International English language testing system (IELTS):
IELTS means International English Language Testing System and it is a test of English language proficiency. The test is designed to assess the language ability of non-native speakers of English who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication.
IELTS assesses all of your English skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking and is designed to reflect how you will use English to study, and at work in your new life abroad. The IELTS test is developed by some of the world’s leading experts in language assessment. It has an excellent international reputation and is accepted by over 9,000 organizations worldwide, including schools, universities, employers, immigration authorities, and professional bodies. IELTS is the most widely accepted English language test that uses a one-on-one speaking test to assess your English communication skills. This means that you are assessed by having a real-life conversation with a real person. This is the most effective and natural way of testing your English conversation skills.
IELTS score and test format:
The IELTS test format is tried and trusted by organizations and test takers worldwide and has not changed significantly for over 20 years.
More than 10,000 institutions and organizations worldwide accept IELTS results. These include universities, colleges, professional registration bodies, employers, and governments. You have a choice of two versions of the IELTS exam, the IELTS Academic exam and the IELTS General Training exam. The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
There are four different sections of the test:
LISTENING (30 minutes):
You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions. Candidates listen to four recorded texts and conversations by a range of native speakers and write an answer to the series of questions. A variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used and you will hear each section only once.
Recording 1: A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
Recording 2: A monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities
Recording 3: A conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment
Recording 4: A monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.
READING (60 minutes):
The Reading component consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical arguments, and recognizing writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.
IELTS Academic test:
This includes three long texts which range from descriptive and factual to the subject to subject and analytical. Texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. These have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.
IELTS General Training test:
It includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks, and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.
WRITING (60 minutes):
IELTS Academic test
The Writing component of the Academic version includes two tasks. Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for anyone entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. There are two tasks:
Task 1 – Candidates will be presented with a graph, table, chart, or diagram and are asked to describe, summarize or explain the information in their own words.
Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.
IELTS General Training
Topics are of general interest. There are two tasks:
Task 1 – you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal, or formal in style.
Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.
SPEAKING (11 to 14 minutes):
The speaking component assesses your use of spoken English. Every test is recorded.
Part 1 – the examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies, and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
Part 2 – you will be given a card that asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
Part 3 – you will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.
You cannot fail the test. IELTS is designed to assess English language skills at all levels.
You will receive IELTS scores based on each of the four skills on a scale of 1 – 9, and you will also be awarded an overall band score. You can score whole (e.g., 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half (e.g., 5.5, 6.5, 7.5) bands in each part of the test.
Your overall band score may be crucial if you intend to emigrate, apply for university, or take up a job in an English-speaking country.