All about IELTS

Hero Image

IELTS, the Cambridge International English Language Testing System, is an examination that assesses the English language level of those who have studied English as second or foreign language.

If you’re preparing to take the IELTS exam our short preparation guides can help you attain the score you need.

IELTS Academic or General training

IELTS Academic is suitable for those planning to study at university at undergraduate or postgraduate level or join a professional organisation in an English-speaking country.

IELTS General training is for those planning to  train or study at below degree level, work in an English-speaking country or emigrate to an English-speaking country.

The IELTS test assesses your abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking and the exam lasts for a little under 3 hours.

IELTS listening test

The listening test takes about 30 minutes to complete, there are 40 questions which can be chosen from: multiple choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labeling, form completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, summary completion, sentence completion, short-answer questions.

The test assess your ability to understand ideas and factual information, recognise the opinions, attitudes and purpose of a speaker and follow the development of an argument.

IELTS reading test

The IELTS reading test takes approximately 60 minutes and assess your reading skills for grasping main ideas and detail, understanding inferences and implied meaning recognising a writer’s opinions, attitudes and purpose.

There are two separate reading tests, one for academic and one for general training. The academic test uses long texts from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. The general training test uses contains two or three short factual texts on topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country.

IELTS writing test

The IELTS writing test also takes 60 minutes and again is split between academic and general IELTS test.

The academic test contains two tests, in the first you will be asked to presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and are asked to describe, summarise or explain the information.

You may also be asked to describe and explain data, how something works or describe an object or event. For the second task you will be asked to write an essay in response to an argument or problem.

For the first task in the general training test you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation you have been presented with.  For task 2, you will write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem.

IELTS speaking test

The speaking test is a two part exam, takes between 11 and 14 minutes, candidates interviewed individually and the test is recorded. In the first part of the IELTS speaking test the examiner will ask some simple questions to find out a little about you and help put you at ease. These will be general questions such as about your family, your studies, where you come from or what your interests.

The second part of the IELTS speaking test lasts between 3 and 4 minutes (including 1 minute preparation time). You will be given a task card and asked to speak about the task, without interruption, for between 1 and 2 minutes.

Part 3 of the test lasts between 3 to 4 minutes and you will be asked questions linked to the topic in the previous task.

Preparing for the IELTS exam

At IH London we run regular IELTS preparation courses to help you prepare for and get the level you need.

Our IELTS preparation courses are made up of intensive lessons focusing on the academic skills - reading, listening, speaking and writing English - needed to pass the IELTS test.

Many of our IELTS teachers are also examiners so you get the best advice to help you get the scores you need.

Our IELTS classes have an average of 10 students per class. We keep class sizes small to ensure you receive plenty of personal support from our specialist teaching staff.

You can book a place on our IELTS preparation course online, once you have booked a place you will be provided with the entrance test once you have booked your course.

4 Comments

March 18, 2016 05:20

The course is appropriate both for learners seeking to enter an English-speaking university, school or college, as well as for people who may need to provide an IELTS score for the purposes of employment or immigration to an English-speaking country.

View all comments by marissaryan

March 11, 2016 09:00

very useful for your career course

View all comments by marissaryan

Marianna Hernandez Gonzalez

Marianna Hernandez Gonzalez

November 4, 2014 12:00

So very useful, thank you so much!

View all comments by Marianna Hernandez Gonzalez

September 30, 2014 10:53

Great! Extremely helpful!!

View all comments by IELTS Exam in London

Comment