Crack the IELTS: Your Complete Exam Guide

For those aspiring to study in English-speaking countries, where English proficiency is crucial – you must know all about IELTS. Universities in these countries often require proof of English Language Proficiency (ELP), and the IELTS is a widely recognized test for this purpose.

What Is IELTS?

IELTS full form is International English Language Testing System and the purpose to take IELTS test is to evaluate English language proficiency. Conducted by IDP, it assesses listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills through a combination of paper-based and computer-delivered formats.

There are two main types of IELTS exams: Academic and General Training.

  • The Academic test is for students pursuing higher education.
  • The General Training test assesses English proficiency in everyday contexts.
  • Duration of Exam: Approx. 3 hours
  • Mode of Exam: Online

Countries Accepting IELTS:

  • United States
  • United Kingdon
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • France
  • New Zealand

Exam Pattern & Scoring

The exam consists of 4 main sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

AspectsListeningReadingWritingSpeaking
Format4 recorded monologues/conversations. Multiple-choice, matching, labeling diagrams, completing sentences, and more.Three long texts.
Multiple-choice, identifying information, matching headings, sentence completion, etc.
Two tasks.
Academic IELTS
General Training IELTS
Face-to-face interview with examiner
Duration30 minutes60 minutes60 minutes11-14 minutes
Sections4 sections, each corresponding to one of the recorded pieces
Questions40 questions in total40 questions in totalTask 1: Descriptive reportPart 1: Introduction and questions
Divided into four sectionsDistributed among three textsTask 2: EssayPart 2: Topic card and preparation
Part 3: Follow-up discussion

Score

  • Scored on a band scale of 0-9
  • Minimum score for most of the universities: 6.0 (competent user score)
  • Total marks for each section is 40 and a minimum of 20 in each is recommended

Here is a table on IELTS Band Scores:

Band ScoreReadingListeningSpeakingWritingProficiencyExplanation
939-4039-408.5-98.5-9Expert User– Possesses proficient mastery of the language with full operational command.
– Demonstrates appropriate, accurate, and fluent use of English, indicating a thorough comprehension.
8.537-3837-388-8.58-8.5Very Good User– Demonstrates a fully operational command of the language, with occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage.
– May experience occasional misunderstandings in unfamiliar situations.
– Capable of handling complex and detailed argumentation proficiently.
835-3635-357.5-87.5-8Very Good User– Demonstrates a fully operational command of the language, with occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage.
– May experience occasional misunderstandings in unfamiliar situations.
– Capable of handling complex and detailed argumentation proficiently.
7.533-3432-337-7.57-7.5Good User– Exhibits operational command of the language, with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage, and misunderstandings in certain situations.
– Demonstrates proficiency in handling complex language and detailed reasoning.
730-3230-316.5-76.5-7Good User– Exhibits operational command of the language, with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage, and misunderstandings in certain situations.
– Demonstrates proficiency in handling complex language and detailed reasoning.
6.527-2926-296-6.56-6.5Competent User– Demonstrates effective command of the language despite occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage, and misunderstandings.
– Capable of using and understanding reasonably complex language, especially in familiar contexts.
623-2623-255.5-65.5-6Competent User– Demonstrates effective command of the language despite occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage, and misunderstandings.
– Capable of using and understanding reasonably complex language, especially in familiar contexts.
5.519-2218-225-5.55-5.5Modest User– Shows a partial command of the language and manages to grasp the overall meaning in most situations, though they may make numerous mistakes.
– Expected to handle basic communication within their own field.
516-1816-174-54-5Modest User– Shows a partial command of the language and manages to grasp the overall meaning in most situations, though they may make numerous mistakes.
– Expected to handle basic communication within their own field.
4.513-1513-153.5-43.5-4Limited User– Basic competence in familiar situations.
– They often encounter difficulties in understanding and expressing themselves.
410-1210-123-3.53-3.5Limited User– Basic competence in familiar situations.
– They often encounter difficulties in understanding and expressing themselves.
3.58-98-92.5-32.5-3Extremely Limited– Can convey and understand only general meaning in highly familiar situations.
– Communication breakdowns occur frequently.
36-76-72-2.52-2.5Extremely Limited– Can convey and understand only general meaning in highly familiar situations.
– Communication breakdowns occur frequently.
2.54-54-51.5-21.5-2Intermittent User– Struggles significantly in both spoken and written English.
2331-1.51-1.5Intermittent User– Struggles significantly in both spoken and written English.
1.5220.5-10.5-1Non-User– Lacks the ability to use the language except for a few isolated words.
1110-0.50-0.5Non-User– Lacks the ability to use the language except for a few isolated words.
00000Non-UserDidn’t answer the questions

Here Are Some Sample Questions For Your Idea

IELTS Exam Registration Process

Registration for the IELTS exam can be done online or offline. For online registration:

  • Visit the official IELTS website.
  • Select your test details
  • Provide personal information
  • Pay the exam fee

Offline registration involves:

  • Visiting an IDP office
  • Filling out an application form
  • Paying the fee through various methods

IELTS Exam Fee: $245 – $255

IELTS Cancellation Fees:

  • Certain fees apply
  • Cancelling at least 5 weeks before the exam results in a partial refund
  • Rescheduling: With an additional fee

Cheap Resources To Practice IELTS

1. IELTS Band 7+ Complete Prep Course

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2. Free Sample Tests

3. IELTSLiz: This website has plenty of tips and practice lessons you may utilize.

4. IELTS For Free: You may find free courses and free test samples to practice.

5. Free Video Course: Here is a free 10 hour video course by “Learn With Sam and Ash”.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How long does the IELTS test take to complete?

A: The total IELTS exam duration is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes for Listening, Reading, and Writing. The Speaking section is conducted separately and typically takes around 11 to 14 minutes.

Q2: What are the differences between Academic and General Training IELTS?

A: Academic IELTS is typically for individuals seeking higher education or professional registration. General Training IELTS is often taken for immigration purposes or non-academic training. The content and tasks in the Reading and Writing sections differ between the two versions.

Q3: Are there any official study materials or resources for IELTS preparation?

A: Yes, the official IELTS website provides sample test questions, practice materials, and preparation guides. Additionally, there are numerous books, online courses, and practice tests available to help you prepare effectively.