what is IELTS exam


what is IELTS exam
what is IELTS exam?

IELTS exam (The International English Language Testing System) is an exam to assess the language abilities of people who want to study or work in countries where English is a means of communication.

It is an International exam held under the control of:

  1. The British Council,
  2. IDP,
  3. IELTS Australia and
  4. The University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL).

To assess the IELTS exam score, a 9-point scale is used (a score in IELTS is called a band).

In this article, IELTS Game will tell what is IELTS exam? and why you should take IELTS.

Also, you will know the differences between General IELTS and Academic IELTS and what is the IELTS exam components for better IELTS preparation.

Main Features And Benefits Of The IELTS Exam.

Why Should I Take IELTS exam?

As the IELTS is a worldwide test indicates that you can speak English fluently and able to communicate with others in English easily, so:

  1. It will increase your career success and boost your rank among your workmates, as many global organizations do not employ foreign staffs [who speak English as a second language] except with valid IELTS certificate.
  2. It will give you a great opportunity to study in top Universities in different countries around the world.
  3. It will increase your chances to migrate to English-speaking countries e.g. (Canada & Australia).

Read in details: 4 Reasons Why Do You Need To Take IELTS Exam?

General IELTS & Academic IELTS

a. Which IELTS test type should I take?

IELTS test can be of two types: Academic Module (Academic) and General Training Module (General).

IELTS test you should take depends on the reason why you take IELTS:

1) General IELTS is used for:

  1. Immigration to English-speaking countries (e.g. Australia, Canada, New Zeeland, and the U.S.).
  2. Train or study at below degree level.

2) Academic IELTS is used for:

  1. Applying to scholarships programs provided by Universities all over the world (Bachelor’s or Postgraduate degree).
  2. Taking permission to settle and join professional organizations in English-speaking countries.
  3. Seeking a professional registration in the UK as Medicine – Engineering – etc.
Differences between General IELTS and Academic IELTS
Differences between General IELTS and Academic IELTS

b. Differences between Academic and General Modules in the test format:

For both, Academic IELTS and General IELTS, Listening and Speaking sections are the same.
The difference is in the Reading and Writing sections:

  1. Applying to scholarships programs provided by Universities all over the world (Bachelor’s or Postgraduate degree).
  2. Taking permission to settle and join professional organizations in English-speaking countries.
  3. Seeking a professional registration in the UK as Medicine – Engineering – etc.
  • In General IELTS:

    Reading and Writing sections are related to everyday English used in life and work.

  • In Academic IELTS:

    Reading and Writing sections are more related to academic English.

See the next section “Structure of the IELTS test” for more details.

c. Notes

  1. You should revise the organization or the University requirements to know which IELTS test you should take and what score you should get.
  2. Some organizations accept both Academic and General Modules.
  3. In addition, you should plan to migrate or work within the next two years from the date of your IELTS exam result, as the validity of the IELTS certificate is 2 years only.

d. Summary

IELTS Academic (Academic module) is usually required for admission to the university or for employment in an English-speaking country.

This format of the exam is considered more complicated.

IELTS General Training (Common module) is handed over to those who plan to immigrate to countries such as Australia, Canada or New Zealand.

The general module is also suitable for secondary education and internships abroad.

IELTS Certificate Validity.

IELTS certificate is valid for 2 years only from the date of your IELTS exam result.

After that, your IELTS certificate will expire and you should take the exam again.

– If you are planning to migrate to Canada, you should know that it is mandatory to take your IELTS exam within one year of submitting your application.

You can book IELTS exam today, know the exam dates and get your IELTS certificate from the British Council in your country.

Structure Of The IELTS Test.

Components of IELTS test

What is the IELTS exam components?

IELTS test will assess your English fluency in four skills:


The duration of the IELTS test is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.

The exam includes 4 sections that check the corresponding language skills: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

In this case, the Speaking and Listening sections coincide in both Academic and General, and Reading and Writing are different.

Usually, sections Listening, Reading and Writing are given in one day without breaks, and Speaking is held before or after other parts.

But sometimes all four parts of the exam can be taken in one day.

IELTS Test component
Description (at a glance)
40 minutes
4 sections, 40 questions
60 minutes
3 sections, 40 questions
12-15 minutes
3 parts, speak with an examiner
60 minutes
2 tasks

The Listening section lasts 30 minutes and is divided into 4 parts, in which you will hear 4 different audio recordings in English. Each part of the Listening is played only once.

