IELTS is an acroym for International English Language Testing System. It is conducted to check the proficiency of the Non- English speaking country students who intend to pursue their studies in the Universities and Colleges of English speaking countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, USA to name a few. The test essentially examines four skills of a student in English language. These are Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. There are two variants of IELTS; one related to Academic purpose and another for General purpose. Academic IELTS is for the candidates who desire to pursue study abroad, whereas, General IELTS is for the candidates who wants to immigrate overseas.
There are following four sections in IELTS Exam:
The Writing test in IELTS is a 60 minute test, both in Academic IELTS and General IELTS. But the nature of questions is different in both the modules. The Writing section of Academic IELTS is comprising of two tasks. The Task 1 has to be attempted in 20 minutes of the time given and in 150 words. It is based on the information presented in diagrammatic or graphic form. The Task 2 of the writing section checks the ability of a candidate to assess and produce a clear and logical argument on a topic. It has to be attempted in 40 minutes. The candidates appearing for the writing section of General IELTS have to attempt two tasks; one of which would be a letter writing. It has to be formatted in 150 words and in 20 minutes of the total timing. The Task 2 would be essay writing,encapsulated in 250 words and must be finished in 40 minutes .
The Reading section of both Academic IELTS and General IELTS is different. Both are a 60 minute test. The difference in the Academic IELTS and General IELTS is in the content of the passages. The Reading for Academic IELTS consists of advanced passages picked up from academic sources. They are generally of undergraduate or a graduate level. Academics IELTS reading comprises of three passages. These passages contains questions like fill in the blanks, giving headings to the paragraphs, true-false and so on. General Reading also has three passages. Passage 1 contains questions on factual texts. These texts are relevant to daily life in an English speaking country. Passage 2 is based on work-related issues such as company policies, training, workplace environment and so on. Passage 3 is mostly the most complex and is of general interest. All these passages are taken from books, magazines, newspapers, company handbooks and notices.
The Listening section is designed to assess a candidate's ability to understand Spoken English skills. It is same for ther both the Academic IELTS and General IELTS. This section comprises of pre-recorded tapes. It has four sections, each with 10 questions. The Listening section in total has 40 questions.
The Speaking section is an interview that assess a candidate's skills at speaking Ebglish language. The Speaking module is of eleven to fourteen minutes. It is a one-to-one interaction between the examier and candidate. The interview of the candidate is recorded to make sure that the band scores are consistent in all IELTS examination centres.
The tests are designed to cover the full range of ability from non- user to expert user on a scale from 0 (non-user) to 9 (expert user).