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What is the difference between IELTS and other English examinations I have taken in the past?

IELTS is a four-skills English language test, but the content and format of the questions vary from test to test. The best way to get a high score is not to study blindly, but to prepare well in advance by understanding the unique content and format of the IELTS exam.

Are the questions in IELTS on paper different from IELTS on computer?

No, they are not. The test content, test time, question types, face-to-face speaking test, scoring criteria, and transcript are the same regardless of which method you choose. You can choose the method that best suits your needs.

What is the order of the tests?

  • IELTS on Paper: Writing, Reading, Listening (Evening: Speaking test)

  • IELTS on Computer: Listening, Reading, Writing, Reading (Morning, Afternoon, or Evening: Speaking test)

Listening (about 30 minutes)

  • The questions are the same for both Academic and General Training.

  • It is divided into four parts. The audio will be played only once and will feature a variety of conversations between characters and in various native-speaker accents.

Part 1: Conversations between two people in everyday life (e.g. booking accommodation).

Part 2: Monologues from everyday life (e.g. describing local facilities, explaining meal arrangements for a conference).

Part 3: Conversations between up to four people in an educational or training setting (e.g. a university professor and students discussing an assignment, a group planning a project).

Part 4: A monologue on an academic topic (e.g. a university lecture).

Speaking (approximately 11-14 minutes)

  • The questions are the same for Academic and General Training.

  • You will meet the examiner one-on-one in a private room.

  • The Speaking test consists of three parts.

Part 1: Self-Introduction and Interview (4-5 minutes)

The examiner will introduce himself/herself, check your passport, and verify your identity. The examiner will ask general questions about familiar topics (family, work, research, interests, etc.).

Part 2: Speech (3-4 minutes)

The examiner will give you a task card and one minute to prepare. The task card will have a specific topic and points that you can cover in your speech. You will be given a pencil and paper so that you can take notes. After the preparation time is over, you will have one or two minutes to talk about the theme. The examiner will then ask you one or two questions.

Part 3: Discussion (4-5 minutes)

The examiner will ask questions related to the topic in Part 2. The examiner will ask questions related to the topics in Part 2. Candidates will be given the opportunity to discuss general issues and opinions.

Reading (60 minutes)

▶ Academic

Divided into three sections, each section contains one long passage.

All texts in the reading test are excerpts from actual books, magazines, and newspapers. The topics are not intended for experts, but for the general public who do not have specialized knowledge. The topics are not intended for professionals but for the general public who do not have specialized knowledge, and because of the wide range of academic topics, no specialized knowledge is required to score well. The Reading test passages are also suitable for candidates who are going to college or graduate school or who wish to work.

Reading test passages can range from descriptive and factual to inferential and analytical. Texts may include non-verbal elements such as tables, graphs, and illustrations. If the text contains technical terms, they will be briefly annotated.

▶ General Training

Section 1: This section consists of two or three short factual passages. One of these will be a mixture of several sentences (e.g. a hotel advertisement will consist of 6-8 short sentences related to the theme). The theme is related to everyday life in an English-speaking country.

Section 2: This section has two short passages focusing on job-related topics (e.g. application, company policies, wages and working conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training).

Section 3: This section has a relatively long and complex passage on a general topic.

All sections are excerpts from real-life postings, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines, newspapers, etc.

Question Types:

  • Multiple-choice

  • Identifying Information

  • Selecting headlines

  • Matching information and content

  • Completing chapters, summaries, etc.

Writing (60 minutes)

This test is divided into two parts, Task 1 and Task 2.

▶ Academic

Your answers to Task 1 and Task 2 should be written in an academic, semi-formal, and neutral style.

Task 1: You will be presented with graphs, tables, and figures and asked to summarize and explain the information in your own words. You will be asked to select and compare data, explain a process, describe an object, or explain how something works.

Task 2: You will be asked to write an essay on an opinion, issue, or problem. The issues are general current events that can be easily understood by candidates who wish to enter undergraduate or graduate school or register for a profession.

▶ General Training

The General Training Writing test includes two tasks that are based on topics of general interest.

Task 1: You will be asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining a situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal, or formal in style.

Task 2: You will be asked to write an essay in response to an opinion, argument, or problem. The essay will be more personal and less formal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2.

Sample Test

To familiarize yourself with the IELTS question format, we recommend that you take a practice test. Some sample questions are provided here so that you can check them out before the actual test.

IELTS Support Tools

The IELTS support tools will help you understand the test format, how long each part takes, how to answer the questions, and advice on how to prepare.

Practice Tools

Once you know the question format, it's time to practice, especially Writing, Reading, and Speaking parts as they might be difficult to learn on your own. You can practice and submit your answers to get feedback that will help you improve your score.

Take the official IELTS practice test

You can take a computer-based mock test "IELTS Progress Check" at home. For about one-fifth of the price of the real test, you can take a full practice test with all four skills and receive feedback with an estimated band score within five business days.