Therefore, during the listening process, you simultaneously read questions (40 questions – 10 questions in each section) and respond in writing to them in a draft.

During the test, the questions gradually become more complicated. After the end of the recording, an additional 10 minutes are provided for entering the answers in the examination sheet.

Read also: IELTS Listening: How to listen, read and write at the same time?

Part 1 & 2

You will hear discussions on general social topics:

  • The first part is a dialogue.
  • The second is a monologue.
Part 3 & 4

The situations arising in the context of training are considered:

  • The third part is a dialogue, for example, between a student and a professor.
  • The fourth part is a monologue, for example, a lecture at a university.

When assessing the test, experts will check your ability to understand the basic ideas and specific details from what you hear.

As well as the ability to recognize the speaker’s opinion and attitude to the subject of discussion, the purpose of the utterance and the ability to follow the development of thought.

In this section, you will deal with different types of questions as: multiple choices, mapping, charts, maps, tables, etc.

To perform tasks in the Reading section, it will take 60 minutes.

During this time, the participants of the exam need to answer 40 questions of various types that test your ability to understand the text read and extract the necessary information from it.

Reading in Academic IELTS

Reading section in Academic module includes three long texts of different content (from descriptive to actual and from discourse to analytical).

Texts can be taken from books, newspapers, and magazines, and they are not aimed at professionals in any one field of knowledge.

The texts are suitable for anyone who is going to enter the university or get a job.

Reading in General IELTS

Reading section in General module consists of 3 sections:

  1. Section 1 contains 2 or 3 small texts or several shorter texts.
  2. In section 2, there is usually 2 texts,
  3. and in section 3 – one long text.

Text material can include excerpts from books, articles from newspapers and magazines, advertisements, etc.

The content of these texts is simpler, describing phenomena from everyday life in an English-speaking environment.

This section takes 60 minutes, and it includes 2 tasks which are not the same in academic and general modules. Let’s see the differences:

Writing in Academic IELTS
Writing section in Academic module includes assignments on topics of interest to applicants to a university or work in an English-speaking country.
IELTS Academic Writing Task 1

In academic writing task 1, you will be presented with a drawing of a graph, a table, a chart or a diagram that you will need to describe or explain in your own words.

The length of the text is not less than 150 words.

Read also: IELTS Writing Academic: Task 1 analysis with model answer

IELTS Academic Writing Task 2

In academic writing task 2, there is an essay on a given topic with a volume of at least 250 words.

The answers to both tasks should be written in an official style.

Writing in General IELTS
Writing section in General module also includes 2 tasks for general everyday English topics and conversations.
IELTS General Writing Task 1

In general writing task 1, you will be offered a situation on which you will need to write a letter.

Depending on the situation, the letter can be written in an informal or formal style. The volume of the letter is not less than 150 words.

IELTS General Writing Task 2

In general writing task 2, you need to write an essay on a given topic (250 words), which can be written in a personal unofficial style.

The Speaking section takes an average of 11-14 minutes and consists of 3 parts.
This section assesses your ability to speak English. Each answer is recorded.

IELTS Speaking part 1

In part 1 of the Speaking, the examiner will ask general questions on topics such as family, home, work, study, hobby, etc.

This part lasts 4-5 minutes.

IELTS Speaking part 2

In Speaking part 2,  you will be given a card (cue card) on which a topic for discussion will be written.

You will have 1 minute to prepare an answer, after which you need to continuously speak on this topic for about 2 minutes.

At the end of your answer, the examiner can ask a few questions about this topic.

Read Also: 

IELTS Speaking part 3

In part 3, you will be asked a few more questions on the topic of part 2, but more abstract and global in nature.

This part lasts about 4-5 minutes.

Now, you knew what is the IELTS exam, and what is the IELTS exam sections and you can start IELTS preparation.

In IELTS Game website, we provide you all the recent IELTS materials, books, and tips to pass the test and score band 7 – 8.

Start to practice and answer previous IELTS mock tests online for free through Cambridge IELTS books to know your level and to be familiar with the IELTS exam.

3 Comments on “WHAT IS IELTS EXAM?”

    1. Hello, Efkan Yilmaz, you can review all the information in this post on the official website for IELTS which is ielts.org.

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