The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a paper based test which is given to demonstrate English language proficiency and is often a requirement for students applying to Universities around the world.
IELTS consists of 4 modules testing the full range of English language skills-Reading, Writing, Listening,and Speaking. The Listening and Speaking sections are the same for both the Academic and General Training modules.The Reading and Writing modules are different in the Academic and General Training modules.
IELTS is jointly administered by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL). Validity of IELTS score is valid for 2 years.
IELTS Test Structure
All candidates must complete four Modules – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking – to obtain a band score, which is shown on the IELTS Test Report Form (TRF). All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules, while the Reading and Writing Modules differ depending on whether the candidate is taking the Academic or General Training Versions of the Test. The first 3 parts are given without breaks, which makes the IELTS the longest test without breaks (160 minutes).
The module comprises four sections of increasing difficulty. It takes 40 minutes: 30 – for testing, plus 10 for transferring the answers to an answer sheet. Each section, which can be either a monologue or dialogue, begins with a short introduction telling the candidates about the situation and the speakers. Then they have some time to look through the questions. The first three sections have a break in the middle allowing candidates to look at the remaining questions. Each section is heard only once. At the end of this section students are given 10 minutes to transfer their answers to an answer sheet. Answers should be grammatically correct including capital letters for countries, streets, names and places.
This module takes 60 minutes .In the academic module the reading test comprises three sections, with 3 texts normally followed by 13 or 14 questions for a total of 40 questions overall. The General test also has 3 sections. However the texts are shorter, so there can be up to 5 texts to read.
This module takes 60 minutes. In the Academic module, there are two tasks: in Task 1 candidates describe a diagram, graph, process or chart, and in Task 2 they respond to an argument. In the General Training module, there are also two tasks: in Task 1 candidates write a letter or explain a situation, and in Task 2 they write an essay.
This module takes around 15 minutes . The speaking test contains three sections. The first section takes the form of an interview during which candidates may be asked about their hobbies, interests, reasons for taking IELTS exam as well as other general topics such as clothing, free time, computers and the internet or family. In the second section candidates are given a topic booklet and then have one minute to prepare after which they must speak about the given topic. The third section involves a discussion between the examiner and the candidate, generally on questions relating to the theme which they have already spoken about in part 2. This last section is more abstract, and, by that, is usually considered the most difficult.
Marking scheme for IELTS
There is no pass or fail system in IELTS test. Candidates are judged on a band scale from 1 to 9 in each module of the test. These bands clearly demarcates a candidate’s ability to use and understand English. IELTS results are valid only for 2 years.
The bands are categorised as hereunder:
Band 9 – Expert User
Band 8 – Very Good User
Band 7 – Good User
Band 6 – Competent User
Band 5 – Modest User
Band 4 – Limited User
Band 3 – Extremely Limited User
Band 2 – Intermittent User
Band 1 – Non User
Band 0 – No original English Used
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