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The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) assesses the English language pro¿ ciency of people who want to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. It provides a fair, accurate and relevant assessment of language skills, based on well-established 
standards, and covers the full range of proficiency levels, from non-user to expert user.
 
There are two versions of IELTS. Test takers can choose either IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training. Both versions of the test consist of four separate components, assessing the four language skills – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
 
IELTS results are reported on a 9-band scale designed to be simple and easy to understand. This scale has remained consistent and has acquired currency around the world over the past three decades.
• IELTS is the world’s most popular high stakes English language test, with over two million tests taken in the last twelve months.
• Over 8,000 organisations in over 130 countries recognise and use IELTS for selection purposes.
• IELTS is offered at over 900 test locations worldwide.
• Test questions are developed by testing specialists in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US.
• Test questions are based on authentic materials sourced from all over the world.
 
 
IELTS- a test of four skills
 
Test takers can choose between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training, depending on their academic or professional aspirations, or visa requirements. The distinction with IELTS Academic lies in the subject matter and tasks of the Reading and Writing components. The Listening and Speaking components are the same.
 
Listening 30 minutes
Test takers listen to four recorded texts, monologues and conversations by a range of native speakers, and write their answers to a series of questions.
 
Reading 60 minutes
The Academic version includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. The texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers, all of which have been selected for a non-specialist audience.
 
The General Training version requires test takers to read extracts from newspapers, advertisements, instruction manuals and books. These are materials test takers could encounter on a daily basis in an English speaking country.
 
Writing 60 minutes
The Academic version includes two tasks. Topics are of general interest to, suitable for and easily understood by test takers entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.
 
Task 1
Test takers are presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and are asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in their own words. They may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
 
Task 2
Test takers are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. 
 
Responses to both tasks must be written in a formal style.
The General Training version also includes two tasks, and is based on topics of general interest.
 
Task 1
Test takers are presented with a situation and are asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
 
Task 2
Test takers are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay.
 
Speaking 11–14 minutes 
The Speaking component assesses the test taker’s use of spoken English, and takes between 11 and 14 minutes to complete. Every test is digitally recorded and consists of three parts:
 
Part 1
Test takers answer general questions about themselves and a range of familiar topics, such as their home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
 
Part 2
Test takers are given a booklet which asks them to talk about a particular topic. They have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner may ask one or two questions on the same topic to ¿ nish this part of the test.
 
Part 3
Test takers are asked further questions which are connected to the topic in Part 2. These questions give the candidate an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas. This part lasts between four and five minutes. The format of the Speaking test is common across both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It is structured in such a way that does not allow test takers to rehearse set responses beforehand.