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IELTS

International English Language Testing System

IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

IELTS has two versions –
1. Academic
2. General Training.
The Academic test is for those who want to go for higher study.
The General Training test is for those who want to work or migrate to Canada.
Listening and Speaking tests are the same for both but Reading and Writing tests are different for each group.
IELTS is divided into four parts –
1. Listening (30 minutes)
2. Reading (60 minutes)
3. Writing (60 minutes)
4. Speaking (11–14 minutes)
The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The Listening, Reading and Writing tests have to be completed in one sitting. The Speaking test can be taken on the same day or seven days before or after the other tests.

The IELTS Band Score Scale
9 Expert user
8 Very good user
7 Good user
6 Competent user
5 Modest user
4 Limited user
3 Extremely limited user
2 Intermittent user
1 Non user
0 Did not attempt the test

Assessing Language Proficiency


There are two designated organizations for English language testing:
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS),
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)

  • CELPIP tests may only be taken within Canada, whereas IELTS tests are held in various locations around the world, including Canada
    English language proficiency for immigration purposes is assessed according to the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) system. The CLB system ranks language proficiency separately for speaking, reading, writing, and listening.
    CLB levels range from 1 to 12. Levels 1-4 are considered a ‘basic level of proficiency’; 5-8 are considered ‘intermediate’; and 9-12 are considered ‘advanced’.

    Comparative test scores for IELTS and CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark):

    Part 1 - Listening

    Timing: Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes’ transfer time)
    There are 40 questions based on
    • short-answer questions
    • sentence completion
    • summary completion
    • flow-chart completion
    • table completion
    • note completion
    • form completion
    • plan/map/diagram labeling
    • matching
    • multiple choice

    There are 4 sections

    ● Section 1- two speakers
    Conversation between two people set in an everyday social context
    ● Section 2-one speaker
    Monologue set in an everyday social context
    ● Section 3- group(up to four people)
    Conversation set in an educational or training context
    ● Section 4 – one speaker
    Monologue on an academic subject

    Each section is heard once only
    A variety of voices and native-speaker accents is used

    Skills assessed:
    ● understanding of main ideas and specific factual information
    ● recognizing opinions, attitudes and purpose of a speaker
    ● following the development of an argument

    Marking: Each correct answer receives 1 mark
    Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale
    Scores are reported in whole and half bands

    Part 2- Reading

    Timing: 60 minutes (no extra transfer time)
    There are 40 questions based on:
    ● multiple choice
    ● identifying information (True/False/Not Given)
    ● identifying writer’s views/claims (Yes/No/Not Given)
    ● matching information
    ● matching headings
    ● matching features
    ● matching sentence endings
    ● sentence completion
    ● summary completion
    ● note completion, table completion
    ● flowchart completion
    ● diagram label completion
    ● short-answer questions

    Test Parts: There are 3 sections
    The total text length is 2,150-2,750 words

    Academic Reading
    Each section contains one long text. Texts are taken from books, newspapers or magazines and are on general topics and may contain diagrams, graphs or illustrations. Glossary is provided for any technical terms used in the text.

    General Training Reading
    There are 3 sections.
    Section 1
    Short factual texts related to day to day life
    Section 2
    Two short factual texts related to work
    Section 3
    One long text on a general topic

    Skills assessed:
    ● reading for gist
    ● reading for main ideas
    ● reading for detail
    ● understanding inferences and implied meaning
    ● recognizing a writer’s opinions, attitudes and purpose
    ● following the development of an argument

    Marking: Each correct answer receives 1 mark
    Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale
    Scores are reported in whole and half bands

    Part 3- Writing

    Timing: 60 minutes
    Tasks: There are 2 tasks
    Test Parts: There are 2 parts

    Academic Writing
    Task 1(minimum150 words):
    You have to describe, summarize or explain a graph, table, chart or diagram in your own words.
    Task 2(minimum 250 words):
    You have to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem based on general interest suitable for students.
    You should write in a formal style.

    General Training Writing
    Task 1
    You are presented with a situation and are asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
    Task 2
    You have to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem based on topic of general interest.
    The essay can be more personal than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay.

    Skills assessed:
    ●ability to write a response which is appropriate in terms of content
    ●the organization of ideas
    ●the accuracy and range of vocabulary and grammar

    Academic Writing
    Task 1
    Skills assessed:
    ● ability to organize, present and possibly compare data
    ● to describe the stages of a process or procedure
    ● to describe an object or event or sequence of events
    ● to explain how something works
    Task 2
    Skills assessed:
    ● ability to present a solution to a problem
    ● to present and justify an opinion
    ● to compare and contrast evidence, opinions and implications
    ● to evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument
    General Training Writing
    Task 1
    Skills assessed:
    ● ability to engage in personal correspondence in order to:
    ● elicit and provide general factual information
    ● express needs, wants, likes and dislikes
    ● express opinions (views, complaints etc.)
    Task 2
    Skills assessed:
    ● ability to provide general factual information
    ● to outline a problem and present a solution
    ● to present and possibly justify an opinion
    ● to evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument

    Marking:
    Criteria for assessment are based on:
    1. task achievement/response
    2. coherence and cohesion
    3. lexical resource
    4. grammatical range and accuracy

    Task 2 contributes twice as much as Task 1 to the Writing score

    Scores are reported in whole and half bands

    Part 4- Speaking

    Timing: 11-14 minutes
    The Speaking test is recorded.

    The Speaking test is a 3-part face-to-face oral interview with an examiner.

    Test Parts: There are 3 parts

    Part 1
    Introduction and interview (4-5 minutes)
    The examiner introduces himself and asks you to introduce yourself and confirm your identity. The examiner then asks general questions.

    Part 2
    Individual long turn (3-4 minutes)
    You will be given a task card which will have a particular topic and which includes points to be covered. You will be given 1 minute to prepare and a pencil and paper to make notes. You have to talk for 1-2 minutes on the topic. The examiner will then asks one or two questions on the same topic.

    Part 3
    Two-way discussion (4-5 minutes)
    The examiner asks further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2. These questions give you an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas.

    Skills assessed:
    ● ability to communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences and situations by answering a range of questions
    ● ability to speak at length on a given topic using appropriate language and organizing ideas coherently
    ● ability to express and justify opinions and to analyze, discuss and speculate about issues

    Marking:
    Criteria for assessment are based on:
    ● fluency and coherence
    ● lexical resource
    ● grammatical range and accuracy
    ● pronunciation

    Candidates are assessed on their performance throughout the test by certificated IELTS examiners.

    Scores are reported in whole and half bands

    Click Here for IELTS website: