The international English language testing system, better known as IELTS is one of the world’s most popular and respected English proficiency tests intended for non-native English speakers, who are looking to study or work in an English speaking environment. IELTS was first introduced in 1989 and has since become one of the most trusted English language assessments worldwide. The main focus of this type of testing is to determine a candidate’s practical ability to use English in real-life situations.
There are two different IELTS modules: Academic training, which is designed primarily for candidates who wish to study at a university or join an institute for higher education and general training, which focuses on survival skills as well as social and workplace language for candidate’s that wish to migrate to English speaking countries such as Australia, Canada and The UK. The test is divided into four main categories: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
The test format is common for the listening and speaking sections for candidates appearing for the IELTS academic and general test. The purpose of the listening test is to check the candidate’s comprehension skills. The test lasts for about 40 minutes and consists of four recordings. The speaking test is a recorded face-to-face interview round that lasts for 15 minutes and consists of three parts. The reading test is intended to check the reading abilities of a person. The time allotted for this test is 60 minutes. Candidates applying for the academic test need to answer questions related to three long paragraphs taken from books, newspapers, journals or research works which could be descriptive, analytical or factual. For the general test, candidates have to answer questions related to advertisements, brochures and so on. This test is considered easier as the passages contain words that we encounter in our day-to-day lives. The final category is the writing test, which consists of two questions that need to be answered within 60 minutes. For the academic test, candidates are provided with a diagram, graph or a flow chart. In the first question, the candidates must describe the data in their own words and for the second question; candidates need to write an essay based on the data. They also need to support their essay with the correct examples gathered from the data. The writing style should be strictly formal. Candidates applying for the general test are required to write a semi-formal letter based on the topic provided and present their argument or point of view on the given topic.