The IELTS exam pattern consists of four sections: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The IELTS is conducted by the IDP and the British Council, and there are two types of IELTS, the IELTS General Training Exam and The IELTS Academic. The total duration of the IELTS exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

The reading, listening, and writing section of the IELTS exam is conducted on the same day whereas the IELTS speaking section can be conducted in the afternoon of the same day or later in the week.

Continue reading this article to know more about the IELTS exam format and IELTS preparation in detail.

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What is the Minimum Passing Marks for IELTS Exam?

There is as such no cut – off marks for the IELTS exam. Each university has a different IELTS requirement for admission. The IELTS Test Report is issued for everyone with a score between the range of 1 to 9. If the applicant is not able to appear in the IELTS exam then a band score of 0 will be issued as the result.

The pattern of the IELTS exam is different for both the IELTS general training test and the IELTS Academic exam since they are focussed on two different sets of individuals. The IELTS writing task is different for both the IELTS Academic Exam and the IELTS General Training test.

IELTS Exam Pattern Explained in Detail

Each section contributed equally towards the overall score of the IELTS test, and each section weighs 25% to the overall score.

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IELTS Academic Reading

The IELTS Academic reading consists of 40 questions and is focussed to test a wide range of reading skills. These questions include reading questions for gist, main ideas, reading questions for details, skimming through the articles, understanding the logical argument and also recognising writers opinions, purposes and attitudes.

The academic test includes three long essays which range from factual to discursive and analytical. These texts are taken from journals, newspapers, magazines, and books. They have been selected for an audience that is non – specialist but are focussed on people entering university or enrolling for different courses or are seeking professional registration. The test is one hour long.

The questions asked in the IELTS Academic Reading are described below in detail.

MCQ

The candidates have to choose the correct option out of the four choices. These tests will assess a variety of year reading skills including understanding specific points or the main points of the test. The number of questions might vary.

Identifying Information

These questions will assess the candidate’s availability to recognise particular points of information conveyed in the passage. These questions are used more with factual texts. The number of these questions might vary.

Matching Information

These questions assess the candidate’s ability to match information and scan specific information. These questions try to match specific information. There is no fixed number of questions of these types.

Sentence Completion

Candidates need to match sentence endings and these questions assess their ability to locate specific information. There is no fixed number of questions of these types.

IELTS General Training Reading

The IELTS Academic reading consists of 40 questions and is focussed to test a wide range of reading skills. These questions include reading questions for gist, main ideas, reading questions for details, skimming through the articles, understanding the logical argument and also recognising writers opinions, purposes and attitudes.

The academic test includes three long essays which range from factual to discursive and analytical. These texts are taken from journals, newspapers, magazines, and books. These questions are focussed on the situations you will face daily in an English speaking environment. The questions asked in the IELTS General Training Reading are described below in detail:

MCQ

The candidates have to choose the correct option out of the four choices. These tests will assess a variety of year reading skills including understanding specific points or the main points of the test. The number of questions might vary.

Identifying Information

These questions will assess the candidate’s availability to recognise particular points of information conveyed in the passage. These questions are used more with factual texts. The number of these questions might vary.

Matching Information

These questions assess the candidate’s ability to match information and scan specific information. These questions try to match specific information. There is no fixed number of questions of these types.

Sentence Completion

Candidates need to match sentence endings and these questions assess their ability to locate specific information. There is no fixed number of questions of these types.

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IELTS Speaking Test

The speaking section of the IELTS lasts for 11 – 14 minutes, and it assesses your use of spoken English. Every section of the test is recorded. The section is divided into three parts. In the first part, the examiner will ask the candidates some general questions about themselves on a range of familiar topics, such as home, interests, family, work, and studies. This part lasts between four to five minutes.

In the second part of the section, the aspirant will be given a cue card that asks about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare on the topic before speaking for two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions about the same topic.

In the third part, the examiner will ask you some questions about the topic assigned in the second part. This section will allow you to discuss some issues and abstract ideas with the examiner. This part lasts for up to five minutes.

The questions asked in the IELTS Speaking section are described below in detail.

Part 1

This part of the speaking section focuses on the ability to communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences and situations by answering a range of questions.

Part 2

This part of the speaking section focuses on the candidate’s ability to speak at length on a given topic, using appropriate language and they need to organise ideas coherently. The candidates will have to draw from their own experience while answering questions in this part.

Part 3

This part of the speaking section focuses on the candidate’s ability to express and justify opinions and to analyse, discuss and speculate about various issues.

How are Candidates Marked in the Speaking Section?

Candidates are marked based on their fluency, coherence, lexical resource, grammatical accuracy, range, and pronunciation.

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IELTS Listening Test

The listening test goes on for 30 minutes. The candidate will listen to four recordings and they will have to answer a series of questions after that. The types of recordings asked are mentioned below –

  • Recording 1 – A monologue set in an everyday social context, such as a speech about local facilities.
  • Recording 2 – A conversation between two to four people set in an educational or training context, such as a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment or a project.
  • Recording 3 – A conversation between two people set in an everyday context.
  • Recording 4 – A monologue on an academic subject, such as a lecture at the university.

The questions asked in the IELTS listening section are described below in detail.

MCQ

The candidates have to choose the correct option out of the four choices. These tests will assess a variety of year reading skills including understanding specific points or the main points of the test. The number of questions might vary.

Identifying Information

These questions will assess the candidate’s availability to recognise particular points of information conveyed in the passage. These questions are used more with factual texts. The number of these questions might vary.

Matching Information

These questions assess the candidate’s ability to match information and scan specific information. These questions try to match specific information. There is no fixed number of questions of these types.

Sentence Completion

Candidates need to match sentence endings and these questions assess their ability to locate specific information. There is no fixed number of questions of these types.

IELTS Writing Test

The listening test goes on for one hour. The test contains topics of general interest and which are suitable for students enrolling in the university for undergraduate or postgraduate studies. The section will contain two tasks or questions which are mentioned below –

Task 1: The candidate will be presented with a table, chart, graph or diagram. They will be asked to describe or summarize the task in their own words. You will need to describe and explain data, and how something works.

Task 2: In this task, the test taker will be asked to write an essay as a response to a point of view, problem, or argument. The response should be formal in style.

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Conclusion

This article might have given you a clear idea about the latest pattern of the IELTS exam. You can read this article thoroughly to understand the kind of questions to expect in each section of the IELTS exam. To read more such articles visit the IELTS Ninja website.