The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
IELTS is an international standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is one of the major English-language tests in the world. It is widely recognized by universities and employers around the world, though it is popular in countries such as Australia, Britain, Canada, New-Zealand and USA. There are two versions of the test: an academic version and a general training version. While universities require the academic version, the general training version is used by some government bodies for work and immigration permits. It has both formats computer based and paper based but paper based is popular. From score point of view, no minimum score is required to pass the test. Scores range from 1 to 9 bands and each institution sets a different threshold. The final score is totaled including all four. The score is valid for two years.
Duration: 3 hours
Listening: 40 minutes ( 30 minutes for test +10 minutes for submission the answer sheet.
Reading: 60 minutes
Writing: 60 minutes
Speaking: 11-14 minutes
Section one: Listening “common for both Academic and General Training
It has four parts with 40 questions that includes multiple choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labelling, form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion, and sentence completion. There is no fix number of question from the types. Part one is a conversation between two individuals, part two is a monologue/speech, part three is an academic conversation that can be with more than two people and part four is a monologue on an academic subject. The audio is played only once.
Section two: Reading “Different for Academic and General Training”
Academic section consists of 3 passages with long texts. The texts are taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. Each passage consists of 13-14 questions altogether 40 questions that include multiple-choice, sentence completion, summary writing, matching information, and short-answers.
General sections consists of 3 or 4 short passages that are generally taken from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks, and guidelines. Number of questions varies passage to passage but altogether there are 40 questions. The variety of question types can be many from these types: multiple choice, identifying information, identifying writer’s views/claims, matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion, short-answer questions.
Section three: Writing “Different for Academic and General Training”
Academic writing begins with describe image with timing of 20 minutes. It has to be written in 150 words. The writing part is called task 1 that is expected to describe followings: graph, table, chart or diagram. Second part is essay writing. It is called task 2 that has to be explained in 250 words in 40 minutes. This task assesses the ability to present a clear, relevant, well-organized argument, giving evidence or examples to support ideas and use language accurately.
General writing begins with letter writing with the timing of 20 minutes. Total words that are expected is 150 words. This part is called task 1 that is 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. Second part is essay writing. It is also called task 2 that should be written in 250 words in 40 minutes. This part asks to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.
Section four: Speaking “Same for Academic and General Training”
This section has three parts. Whole speaking is recorded and this is face to face oral interview with examiner. First part, test taker is asked questions about his/herself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. It last for 3 to 5 minutes with four to five questions. Second part, test taker is given a card asking to talk about a particular topic. One minute is given to prepare before speaking then two minutes for speaking. Third part is connected to part two. The questions are taken from the second part. This part lasts for 3 to 5 minutes with 3 to five questions.