The IELTS is a test of English, needed for entrance to academic studies and work in the United Kingdom, Australia and other countries. If you are considering working or going to universities in the UK, Australia, Canada or New Zealand, you will probably be asked to take the IELTS exam. This test checks your skills in various areas of the English language: Listening Comprehension, Reading Comprehension, Writing and Speaking.
IELTS is not a test that you can pass or fail. Your assessment will be reported according to a scale from bands one to nine. You will need to contact the university you wish to enter to find out the IELTS score they require for entry into your chosen course. Band one indicates that you have virtually no English at all. Band nine is native speaker proficiency.
The test questions and tasks have been designed to reflect the general interests of people from an educated background. You will therefore not be required to have any specialist knowledge.
The test has four components – Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking. You will receive a band score for each component as well as a global band score.
The Reading section of the IELTS test takes one hour.
In this time you are required to read three texts of between 500 and 900 words each. The texts and questions increase in difficulty. There will be around 40 questions to answer and record on the answer sheet within the 60 minutes.
The Writing section of the IELTS test takes one hour. In this time you are required to do two tasks.
Task One is a report based on some graphic information provided on the question paper. The graphic information will come in one of five forms. You are required to describe the information or the process in a report of 150 words. This task should be completed in 20 minutes. It is important that you are familiar with the language appropriate to report writing generally and to each of the five types of report.
Task Two is an essay based on a topic given on the question paper. You should write at least 250 words in 40 minutes.
It is important that you keep within the advised time limits as Task Two carries more weight in your final band score than Task One. Remember that illegible handwriting will reduce your final score.
The Listening section of theIELTS test takes approximately 30 minutes.
The listening material is recorded on a cassette tape which you will hear only once.
There are four sections in the listening test presented in order of increasing difficulty. The first two sections are on topics of general interest such as a report of a lost bag or an introduction to a public facility. Section one will be in the form of a dialogue, section two will be a monologue.
Sections three and four will have an education or training focus. There will be a lecture and a discussion between two and four people.
As you listen you should write your answers on the question booklet. At the end of the recorded material you will be given ten minutes to copy your answers onto the answer sheet.
The Speaking section of theIELTS test takes between 11 and 14 minutes. It is in the form of an oral interview between the candidate and an examiner.
During the interview you will need to answer questions asked by the interviewer, speak at length on a topic selected by the interviewer and give and justify your opinions on a range of issues related to that topic.