Test Components

Listening

Timing : Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes’ transfer time)
Questions: There are 40 questions
A variety of question types is used, chosen from the following:
1. multiple choice,
2. matching
3. plan/map/diagram labelling
4. form completion,
5. note
6. completion, table completion
7. flow-chart completion
8. summary completion
9. sentence completion
10. short-answer questions

Test Parts: There are 4 sections
Section 1 is a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context (e.g. a conversation in an accommodation agency)
Section 2 is a monologue set in an everyday social context (e.g. a speech about local facilities or a talk about the arrangements for meals during a conference)
Section 3 is 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, or a group of students planning a research project)
Section 4 is a monologue on an academic subject (e.g. a university lecture)

Skills assessed: A wide range of listening skills is assessed, including understanding of main ideas and specific factual information; recognising opinions, attitudes and purpose of a speaker; and following the development of an argument

Marking: Each correct answer receives 1 mark
Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale
Scores are reported in whole and half bands

Nb:
Each section is heard once only
A variety of voices and native-speaker accents is used

Reading

Timing: 60 minutes (no extra transfer time)
Questions: There are 40 questions
A variety of question types is used, chosen from the following:
1. multiple choice
2. identifying information (True/False/Not Given)
3. identifying writer’s
4. views/claims (Yes/No/Not Given)
5. matching information, matching
6. headings, matching features
7. matching sentence endings
8. sentence completion
9. summary completion
10. note completion
11. table completion
12. flowchart completion
13. diagram label completion
14. short-answer questions

Test Parts: There are 3 sections
The total text length is 2,150-2,750 words
Academic Reading
Each section contains one long text. Texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been written for a non-specialist audience and are on academic topics of general interest. 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. Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. If texts contain technical terms, then a simple glossary is provided

General Training Reading
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

Nb:
Texts are authentic and are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers

Skills assessed: A wide range of reading skills is assessed, including reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail; understanding inferences and implied meaning; recognising a writer’s opinions, attitudes and purpose; and following the development of an argument

Marking: Each correct answer receives 1 mark
Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale
Scores are reported in whole and half bands


Writing

Timing: 60 minutes
Tasks: There are 2 tasks
Candidates are required to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2


Test Parts: There are 2 parts
1 Academic Writing
In Task 1, candidates 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
In Task 2, candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem The issues raised are of general interest to, suitable for and easily understood by candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration Responses to Task 1 and Task 2 should be written in a formal style

2 General Training Writing
In Task 1, candidates 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
In Task 2, candidates 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 Topics are of general interest

Skills assessed: In both tasks, candidates are assessed on their ability to write a response which is appropriate in terms of content, the organisation of ideas, and the accuracy and range of vocabulary and grammar

Academic Writing
In Task 1, depending on the task type, candidates are assessed on their ability to organise, present and possibly compare data; to describe the stages of a process or procedure; to describe an object or event or sequence of events; to explain how something works
In Task 2, depending on the task type, candidates are assessed on their ability to present a solution to a problem; to present and justify an opinion; to compare and contrast evidence, opinions and implications; to evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument

General Training Writing In Task 1, depending on the task type, candidates are assessed on their ability to engage in personal correspondence in order to: elicit and provide general factual information; express needs, wants, likes and dislikes; express opinions (views, complaints etc.)
In Task 2, candidates are assessed on their ability to provide general factual information; to outline a problem and present a solution; to present and possibly justify an opinion; to evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument


Speaking

Timing: 11-14 minutes
Tasks: The Speaking test is a 3-part face-to-face oral interview with an examiner
The Speaking test is recorded

Test Parts: There are 3 parts
Part 1 Introduction and interview (4-5 minutes)
The examiner introduces him/herself and asks the candidate to introduce him/herself and confirm his/her identity. The examiner asks the candidate general questions on familiar topics, e.g. home, family, work, studies and interests
Part 2 Individual long turn (3-4 minutes)
The examiner gives the candidate a task card which asks the candidate to talk about a particular topic and which includes points which the candidate can cover in their talk. The candidate is given 1 minute to prepare their talk, and is given a pencil and paper to make notes. The candidate talks for 1-2 minutes on the topic. The examiner then asks the candidate one or two questions on the same topic
Part 3 Two-way discussion (4-5 minutes)
The examiner asks further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2. These questions give the candidate an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas

Skills assessed: A wide range of speaking skills is assessed, including the ability to communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences and situations by answering a range of questions; the ability to speak at length on a given topic using appropriate language and organising ideas coherently; and the ability to express and justify opinions and to analyse, discuss and speculate about issues

Marking: Candidates are assessed on their performance throughout the test by certificated IELTS examiners according to the four criteria of the IELTS Speaking Test Band Descriptors (fluency and coherence, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy, pronunciation). The public version of the band descriptors can be found at www.ielts.org/researchers/ score_processing_and_reporting.aspx Scores are reported in whole and half bands