There are two versions of the IELTS: the IELTS Academic test and the IELTS General Training test. The Academic IELTS evaluates college readiness.
The Academic IELTS Test is mainly applied to international students who wish to apply for a student visa in English-speaking countries such as the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, etc. However, some stricter universities require all students with training in a language other than English to take the IELTS, even if they have permanent residence or citizenship in the country where they want to study.
The Reading Section - IELTS Tips for reading
The Reading exam lasts one hour and consists of 40 questions. The Academic IELTS contains three passages. Even though they are written at a college or university level, the passages do not require in-depth subject matter knowledge. Time management is a key skill for the Academic Reading exam. It can be challenging to read each passage and answer all of the questions in time. The General Training Reading section contains three (or sometimes four) passages. The first focuses on a very basic topic from daily life—information about public transportation, a community notice, etc. The second section contains two short informative passages that are typically related to school, work, or community topics. The third (and possibly fourth) passage is a longer essay or article.
The Listening Section - IELTS Tips for Listening
The Academic and General Training IELTS have the same Listening exam. It contains four passages, each with 10 questions (40 questions total). During the first 30 minutes, test-takers listen to the passages and mark answers in their test booklets as they listen. Each recording is played only one time. The first two passages are usually about topics from daily life, while the last two are more academically oriented. The language gets increasingly challenging from the first recording to the last.
The Speaking Section - IELTS Tips for Speaking
The IELTS Speaking exam is an in-person interview. It can be scheduled on the same day as the paper exam, or up to one week before or after the paper exam. Check with your local exam center to see when Speaking exam appointments are available for you.
The interview takes 11–14 minutes and contains three sections. In the first section, the interviewer asks very basic questions about general topics: family, hobbies, travel, interests, etc. The second section is a prepared monologue. Test takers have a minute to plan an answer to several prompts related to a specific topic or question. In the third segment of the test, the question and answer format resume. However, this time the questions are more abstract, requiring complex language and vocabulary from you. The questions will relate in some way to the topic of the monologue in the previous section.
The Writing Section - IELTS Tips for Writing
The IELTS Writing exam involves writing two short passages in one hour. Task 1, which is worth ⅓ of the
score, must be at least 150 words long. Task 2 is worth ⅔ of the score and must be at least 250 words long.