IELTS Explained

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IELTS Explained

There are a huge number of aspirants who dream of pursuing higher studies in foreign countries such as UK, USA, Canada, Australia and others. Now, if the aspirants are from a non native English speaking country require to give an English language exam for getting admission to the foreign universities. IELTS is one such exam which accepted in the above mentioned countries along with a number of others as well for getting admission to the foreign universities or institutions located in the native English speaking countries. Thus, it becomes quite important for the aspirants to know about IELTS in details.


IELTS which is the abbreviated form of International English Language Testing System which is a mandatory exam that needs to be taken the international candidates who consider to study or work in a country where English is the main communicative language. The IELTS exam tests the candidates in the following English skills.

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

The IELTS exam is jointly conducted and owned by British Council, IDP Education Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

Types of IELTS Exams

There are two different types of IELTS exams that are as follows.

  1. IELTS Academic Test – This test is taken by the ones who apply for higher education abroad or for professional registration.
  2. IELTS General Test – This test is taken by the ones who wish to pursue higher education in the English speaking countries such as USA, UK, Canada and Australia. This is the mandatory test for the aspirants who wish to enrol themselves in any of the secondary education courses or training programs or wish to gain work experience in any of the countries where English is main communicative language.

IELTS Exam Pattern

The interested IELTS aspirants should necessarily have a clear idea about the exam patter which would be certainly of a great help in the overall preparation of the test. Here we have discussed in details about the IELTS exam pattern including a complete analysis of each of the sections.

Now for the IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Test, the listening and the speaking sections are same but the subject matter of the other two sections that is Reading and Writing differs.

Writing (IELTS Academic Test)

Writing is the first section of your IELTS test. This section includes two writing tasks which needs to be completed by the candidates. Task 1 consists of a table, chart, graph or a diagram where the candidates are asked to summarise or explain the given information in their own words. Task 2 asks the candidates to write an essay in response to a given point of view, problem or argument.

  • Total Number of Questions – 2
  • Time Duration – 60 minutes

Writing (IELTS General Test)

The writing section includes two writing tasks which the candidates require to answer. In task 1, the candidates are presented with a situation and then asked to write a letter for requesting information or explaining the situation. Task 2 asks the candidates to write an essay in response to a given point of view, problem or argument.

  • Total Number of Questions – 2
  • Time Duration – 60 minutes

Reading (IELTS Academic Test)

This section includes three passages for reading which the candidates need to read and comprehend. The candidates are required to answer the questions related to the passages.

There are three sections, each containing one long text. The text are all real and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They are on academic topics of general interest which means you do not need any specialist knowledge to do well. The texts are appropriate to, and accessible to, candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses or seeking professional registration.
Texts range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. They may contain nonverbal
materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. If texts contain technical terms, then a simple glossary
is provided.

  • Total Number of Questions – 40
  • Time Duration – 60 minutes

Reading (IELTS General Test)

Three sections are present in this reading category where section 1 might contain two or three or several shorter texts, section 2 contains two texts and finally the third section, there is one long text. The candidates are required to answer all the questions that follow the texts.

There are three sections.
Section 1: contains two or three short factual texts, one of which may be composite (consisting of 6-8 short texts related by topic, e.g. hotel advertisements). Topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country.
Section 2: contains two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues (e.g. applying for jobs, company policies, pay and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training).
Section 3: contains one longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest. You’ll be reading real passages taken from notices, adverts, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers.

  • Total Number of Questions – 40
  • Time Duration – 60 minutes


Listening is common for both the types of IELTS test. The section consists of two monologues and two conversations. The candidates have to carefully listen to the audio and answer the questions as they listen. Total Number of Questions – 40Time Duration – 30 minutes


The speaking test consists of three tasks which asses the speaking skills of the candidates. The fast task includes a face to face interview on a wide range of general topics which lasts for about four to five minutes. In task 2, the candidates are given a card that asks them to talk about a particular topic. One minute is given to the candidates for preparing and they need to speak up to two minutes. After that the examiner asks o ne or two questions on the same topic. In the final task that is the third task, the candidates are asked further questions in the second task which lasts for about four to five minutes.

  • Total Number of Questions – Variable
  • Time Duration – 11 to 14 minutes

So, now, it can be clearly understood as to how the pattern of IELTS exam is and how should the candidates be preparing for the exam for achieving success.