IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. IELTS is required for entry to university in the UK and other countries.
What is the IELTS General test like?
The General version of IELTS is easier than the academic version. All candidates do the same Listening and Speaking sections.
The test has four sections:
4 sections, 40 questions, 30 minutes
Section 1: a conversation between two people
Section 2: a monologue set in an everyday social context
Section 3: a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context
Section 4: a monologue on an academic subject (e.g. a university lecture)
Each section is heard once only
An interview, 15 minutes
Part 1 Introduction and interview
Part 2 Individual long turn (you have to talk about a topic)
Part 3 Two-way discussion (The examiner asks further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2.)
3 sections, 40 questions, 60 minutes
Section 1: two or three short factual texts
Section 2: contains two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues
Sectin 3: one longer, more complex text
Part 1: write a letter requesting information or explaining a situation.
Part 2: write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem
Level and scores
Multi-level. You get a score between 1 and 9. Half scores such as 6.5 are possible. Universities often demand an IELTS score of 6 or 7. They may also demand a minimum score in each of the 4 sections.
Please click here to see an explanation of IELTS Band Scores. You can use the IELTS Band Score Calculator on this site to convert your reading and listening raw scores.
Click here to see a comparison of IELTS scores with other exams.