The IELTS exam has four parts. Read our overview of the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills
IELTS reading (60 minutes)
The reading paper includes three long texts on a variety of academic subjects. They are authentic and taken from newspapers, journals, and so on. They may be factual, analytical or opinion-based.
IELTS candidates have to identify key points, important information, understand meaning, recognise the writer’s opinion, and summarise arguments effectively.
IELTS writing (60 minutes)
Candidates are asked to write two texts. The first piece of writing is a report on some data, such as statistical tables or graphs. The second piece is an essay, in which candidates must respond to an opinion or statement about a particular topic.
IELTS candidates will be marked on a range of criteria. These include whether they have answered the question set, used an appropriate style of language, and organised their thoughts clearly. They will also be marked on grammatical accuracy, range of vocabulary, and their ability to connect ideas, sentences, and paragraphs correctly.
IELTS listening (30 minutes)
There are four texts in total. Two of them are set in a social context, and two in a more educational or academic context. The texts may be conversations, discussions or a monologue. There will be a variety of accents used by the different speakers.
IELTS test-takers will need to listen for specific information, understand the main gist, and understand speakers’ opinions and attitudes. There will be a variety of different types of question to answer.
IELTS speaking (11-14 minutes)
This is a face-to-face speaking test with an IELTS examiner. There are three parts to the test. The first is an introductory conversation; in the second, the candidate is given one minute to prepare a short presentation on a topic; in the third, the examiner and the candidate will discuss some questions connected with the topic in part two.
IELTS speaking candidates are marked on their ability to express themselves clearly and accurately, to answer questions appropriately, their range of grammar and vocabulary, their level of ‘naturalness’, and their pronunciation and intonation.
The IELTS speaking test may take place on a different day to the other parts of the IELTS exam.
Retaking IELTS tests
If you did not achieve the IELTS score you required, then you can retake a test as soon as you feel ready to do so. You can take as many tests as you like.
Source: Specialist Languages Courses
Are you looking for support with your IELTS test?
Previous: What is the IELTS exam?
New resources for our nurses and HCAs
New Social Care Partnership
An opportunity to build something new and great