IELTS stands for Indian English Language Testing System. It is a globally accepted English proficiency test for students applying for higher studies in foreign universities.

Scoring high marks in IELTS is not a tough job. With proper preparation, strategy and guidance you can easily get a high score in IELTS.

Are you preparing for IELTS 2021? Are you thinking about what to study for the IELTS test? Well, then don’t worry.

In this article, we will discuss in detail about IELTS format and how to prepare for IELTS?

Let’s Understand the IELTS First

IELTS is an international standardised English proficiency test. It is a test for non-native English speakers who want to move to a foreign.

It was established in 1989. It is jointly owned and managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.

Brief Information

Paper mode: Offline or paper-based and online or computer-based.

Format: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

Purpose: Admission for higher studies, permanent residentship visa, or work purpose.

Time allotted: 2 hours 45 minutes

Language: English

Score: 9 to 1 band scale

Fees: 14,000 INR

Official website:


There is no specific eligibility requirement for IELTS. Anyone irrespective of race, caste, colour, gender, nationality, or religion can take the IELTS exams.

Age limit

There is no set age limit by the British council or IDP. But it is a general convention that a candidate should be more than 16 years old.

Educational Qualification

There is no set education requirement for IELTS. Anyone who wishes to apply for higher studies or work in a foreign country can take the IELTS academic and general training test.



# Visit the official website of IELTS.

# Create an account and fill up all your details carefully.

# Find out nearest test centres and register yourself for IELTS exams.

# Pay online fees.


You can apply for IELTS offline by two methods:


# Download the application form.

# Attach a demand draft.

# Mail the form to the following address:

IDP Education India Pvt. Ltd. 61, 2nd Floor, Chimes Building, Sector 44 Gurgaon – 122003, Haryana

Ph: 91-124-4411888. Tel: 91-124-4411888.

# Candidates can also register themselves offline by visiting the local regional office of IELTS.

# Complete the registration by submitting the demand draft in favour of “IDP Education India Private Limited, payable at New Delhi.

Characteristics of the IELTS Exam

# There are two types of IELTS exams: general training and academic IELTS.

General Training: You have to take this type of IELTS if you want to work or immigrate to a foreign country.

Academic: This type of test you have to take if you have to apply for higher studies or professional expertise in a foreign country.

# IELTS consists of: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

Listening, reading and writing are conducted the same. While speaking is conducted one week before or after other tests.

# There are two types of paper modes. Paper-based and computer-based test types.

The paper-based test is conducted offline while the computer-based test is conducted online.

# There are many types of scholarships and education loans are offered to students. They are available on the official website for deserving candidates.

# IELTS is designed to assess the English language skills of the candidates. Candidates are given a total score which is a combination of band scores of all four sections of the test.

Whats the Result Procedure?

# You will receive the result in a week for the online test and 13 days for the offline test. You will receive an email after the results are declared.

Log in to your website to get access to the result.

# IELTS is accepted by more than 10000 organizations across 140 countries. This includes universities, colleges, professional organizations, and schools.

# 140 countries accept IELTS.

Benefits of IELTS


If you want to study abroad then this is the most important benefit of IELTS for you. IELTS test scores are accepted by more than 140 countries such as the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many more. Simply choose the university and country and look for the IELTS requirements.


Do you want to move abroad for work purposes? Well, in this case too IELTS is important. To get a work visa you will need an English proficiency certificate.

Different countries have different IELTS score requirements. Generally, a 6-7 band score will enable you to get a visa in almost any country.


Do you know an English proficiency certificate is a requirement if you want citizenship or permanent residentship in a country? It is considered as a language certificate which ensures that the candidates won’t face any issue in their daily life.

And in this case, IELTS is widely accepted by most immigration authorities.

Recently the UK approved IELTS was launched. It is UKVI, which stands for UK Visa and Immigration application.

Band Score

IELTS grades candidates based on the band score system. It scores candidates between 9 to 0, where 9 stands for the expert user and 0 for absentee.

