IELTS Test Format

Learn about IELTS Test Format in details

This post explains everything in detail about the IELTS Test format you should know before you prepare for your test and be ready for taking it. Let’s begin finding out it now.

IELTS Test modules:

There are 2 main IELTS test modules; Academic and General Training Modules.  There are 4 subskill tests; Listening, Reading and Writing, and Speaking in each test module; the Speaking and Listening tests are the same in both modules, but the Reading and Writing tests are different. So make sure you choose the right IELTS test module to prepare for your need.

IELTS Test Format

Normally, Candidates who understand well the test format can do better and achieve higher band scores than the ones who do not. That’s why it is good to learn carefully how the IELTS test is organised.

IELTS Listening Test

The IELTS listening test takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. It has 40 questions and divided into 4 sections (Parts). You hear each section
once only and you answer the questions in the question booklet as you listen. At the end of the test, you have ten minutes to transfer your answers to an answer sheet. 

Section (Part) 1 – A conversation between two people. The topic is usually of a social nature.

Section (Part) 2 – A monologue or conversation between two people. The topic is usually of a social nature.

Section (Part) 3 – A conversation involving up to four people.
The situation and topic are related to education and training.

Section (Part) 4 – A monologue. The context is related to education and training. Sometimes, there may be someone asking questions to a speaker.

Question types:

There are some types of questions in the IELTS listening test. Let’s look at the list below:

  1. Classification
  2. Labelling a diagram/plan/map
  3. Matching
  4. Multiple-choice
  5. Note/form/summary/table/flow-chart completion
  6. Selecting items from a list
  7. Sentence completion
  8. Short-answer questions

The difficulty of the questions increases as the test progresses.

IELTS Reading Test

 In the Academic Reading test, there are three passages, which are from various sources like books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. The passages do not require specialist knowledge for you to
understand them, and at least one of them contains a detailed logical argument.

Let’s look at the Question types below:

  1. Choosing suitable paragraph/section headings from a list
  2. Classification
  3. Completing sentences with the correct endings
  4. Identification of information using
  5. True/False/Not Given’
  6. Identification of the writer’s claims and views using ‘Yes/No/
    Not Given’ statements
  7. Labelling a diagram
  8. Matching information to paragraphs/names to statements
  9. Multiple-choice
  10. Note/flow-chart/table completion
  11. Selecting items from a list
  12. Sentence completion
  13. Short-answer questions
  14. Summary completion – with and without wordlists

IELTS Writing Test

The Academic Writing test normally lasts one hour and there are two tasks. You have 20 minutes on Task 1 and asked to write at least 150 words.
For Task 2, you are advised to spend 40 minutes and
asked to write at least 250 words.

Task type1
Candidates are asked to describe data, presented as a graph, chart or table, or a diagram, such as a map or a process, using their own words.
Task Type 2
Candidates are given a question containing a point of view, argument, or problem.

The rubrics in Writing Task 2 follow a range of patterns, including:

  1. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
  2. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of…
  3. Do you think this is positive or negative development?
  4. To what extent do you agree or disagree (with this opinion)?
  5. What do you consider to be the major influence?
  6. What do you think are the main causes of this
  7. What effective measures can be taken to tackle (the situation/problem/issue)?
  8. What do you think are the main causes of this problem/development? What are the effects of (the

IELTS Speaking Test

 The IELTS Speaking test lasts between 11 and 14 minutes and consists of three parts. The test is recorded. Sometimes there is a video recording of the Speaking test.

The first two parts of the Speaking test are of a personal nature and the last part deals with abstract concepts/ideas.

Part 1, Task type:
Candidates are asked questions about topics such as their family, job/studies or interests, and a wide range of other topics that students are familiar with. Part 1 lasts four to five minutes and includes an introduction of yourself to the examiner.

Part 2, Task Type:
Candidates talk about a topic on a Task Card with prompts for one to two minutes. You are given one minute to think about the topic and make notes on a sheet of paper.

Part 3, Task Type:
Candidates have a discussion with the examiner linked to the topic in Part 2. Part 3 lasts four to five minutes.

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