IELTS – beginner’s guide to understanding the IELTS test

What is IELTS? – Beginner’s guide to IELTS test

IELTS – beginner’s guide to understanding the IELTS test is to help you get a good idea of what it is and how does it happen. IELTS – International English Language testing system is a test that is taken mainly for two purposes among others. Mainly to apply for immigration to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries or to study at a university.
IELTS tests are of two types – Academic and General. Academic test is required for higher education while the general test is taken by immigrants.

IELTS Academic test overview
IELTS Academic test overview

Listening section – A question booklet containing the questions is given to the candidates. All answers have to written in this this booklet. At the end of the IELTS listening test, answers can be transferred to the answer sheet.

Reading section – Three separate passages are given, each one could be up to 2 pages. All the three reading passages must be read and relating questions must be answered within one hour. It is important to note that answers can be write on the answer sheet directly.

Writing section – Two writing tasks are given. Task 1 in the academic module is usually a picture, graph, pie, table or a flow chart that shows some data. 150 words should be written in the task 1. Here are more details and beginner’s guide to IELTS writing task one

IELTS General test overview
IELTS General test overview

In the general test, task one is letter writing in 150 words. Both academic and general tests have essay writing in task 2. A 250 word essay is to be written in about 40 words.

Speaking section – It is an interview with an examiner lasting about 15 minutes. It has three parts. Part one could have over 10 questions on familiar or general subjects. In part two a topic is given, the candidate can think about this topic for a minute and then speak for about a minute and a half. Part three consists of follow up questions based on part two.

Listening and reading sections are common to both academic and general tests. Writing and reading are a bit different. Writing in the general test includes writing a letter.

How is the score calculated?

IELTS score is called band. The maximum possible score is a Band 9. Each of the 4 sections get an individual score out of 9. An average of all the 4 sections is taken to arrive at a overall score.

calculating IELTS overall band score.
calculating IELTS overall band score.

Find out how individual band score is calculated. How many answers need to be correct to get a particular band?

How do they get the writing score?

The key factors that are taken into account while calculating the writing score are

IELTS writing score calculation
IELTS writing score calculation

How is the speaking score calculated?

To calculate the speaking score, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, fluency and coherence are taken into consideration. Each of these components of speaking test are given a band, then it is averaged and rounded off to the nearest 0.5. The speaking test is recorded and examined by examiners.
example calculation
Pronunciation    – 6.0
Grammar            – 5.0
Vocabulary         – 6.0
Fluency and
coherence           – 5.5
overall                 – 6.0

How are the listening and reading scores calculated?

Listening and reading calculations

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