Understand the IELTS Test Format

Take the time to understand the IELTS test format. There are two versions of the test: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Both are grade in exactly the same way.

You will take the first three parts of the test all on one day in the following order: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. There are no breaks between the first three tests.

You will take the Speaking test either on the same day as the LRW tests, or 7 days before or after that, depending on local arrangements.

IELTS Academic IELTS General Training
IELTS Academic measures English Language proficiency needed for an academic, higher learning environment. The tasks and tests are accessible to all test-takers, irrespective of their subject focus. IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and tests reflect both workplace and social situations.
Listening* Listening*
This will take 30 minutes and you will be given 10 minutes to transfer your answer to the answer sheet.
There are four recorded monologues and conversations.
This is a 40-item test.
This will take 30 minutes and you will be given 10 minutes to transfer your answer to the answer sheet.
There are four recorded monologues and conversations.
This is a 40-item test.
Reading Reading
This will take 60 minutes.  No transfer time is given.This is a 40-item test.This test has:

  • three long reading passages with tasks
  • texts range from descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical
  • non-verbal material such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations

authentic texts (e.g. taken from books, journals and newspapers)

This will take 60 minutes.  No transfer time is given.This is a 40-item test.This test has:

  • three reading passages with tasks
  • two or three short factual texts in Section 1
  • two short, work-related factual texts in Section 2
  • one longer text on a topic of general interest in Section 3

authentic texts (e.g. taken from company handbooks, official documents, books and newspapers)

Writing Writing
This test will take 60 minutes.
There are 2 writing tasks to complete.

  • Writing task of at least 150 words where the candidate must summarise, describe or explain a table, graph, chart or diagram.
  • Short essay task of at least 250 words
This test will take 60 minutes.
There are 2 writing tasks to complete.

  • Letter writing task of at least 150 words
  • Short essay task of at least 250 words
Speaking* Speaking*
This test will take between 11 and 14 minutes.
This is a face-to-face interview.
It includes short questions, speaking at length about a familiar topic and a structured discussion.
This test will take between 11 and 14 minutes.
This is a face-to-face interview.
It includes short questions, speaking at length about a familiar topic and a structured discussion.

*Listening and Speaking components are the same for both Academic and General Training versions of the test.