A comprehensive IELTS preparation strategy starts with an understanding of the test format, how it is marked, based on which a study plan may be devised to achieve your desired score. All of this also involves exercises that help to improve your English, practicing your test skills, and joining a preparation course to check your progress before you register for the IELTS test. Let's start the preparation with a step-by-step explanation of the IELTS test format.

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IELTS Test Format

There are 2 IELTS tests available, namely, IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Both tests are graded in exactly the same way. Candidates are required to take the first 3 parts of the test on the same day, in the following order:

  1. Listening
  2. Reading
  3. Writing

There are no breaks between these tests. The Speaking test is held either on the same day or 7 days before or after that, depending on local arrangements.

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IELTS Listening Test

The IELTS Listening test is designed to assess a wide range of listening skills, including how well the candidate:

  • Understands main ideas and specific factual information
  • Recognizes the opinions, attitudes, and purpose of a speaker
  • Follows the development of an argument.
IELTS Test in India
Know the 4 modules of IELTS to maximize scoring chances. | Image source: Smart Talk

Format

Candidates will listen to 4 recordings of native English speakers and then write their answers to a series of questions.

  1. Recording 1: A conversation between 2 people set in an everyday social context
  2. Recording 2: A monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities
  3. Recording 3: A conversation between up to 4 people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.
  4. Recording 4: A monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture

Timing

The IELTS Listening test takes approximately 30 minutes. Candidates are allowed an extra 10 minutes to transfer their answers from the question booklet to the answer sheet.

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Number of Questions

40 questions

Task Types

A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following:

  1. Multiple choice
  2. Matching
  3. Plan/map/diagram labelling
  4. Form/note/table/flow chart/summary completion
  5. Sentence completion

Marks

Each correct answer receives 1 mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

IELTS Reading Test

The IELTS Reading test is designed to assess a wide range of reading skills, including how well the candidates:

  • Read for the general sense of a passage
  • Read for the main ideas
  • Read for detail
  • Understand inferences and implied meaning
  • Recognize a writer’s opinions, attitudes, and purpose
  • Follow the development of an argument

Candidates are required to read quickly and efficiently and manage their time. Candidates are asked to read 3 different passages and respond to related questions in the IELTS Reading test. The content of the Reading test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests.

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Academic Reading

  • Format: 3 long texts which range from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical. These are taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. They have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.
  • Timing: 60 minutes including the transfer time
  • Number of Questions: 40 questions
  • Task Types: Fill gaps in a passage of written text or in a table, match headings to written text to diagrams or charts, complete sentences, give short answers to open questions, answer multiple-choice questions
  • Marks: Each correct answer receives 1 mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.
IELTS exam India
Understand what to expect in each section of your IELTS exam. Image source: India Education

General Training Reading

  • Format: Extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks, and guidelines. These are materials that candidates are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.
  • Timing: 60 minutes including the transfer time
  • Number of Questions: 40 questions
  • Task Types: Fill gaps in a passage of written text or in a table, match headings to written text to diagrams or charts, complete sentences, give short answers to open questions, answer multiple-choice questions
  • Marks: Each correct answer receives one mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

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IELTS Writing Test

The IELTS Writing test is designed to assess a wide range of writing skills, including how well the candidates:

  • Write a response appropriately
  • Organize ideas
  • Use a range of vocabulary and grammar accurately

Academic Writing

  • Format: Write in a formal style in the IELTS Academic Writing test. Task 1 has a graph, table, chart, or diagram. The candidate will be asked to describe, summarize, or explain the information in their own words. This might involve describing and explaining data, describing the stages of a process or how something works, or describing an object or event. In Task 2, the candidate has to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. Usually, the issues are interesting and easy to understand.
  • Timing: The IELTS Writing test takes 60 minutes. Spend 20 minutes on Task 1, and 40 minutes on Task 2.
  • Number of Questions: 2 questions
  • Task Types: Two tasks: Task 1 and Task 2. The candidate has to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2.
  • Marks: The IELTS Writing test is marked by a certificated IELTS examiner. Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1 in the IELTS Writing test. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

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General Training Writing

  • Format: The topics used in the IELTS General Training Writing test are of general interest. Task 1 presents a situation and the candidate is asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. You can write the letter in a personal, semi-formal, or formal style. Task 2 requires you to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem. A personal style of writing may be used for Task 2.
  • Timing: The IELTS Writing test takes 60 minutes. Spend 20 minutes on Task 1, and 40 minutes on Task 2.
  • Number of Questions: 2 questions
  • Task Types: Two tasks: Task 1 and Task 2. The candidate has to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2.
  • Marks: The IELTS Writing test will be marked by a certificated IELTS examiner. Task 2 is worth twice as much as Task 1 in the IELTS Writing test. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.

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IELTS Speaking Test

In this test, candidates will be talking to a certified examiner. The test is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get. A variety of accents may be used. The test will be recorded.

Make sure that you relax and talk fluently. You will need to speak naturally.

The content of the IELTS Speaking test is the same for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests. The IELTS Speaking test is designed to assess a wide range of skills, including how well the candidates:

  • Communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences
  • Speak at length on a given topic using appropriate language
  • Organize their ideas coherently
  • Express and justify their opinions
  • Analyze, discuss, and speculate about issues

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IELTS Official Practice Test

Training with an expert increases your chances of how to get a band 9 score in IELTS. Moreover, there are many practice tests and mock tests available online that help candidates know where they stand in their preparation. Take an IELTS writing practice test or a speaking practice test.

Before you take your IELTS test, sign up for an official IELTS practice test. The IELTS Progress Check is an official IELTS online marked practice test that is designed to give you an indication of your band score and provide feedback on areas to improve.

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IELTS Practice Tests
Download and use the official IELTS practice materials for authentic preparations. | Image source: ELTBooks

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A leading light in the world of IELTS and overseas education training in Pune, MOEC has close tie-ups with the world's leading universities. This makes it even more appealing to aspiring students, who are welcome to seek counselling from MOEC experts and take advantage of world-class IELTS coaching faculties.

Check out these preparation tips for the IELTS test in Lucknow.

What's on Offer?

  • Receive an objective evaluation of English language skills.
  • Receive globally recognized certification.
  • Receive a test record that is recognized and approved by thousands of organizations worldwide, including employers, universities, professional bodies, and government agencies if you take an IELTS test.

Study Smart

Study Smart is an overseas education consulting firm that offers personalized counselling to students who wish to study abroad. The institute offers its expertise in profiling students and counselling them as they try to identify career-oriented & industry-integrated courses abroad. Moreover, Study Smart Overseas Education is the official representative for over 300 top universities in the most sought-after academic destinations like the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Germany, US, Singapore & Malaysia.

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Online IELTS Training

Study Smart trainers provide live interactive classes via Zoom. The online classroom portal is a one-stop solution for IELTS aspirants who seek interactive lessons, study tips, study materials, recorded classes, mock tests. The trainers at Study Smart are Cambridge- and British Council-certified, with years of teaching experience, providing one-on-one mentoring to students.

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Shreyanjana

Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.