Let us look into the IELTS scoring system in detail:

Band score

9: Expert User

8: Professional User

7: Better User

6: Good User

5: Competent User

4: Modest User

3: Basic User

2: Beginner

1: Non User

Also Read: How Much Time is Required to Prepare for IELTS? Here’s a Guide for IELTS Test Preparation

Test Format

Generally, there are two types of IELTS tests:-

# General Training

# Academic Test

Listening and Speaking tests are the same, only reading and writing are different.

IELTS test format consists of:

Listening – Reading – Writing – Speaking

The listening, reading and writing section of eyelids are completed on the same day. On the other hand, the speaking section is conducted a week before or after other tests.

The total test time is two hours and 45 minutes.


For the listening session, you will be allotted 30 minutes to solve 40 questions. You will be given four recordings to listen to by native English speakers.

# Recording one will be a conversation between two different people. They will be talking in everyday social contexts. For example, a conversation about travel, etc.

# Recording two will be a monologue set in a social context. For example, a speech about different things.

# Recording third will be a conversation between four people, which is said in an educational or training context.

For example, a conversation between a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment or two in university students having a discussion.

# Part four will be a monologue on an academic subject such as a university lecture.

Each part for recording will have 10 different questions. Pay attention as you can hear the audio-only once, different accents may include British, American, Australian Canadian, etc.

Types of questions asked during the listening session are multiple choice questions, matching questions, summary completion, diagram plan or map label, table form or note or sentence completion, short answers, etc.


The reading section includes 10 questions and the time allotted is 16 minutes. This session is to test the reading ability of the candidates.

This includes understanding the central idea, detailed understanding of factual arguments and understanding the reader writer’s opinion.

IELTS Academic Test

This section includes three long extracts, descriptive factual, discursive, and analytic.

These paragraphs are extracted from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. These topics are all general interest and deal with daily issues such as interest, day to day activities etc.

These are appropriate and accessible for the candidates applying for higher studies in English speaking countries. The text will also contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphics, illustrations and a simple glossary.

IELTS General Reading Test

The General training Reading section is similar to the Academic Reading section. There is only one difference between them. That is the difficulty of the extract given.

There will be three sections rather than four sections.

# In section one, there will be two or three short tests.

# Section two will contain two texts.

# Section three will contain one long text.

These extracts are derived from day to day activities of a person in English speaking country. It may include social survivors, workspace survival.


The writing session tries to assess the candidate’s writing ability. There are two types of IELTS writing:

Academic Writing and General Training Writing.

IELTS Academic Writing

There will be two different tasks.

# In task one, the candidates will be presented with a graph table chart or diagram. And then they will be asked to describe, summarize or give on formation in their own words.

# In task two, they will have to write an essay in response to an argument, problem or point of view.

The candidates will be allotted 60 minutes to write two questions.

Task One

Task one in writing task one candidates will have to describe virtual representation, such as graphs, charts, tables. They will have to write in an informal or neutral style.

And it is important to point out relevant information from the representation.

Ideally, a candidate should not spend more than 20 minutes on this task and has to write at least 150 words.

Task Two 

In this type of question, you will have to write in a semi-formal or neutral style.

You should give answers in discursive consideration of the relevant issues. You should read the task carefully, and then write a response. You should spend no more than 40 minutes on this task, and write at least 250 words.

Both essays should be right in a clear method using connected texts such as bullet points etc.

IELTS General Training Writing

This is similar to IELTS academic writing. The only difference between them is the level of difficulty.

There will be two tasks:

# In task one, the candidates will be presented with a situation. And then they will have to write a letter requesting or explaining the situation.

# In task 2 they will have to write that essay in response to a view argument. This letter may be formal, informal or neutral.

The total time allotted will be 60 minutes, and the number of questions will be two.


The speaking section tries to assess the candidate’s spoken English. There are three parts to this test.

# In part one, the examiner will ask you questions about yourself and your family or daily topics such as family work studies, etc. This part will last from four to five minutes.

# Part two you will be given a card, and then you will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. And then the candidate examiner will ask you one or two questions on the topic.

# Part three in this type of question You will have an opportunity to discuss deeper ideas and issues.

This type of question will last for four to five minutes. This session is an oral interview between the test taker and examiner. The general timing is 11 to 14 minutes.

