world.

Disclaimer – All the information and prep materials on iPrep are genuine and were created for tutoring purposes. iPrep is not affiliated with any of the test providers mentioned above, who are the owners of the test.

Curriculum

  1. Course Introduction
  2. Writing - General Training Task 1
  3. Writing - General Training Task 2
  4. Writing Topic Ideas - Bonus Material
  5. Speaking
  6. Speaking – Exercises
  7. Listening – Introduction & Strategies
  8. Listening – Question Types
  9. Listening - Full-Length Simulations
  10. Reading - Introduction & Strategies
  11. Reading - Question Types Introduction
  12. Reading - Full-Length Simulations

Get to know what the IELTS General Training Test will be like by practicing with these sample questions: