IELTS Academic / General

IELTS Academic / General

Wishing to pursue higher education in Australia, planning to migrate to Canada for work or desiring to apply for a job when on a working holiday visa in London, there could be many reasons that you are planning to take the IELTS exam.

International English Language Testing System(IELTS), designed and conducted by the Educational Testing Service(ETS) assess the English language proficiency of candidates. Once, you have decided to take the exam it becomes important to understand the IELTS test format. If you are familiar with how IELTS testing works, you will be at an advantage and would be able to prepare well. Also, to have a better understanding of the format and to get guidance on the exam preparation you can search for “IELTS classes near me to get the best results. You can find many centers for IELTS coaching in Delhi if you are here.

Here is everything you may want to know about the IELTS test format.

The IELTS test has 4 sections: Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking.

  • The total duration of the IELTS test is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  • The listening, reading and writing parts of the test can be taken on the same day while you can take up to 1 week or more for speaking sections.
  • The test is scored on a score of 0 to 9.
  • You can check the results online after 13 days of appearing for the test.
  • The IELTS test has two test formats

1. IELTS Academic

2. IELTS General

Listening and speaking sections are the same for IELTS Academic and IELTS General test.

Both the test are described in detail below:

IELTS Academic

You should take the IELTS Academic test if you are a student and want to pursue higher studies in UK, Australia, Newzealand or Canada or if you want to join any organization as engineering, medical or nursing professional.

The test is divided into 4 parts:

  1. Reading: It consists of 3 passages usually taken from authentic sources like books, magazines, journals, and newspapers. The candidate has to attempt 40 questions in total within 60 minutes. Each question is worth 1 mark.
  2. Writing: The writing part of the test comprises of 2 tasks of general interest. The test takers are advised to complete both the tasks within 60 minutes. Task 1 would require to describe some visual information( graph/ table/ charts/ diagram) in their own words in 150 words in about 20 minutes. Task 2 would need to respond to a point of view or argument in the form of an essay of 250 words within 40 minutes.
  3. Speaking: The speaking section assesses the candidate’s use of spoken English. Every answer is recorded. The test can last anywhere between 11-14 minutes and consists of 3 parts.
  • Part 1: You will be asked some general questions about yourself, your work, family, and interests. It would take between 4-5 minutes for task completion.
  • Part 2: You will be given a particular topic to talk about for up to 2 minutes. You will be given a preparation time of 1 minute before you start speaking. The examiner may ask one or two questions on the same topic after you are done with speaking.
  • Part 3: In this part, you will be asked a few more questions on the topic related to part 2. This part of the task would take between 4 and 5 minutes to complete.
  1. Listening: The listening section lasts for 30 minutes and will examine your ability to understand the main ideas and attitudes of speakers. You will be required to listen to four recordings of native speakers and then write your answers to a few questions. There are four sections(recordings) with 10 questions each.
  • Recording 1: A conversation between 2 native speakers set in an everyday social context.
  • Recording 2: A monologue set in an everyday social context.
  • Recording 3: A conversation between up to 4 four people in an educational or training setting.
  • Recording 4: A monologue in an academic context.

IELTS General

IELTS General test is for those who are planning to go to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training program. It assesses your English proficiency in an everyday context. IELTS General has a slight difference in the Reading and writing sections whereas the listening and speaking sections remain the same.

Reading: This section requires the test taker to attempt 40 questions in 60 minutes. It includes 3 sections:

  • Section 1: It contains questions based on two or three short texts in a social context.
  • Section 2: Questions in the context of 2 short passages based on workplace setting.
  • Section 3: It involves answering questions after reading a long passage with a more complex structure.


  Writing: There are two tasks in this section which are to be completed in 60 minutes.

  • Task 1: It involves letter writing based on a particular situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in at least 150 words.
  • Task 2: It requires to write an essay in response to a point of view or an argument.

Reading and Writing sections of the IELTS Academic are of a higher level than those of IELTS General. This is the only difference between the two formats. So, you need to decide according to your needs for better preparation.

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