Also Read: How To Prepare For IELTS in 10 Days: A Super Strategy To Achieve Your Desired Band Score

Best Way to Prepare for IELTS

#1. Practice Questions

To solve test papers, you should try to solve as many test papers as you can. This will help you to get linearized to the test format. Moreover, you will know what kind of questions the examiner is asking.

You should solve the test paper. Similar, as you would do on your exam. This will help you to get an idea of the given time condition, and then make a strategy to manage your time. Afterwards, review your answers and compare them with the answers given to understand your mistakes.

#2. Coaching 

Proper guidance throughout your preparation is important. You can try coaching institutes or opt for online classes.

Their teachers are experts in the field. They know the pattern of IELTS well and even the secrets of success. Moreover coaching institutes will provide you notes, guides, books, lectures, etc. which will benefit you to score higher.

If you want an online class then you can consider this one from IELTS Ninja –Online Coaching for IELTS Preparation

#3. How to Prepare for IELTS at Home without Coaching?

If you are a well-informed person you can also consider self-study. Coaching is great but this doesn’t imply that without it you cannot succeed.

Also Read: IELTS Preparation at Home: How to Prepare for IELTS Exam at Home without Coaching?

#4. Courses

IELTS Ninja is a wonderful website that provides you with expert teachers, course materials and video lectures to help you with your preparation.

List of courses you can apply to:

# CDT Guided Program

# CDT Self-Learning Program

# Bootcamp Program

# Foundation Program

# Foundation Program Tandem

# Extensive Program

# Ultimate Program

# Express Program

# Mission IELTS

# Writing Focus Program

#4. Preparation Tips

# Try to solve as many papers as you can. You can take the help of practice books, previous year papers, test papers, model papers, etc.

Remember practice is the key to success. It will help you identify your weakness and work upon it.

# Understand the IELTS Test format deeply and in detail. This will help you to make a strategy and timetable for your preparation.

# Read every question and procedure carefully and allocate your time smartly.

Also Read: How to prepare for the IELTS in 45 days

#5. How to Prepare for IELTS Listening?

# Improve your listening skills by watching English news, radios, Tv-shows, documents, etc.

# Before each recording they will provide you with a short description and listen to it. Try to identify the speakers, listeners to understand the recording well.

# Stay attentive throughout the recording as you can only hear it once.

# Listen to the recording well and try to remember details for the question section.

# Avoid any kind of spelling or grammar mistakes.

#6. How to Prepare for IELTS Reading?

# Familiarise yourself with the types of questions asked in this section.

# Develop a habit of reading. Try to read as much as you can.

# While reading makes sure to point out hard words and learn the meaning of them.

# Highlight the keywords of the passage while reading.

# Practice different reading tests to get familiar with this session.

Also Read: How to Practice for the IELTS Reading Test? Here’s Some Online IELTS Reading Test Preparation Tips

#7. How to Prepare for IELTS Writing?

# Before you start writing the essay, outline.

# Improve your vocabulary. This will help you to write down your thoughts easily.

# Keep it as simple as you can. Try to present your ideas clearly and cohesively.

# Allocate your time between both sections carefully and smartly.

# Practice writing as much as you can.

#8. How to prepare for IELTS Speaking?

# Be confident during the Interview. They will just ask you about daily life.

# Use simple and known words while speaking.

# While taking breaks use interesting phrases like let me see, that’s a good point, etc.

# Practice speaking on some topics beforehand so that you can have ideas on what to speak.

# Practice speaking English. Try to have a conversation with your friends, family or with yourself in front of a mirror.


IELTS is one of the best tests for getting accepted into a foreign university or getting a visa.

Scoring high in IELTS is not hard, you just need to add some hard work, strategy, patience, dedication in a cauldron and wait for it to simmer into a success potion.

Yes, it is this simple. For more help visit IELTS Ninja, a website where you will find relevant information, courses, and material for your IELTS preparation.

Also Read: How to Prepare for the IELTS Exam? A Guide to Boost Your IELTS Exam Score

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About the Author


Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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