The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) generally has two formats- IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. You can opt for either one of them depending upon your requirement or the university/ course you will be applying to. Candidates should be well informed that both the versions of the IELTS test are instrumental in providing a valid and accurate assessment of a candidates’ listening, reading, writing and speaking language skills.
IELTS Academic is for candidates who are interested in applying for higher education or professional registration to countries that use English as their fundamental language of communication. The main purpose of the examination is to judge whether a candidate is ready to begin studying or training in the English language. Countries that widely recognize IELTS for studying are US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
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IELTS General Training is for aspirants who are looking to migrate to New Zealand, Australia, Canada, US, and the UK or applying for secondary education, training programs and work experience in an English-speaking environment. Here the examination focusses on the basic survival skills of a candidate in a broad social and workplace environment.
Writing:-Candidates take academic writing module. Responses to the academic writing module are short essays or general reports, addressed to an educated non-specialist audience. There are two compulsory tasks. Task 1 requires 150 words, and candidates are asked to look at a diagram, table or data and to present the information in their own words. Task 2 requires at least 250 words, and all candidates are presented with a point of view, argument or problem and asked to provide general factual information, present a solution, justify an opinion, evaluate ideas and evidence, etc.
Total no. of questions: 2
Total time: 60 minutes
Reading: The reading module consists of three texts of general interest dealing with issues which are appropriate for candidates entering postgraduate or undergraduate courses. Both reading modules consist of three passages or sections with forty questions. Question types include multiple-choice, sentence or summary completion, identifying data for short-answer questions, matching lists or phrases and identifying writers’ views/attitudes.
Total no. of questions: About 40
Total time: 30 minutes
This includes three long paragraphs which can be either descriptive, factual or analytical. These paragraphs are basically excerpts taken from newspapers, research works, journals, books, or even magazines. Targeting a non-specialist audience, the texts are ideal for testing higher education aspirants or for professionals seeking work abroad.
Similar to the academic format, here the excerpts can be passages from advertisements, company guidelines, brochures, and so on. This is relatively easier than the academic format as the selected text is generally something that one encounters on a day-to-day basis.
Listening: The Listening module is divided into four sections. The first two conversations are concerned with social needs, while the last two are concerned with situations more closely related to education. They will all be around three minutes long. The conversations could be both monologues and dialogues. These conversations can be heard once only. A variety of question types are asked, like multiple-choice, short-answer questions, note completion, sentence completion, labeling a diagram, etc.
Total no. of questions: 40+
Total time: 30 minutes
Speaking: The Speaking section is like a structured interview with an emphasis on general speaking skills. It assesses whether candidates have the required knowledge and skills to communicate effectively with native speakers of English.
Total no. of questions: 3 parts – Personal Interview, Little Speech, and a Discussion
Total time: 11 to 14 minutes
For the first five minutes, you will be asked some mundane questions about yourself such as family, home, studies, hobbies and interests, and so on.
Next, the examiner will hand you a flashcard that would contain a certain topic. You will be given a minute or two to familiarize yourself with the topic as you would need to speak on that topic for about two minutes. Post your speech, the examiner might ask a few questions based on your understanding of the topic.
Deeper questions and abstract discussions would take place based on the given topic and your speech. You will get the opportunity to explore your given topic and delve into deeper issues. You can expect this part to last for five-six minutes.
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