IELTS Test Format and Scoring


The IELTS test assesses your abilities in all four skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking.
The IELTS test format is tried and trusted by organisations and test takers worldwide, and has not changed significantly for over 20 years.

The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are all taken on the same day, in the same order, one after the other, with no breaks in between them.

Your Speaking test will either be after a break on the same day as the other three tests, or up to seven days before or after that depending on the test centre.

Test Duration Sections/Items
Listening Test 30 minutes +
10 minutes transfer time
4 sections, 40 items
Reading Test
AC or GT
60 minutes 3 sections, 40 items
Writing Test
AC or GT
60 minutes Task 1: 150 words
Task 2: 250 words
Speaking Test 11 – 14 minutes
IELTS scores

You cannot fail the test. IELTS is designed to assess English language skills at all levels.

You will receive a score based on each of the four skills on a scale of 1 – 9, and you will also be awarded an overall band score. You can score whole (e.g., 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half (e.g., 5.5., 6.5, 7.5) bands in each part of the test.

Your overall band score may be crucial if you intend to emigrate, apply for university or take up a job in an English-speaking country.

Find out more about How Your Score Has Been Calculated and the 9-band system.