The International English Language Testing System, commonly known as IELTS, is one of the most widely accepted English language tests in the world, and the one most trusted by UK universities. There are two versions of the IELTS test: Academic – for studying abroad, and General Training – mainly for immigration purposes.

The IELTS Academic Test accurately assesses the English language ability of individuals wishing to study overseas. Any student applying to a British university will need to prove their English fluency through a test such as IELTS.

In total, the test lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes. There are four sections – Listening (30 minutes), Reading (60 minutes), Writing (60 minutes) and Speaking (11–14 minutes).
Listening
The Listening Test is divided into four parts, with a total of 40 questions. It takes 30 minutes.
In this thirty-minute section you will hear a range of different conversations or monologues.
The speakers may have accents from many different parts of the world.
Generally, sections will increase in difficulty as you progress through the test.
Finally, you will have ten minutes at the end of the test to complete the answer sheet provided.

Speaking
The Speaking Test is divided into three parts, and takes between 11 and 14 minutes.
Part 1 – the examiner will ask a series of questions to find out about the student's background and help the student to relax. Questions are based on familiar topics such as work or study, free time, or food to name but a few.
In part two the student will have to give a short speech. A topic is given to the student, who then has 1 minute to think and make notes, before talking for 1 to 2 minutes on that topic.
Part 3 of the test will follow this, and questions here will be directly related to the topic spoken about in part 2. Therefore, if you were asked to describe your best friend in part two, your questions in part three would be based on friendship.
Questions are designed to lead to discussion and you may be asked to assess the importance of friends in comparison to family. Questions in part three become increasingly difficult in order to determine the student's linguistic level.

Reading
The Reading Test is available in two different formats: the Academic Test or the General Training Test. It takes 60 minutes.
Lasting an hour, the reading section consists of three sections of increasing difficulty.
The test is designed to evaluate students’ reading skills, including logic, comprehension and vocabulary.

Writing
The Writing Test comprises two parts: Task 1 and Task 2. It takes 60 minutes.
There are two sections in the written part of the exam, and in total you have an hour to complete them.
In the first part you are required to produce a descriptive piece of around one hundred and fifty words which is based on a graph or diagram. You should spend about twenty minutes on this section.
You should spend the remaining forty minutes on the second section, in which you are required to produce a two hundred and fifty word piece of discursive writing, creating an argument around a specific topic.
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