IELTS Sections

There are four sections in both versions of the IELTS exam and they are reading, writing, listening and speaking –sometimes referred to as structure.

Listening

This will take about 30 minutes and 40 questions need to be answered. There will be a few recorded texts that have to be listened to and they get harder as the IELTS test goes on. There will be various accents and some will be conversations, some will be dialogues. It is only possible to hear them once but there is plenty of time for the candidates to read through the questions and give their answers. This section of the IELTS exam has four sections of its own, with the first two covering social needs and the second two covering training and educational subjects.

Reading

Again there are 40 questions to answer but on this occasion there will be an hour given to answer them. Three of them will be passages that have to be read and then there will be tasks. The IELTS tests will be taken from non-specific items such as no educational books and magazines and it one there will be an argument that is both detailed and logical. Another will have designs in it and this could be a graph or an illustration of some sort. The IELTS exam paper gets harder as it progresses.

Writing

This is another section of the IELTS exam that will take an hour and there are two tasks involved. For the first one there needs to be a report written and this must be 150 words and revolve around information that is outlined in a diagram. This will show the level at which the candidate can describe data and understand what is happening. For the second part of the IELTS exam– and this is the part that will take the most time – there needs to be an essay written and it should be around 250 words long. It should show how they can put an argument together and discuss issues of which they have just become aware. There will be a penalty of the answers are shorter than they should be.

Speaking

This is the shortest of the IELTS exam sections and will take around 14 minutes. There will be a conversation with the examiner and there will be a few short questions asked and they must be answered in English. The topic will be something that is familiar and there should also be an element of conversation between the two. Firstly the candidate will answer questions about themselves and their life, the second part covers the candidate speaking for a couple of minutes on a topic they are shown- there is a short period for them to prepare- and the third part of the IELTS speaking exam is a 5 minute discussion between candidate and examiner.

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