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IELTS EXAM PATTERN

IELTS Exam Pattern

IELTS or the International English Language Testing System is a test to assess English proficiency among non-native speakers of English. Being proficient in a language means being proficient in carrying out various everyday functions in a language like understanding oral speech and written words and being able to express oneself in speech or writing. As such, IELTS or any other similar language test is designed in a way that can test all the four macro skills of a language, viz., listening, speaking, reading or writing.

The IELTS exam is subdivided into the four sections of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing and takes about 3 hours to complete the test. The same question paper which is prepared by Cambridge Assessment is administered in both the British Council and IDP: Australia’s IELTS tests.

The IELTS exam is often conducted over two days, where the Listening, Reading and Writing skills are tested on one day, and your Speaking skill is tested on a separate day (usually the preceding or following Saturday from the day of your test).

Note: Remember to note down the dates of the test while booking your exam slot.

The IELTS exam is of two types: Academic and General Training. The IELTS Academic rest is for those who want to travel abroad for purposes of higher education while IELTS General Training is a test to get visas for job or PR purposes. While the content of the test is the same for both IELTS Academic and General Training in the case of the Listening and Speaking test, the Reading and Writing sections are different for both.

IELTS Exam Pattern for Listening module

The IELTS Listening test is designed to assess how well does one understand oral speech. The Listening test is conducted with the help of audio files. The test taker is supposed to listen to audio files and answer 40 questions in total, based on the audio that is heard. The test is 40 minutes long and is divided into four subsections.

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The first two sections of the IELTS Listening test are designed on social contexts, and the last two sections have academic content and the difficulty level increases as we proceed from one section to another. In the first section, one is supposed to answer 10 questions based on a dialogue, which is usually in the form of an inquiry. The next section is another set of 10 questions which is based on a monologue. The monologue is usually on a general topic. In the third section, the audio file is of a group of three or more speakers and the content is to be understood to answer another set of 10 questions. The last section is that of a lecture which is based on an academic topic.

The types of questions asked in this section range from fill in the blanks, match the following, choose the correct answer, etc.

The total number of questions to be answered in this section is 40. You can listen to the audio only once, and you will be given 10 minutes of time to shift the answer from your rough sheet to your final answer sheet. There is no negative marking in the Listening section.

IELTS Exam Pattern for Reading Module:

The IELTS Reading test is designed to assess how well does one understand written English. The Reading test is very similar to the comprehension tests you wrote in school. The test is 60 minutes long and is divided into three subsections.

The IELTS Academic Reading test consists of three sections, each comprising of a text (200-300 words long) followed by questions that are based on the content of the text. The IELTS General Training Reading test also consists of three sections, which, in turn, consist of two or more small texts taken from books, magazines, advertisements, etc., followed by questions based on the content of the texts.

The types of questions asked in this section are filled in the blanks, match the following, list of headings, true/false/not given, yes/no/not given, etc.

The total number of questions asked in this section is 40. The level of difficulty increases as we proceed in the section and questions are often twisted and turned using synonyms, etc. to test your understanding of English. There is no negative marking in this section.

IELTS Exam Pattern for Writing Module:

The IELTS Writing test is designed to assess how well does one write English to express his/her ideas. The Writing test is 60 minutes long and is divided into two subsections. The test is scored on the basis of spelling, punctuation, grammar, coherence, vocabulary and linguistic range.The IELTS Academic Writing test is divided into two sections. In the first section, you are asked to describe an image (ranging from a map, chart, table, graph or a diagram) in a minimum of 150 words. The second section comprises of writing an essay in a minimum of 250 words.

The IELTS General Training test is again divided into two sections. In the first section, you need to write a letter, which can be a formal, semi-formal or an informal letter, in a minimum of 150 words. In the second section, you are to write an essay in a minimum of 250 words.

The essay can vary from an opinion essay, argumentative essay, direct question essay, agree or disagree essay, etc.

It is advisable to divide the 60 minutes time slot into two parts: 20 minutes for section 1 and 40 minutes for section 2. Writing in a logically organized manner, with correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling and showing sufficient vocabulary and sentential range fetches maximum marks in the IELTS Writing test.

IELTS Exam Pattern for Speaking Module:

The IELTS Speaking test is designed to assess how well does one speak and express oneself in English. The Speaking test is usually conducted on a separate day from your other tests and is in the form of a face to face interview. The test is about 11-14 minutes long and is divided into three subsections.

The first section of the IELTS Speaking test is the introductory section where the examiner asks you about things around you like your hobbies, your place of birth, your ambition, etc. You are to answer around 7-14 questions in this section. The second section of the IELTS Speaking test is an elocution section where you are given a topic, along with cues to help you organize your speech and preparation time of 1 minute. You are supposed to talk on the topic for 2-3 minutes. The third section of the Speaking test is a Q&A test based on the content of the second section. For question samples, first, read the blog

The IELTS Speaking test is scored on fluency, an organization of speech, pronunciation, etc.

Note:

Factual correctness is not important, correct English is.


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