The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a test of English language proficiency, developed by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. Today IELTS is accepted as evidence of a prospective students level of English by most universities in English speaking countries.
There are two different IELTS tests that you can do: Academic and General. But this test is usually taken for university admissions. IELTS is not just a test that you can pass or fail. Your English proficiency skills are reported according to a scale from bands one to nine.
Tests and tasks conducted have been designed keeping in view the general interests of the educated people, so the person taking the test needs not to do any specialist courses. The test contains four parts Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking.
The writing component of the IELTS test
The IELTS writing test takes one hour. During this one hour the candidate has to complete two tasks.
TASK ONE: Task one is a report based on some graphic information provided on the question paper. The graphic information will come in one of five forms. The candidate is required to describe the information in 15 words. Task One should be completed in 20 minutes. It is important that the candidate is familiar with the language to produce a strong report.
TASK TWO: The next task is an essay based on a topic given on the question paper. The candidate should write at least 250 words in 40 minutes.
It is recommended that the candidate should follow the advised time limits as Task Two carries more Band weight than Task One. Remember that unreadable handwriting will cost the final score.
The listening component of the IELTS test
The IELTS listening test takes approximately 30 minutes.
The listening material is recorded on a cassette tape which the candidate will hear only once. The test is divided into four sections in order of increasing difficulty. First two sections are based on general interest such as a report of a bank robbery or a speech from a politician. Section one will be a dialogue and section two will be a monologue.
Sections three and four will have an education focus. There will be a lecture and a discussion between two to four people.
As the candidate listens he should write his answers on the question booklet. At the end of the recorded material he will be given ten minutes to copy his answers onto the fresh answer sheet.
The candidate should be well prepared for the listening test as many people dont feel confident of giving a smooth test.
The reading component of the IELTS test
The IELTS reading test duration is one hour. During this time the candidate has to read three texts of between 500 and 900 words each. The texts and questions increase in difficulty. He has to answer 40 questions within the time limit of 60 minutes. Most students find it difficult to complete the whole paper, so it is important for candidates to be completely prepared for all the tests.
The speaking component of the IELTS test
The IELTS speaking test takes between 11 and 14 minutes and is in the form of an oral interview between the candidate and an examiner.
During the interview the candidate has to answer the questions asked by the interviewer.
The interview consists of:
Some general questions about yourself, your life and your interests
A short talk on a particular topic
A discussion of issues
It is strongly recommended that the candidate should relax and speak as confidently as he can because candidates losing their confidence in this test can affect their band scores.