International English Language Testing System is a standardised English proficiency test. It is one of the most conducted and required international tests (if not the most conducted and required) in the world.
Its highest obtainable score (band) ranges between 0 – 9. There is also an aggregate (or overall) score (band), which is derived by adding the modular scores and dividing by 4.
For example, if a test taker has the following scores in an IELTS Test:
Writing Module = 7.5
Reading Module = 7.5
Speaking Module = 8.5
Listening Module = 8.5
Total score = 32
Aggregate score = 32/4 = 8.0
Writing Module (60 minutes)
This comprises Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2. The task 1 is Report Writing by way of summarizing (IELTS Academic), while the Task 1 for IELTS General is Letter Writing (Formal or Informal). Each will last for 20 minutes. The Task 2 is the same for both Academic and General, which is Essay Writing (Opinion, Discussion, Advantages and Disadvantages, Problem and Solution and Double Question). This will last for 40 minutes only.
Reading Module (60 minutes)
This module comprises nine (9) major question types, with a minimum of 5 and maximum of 7 of them tested. These are: Sentence-completion, Summary-completion, Short-answer, Multiple-choice, Diagram-labelling, True/False/Not Given (or Yes/No/Not Given), Matching Headings, Matching Information to Paragraphs and Matching Sentence Endings.
Speaking Module (10 – 14 minutes)
This module covers three (3) parts:
- Part 1 – Personality Test (or Interview) (4 – 5 minutes)
- Part 2 – Guided Monologue Test with Cue (or Task) Card (2 – 4 minutes)
- Part 3 – Discursive Test (4 – 5 minutes)
Listening Module (30 minutes, extra 10 minutes for transfer of answers to the official IELTS answer sheet)
This module presents four (4) sections:
Section 1 (Conversation between two speakers)
This is usually a telephone talk between two people, for example organizing a place on a course, booking a table at a restaurant, renting an apartment, etc.
Section 2 (One speaker)
This is usually a talk from a tour guide. The tour could be about a building (library, monument, etc.), a resort, an organisation, a zoological garden, a botanical garden, a restaurant, etc.
The two sections above may be referred to as General Sections.
Section 3 (Conversation among three or four speakers)
This is strictly an academic discuss. It could either be two students having an academic talk with a professor or a student making an academic presentation to their other co-students.
Section 4 (One speaker)
This is an academic lecture. Here, a professor or a lecturer delivers a lecture to their students who only listen. In other words, the voice that will be heard is just the professor’s, no other voice is made audible or no other person speaks.
The two sections above may be referred to as Academic Sections.
IELTS Academic Test – this version of the test is written by candidates who intend to go further in their study in Canada, USA, Australia, etc. Its result is widely accepted in Canada, the United States of America and other selected 1st World countries.
IELTS General Test – this version of the test is written by candidates who intend to migrate to Canada for the purpose of living and working there (Permanent Residence).
The test is conducted every three (3) or four (4) weekends of every month of the year.
The Speaking Module test is usually conducted first, and then the other modules (i. e. Writing, Listening and Reading) follow thereafter.