Moving overseas for a long haul? Know the IELTS structure before you pack your bags!

While you can travel and explore most of the English speaking countries, you need to clear IELTS to stay in the foreign land for long term. The internationally standardised test of English language for the non-native English speakers is known as International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Most of the candidates feel that clearing the test is easy, but it is not. The test is neither easy nor difficult if you start preparing long ago for the same. IELTS is just like any other competitive exam for you, being your ticket to wonderland!

How to clear the exam?
For the starters, you must know the structure of the test you are going to give. IELTS test is categorised under two sections :

  • General Test
  • Academic Test

You know your purpose of moving to a foreign land, right? Appear for the exam on the basis of it. The general test is for the candidates migrating to the foreign land for any ‘xyz’ reason like employment or family purpose whereas the academic test is for those candidates who wish to move for higher studies. However, both the tests have four sections under it.

The four sections under General and Academic test are :
And Speaking

The listening test is same for both the categories, involving four sections with 10 questions each. The candidate will hear a recording and answer those 10 questions based on it.
The four recordings will rank in the order of difficulty with the first being the easiest and the last being the most difficult one. The first recording will be about a conversation between two people in a general social context. The second recording will be a monologue in a social context. The third recording will be slightly difficult in comparison to the former one, being a conversation among four people on an academic topic. And the last one will be a monologue on an academic subject. While answering the questions related to general social topic will be easy, academic topics could be tougher to deal with!

You will be provided with 40 minutes to complete the listening section of your test and it is advised to answer the questions in the question booklet whilst you listen the recordings to note them later in the answer sheet.

You will have full 60 minutes to read and answer the passages you are provided with in your test. There are three subsections of the reading section of your paper, although there are variations in the general and academic test.

While the three sections range on the level of difficulty, you will be provided with one or two passages in each section of the general test and one long passage for each section of the academic test. Completing those 40 questions in 60 minutes will be a struggle for you but you have to pace the clock. Tik tok!

As you sit for your IELTS for 2 hours 40 minutes, you will be provided with another 60 minutes for the writing section. Each candidate will perform two tasks in 20 mins and 40 mins respectively. Your general test will have a letter and an essay write up for the tasks whereas your academic test will ask you to write a summary of the given picture and an essay for the tasks.

The letter could be formal, informal, or semi formal and the picture could be in the form of a bar, graph, or diagram. Write the first task in 150 words and another in 250 words, depending upon the time of both the write-ups.

Your speaking test may or may not be on the same day of the written test. This three-section speaking test could be before, after, or on the same day of the other three tests. Your verbal test is a 10-15 minutes test where you provide your brief introduction of about five minutes to your native English examiner. The examiner will ask a few questions about your family, profession, skills, hobbies, and other introductory details. The second section will be a monologue where you will speak on a given topic for another 2-5 minutes without any interruption whereas the third and the last section will be a discussion between you and the examiner. The discussion will be entirely on the topic of your speech.

The pro-tip to clear the IELTS is to create an idea bank for writing and speaking section and know the directions to attempt the exams before hand. You wouldn’t want to waste time in thinking and reading the things that will not contribute in the answers? Or would you? Because you will not be allowed to be flexible with your time in the test. If you are planning to go abroad for the long run, then you should begin with the preparations for IELTS.

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