What to know before you study IELTS

So you have decided to study IELTS. It can be very challenging. It tests your skills across speaking, listening, writing and reading and also your ability to communicate for work, study and life in an English speaking environment.

The first step you should understand when you study IELTS is which qualification you should complete. There are two (2) versions of the IELTS test one is ‘Academic’ or ‘General Training’.

Academic measures your English language proficiency needed for academic and higher learning environment (i.e. university) Academic IELTS is for students who are planning on studying overseas and require a certain level of english knowledge as all western universities and colleges will require you to have these skills prior to enrolling therefore to study IELTS is vital.

General measures your English language proficiency in a practical and every day context. Tasks reflect workplace and social situations

Below I have summarised both test scenarios. You should practice the exams before sitting the final with your course provider. There are many free practise tests online and I have also provided some on this website for you.

Academic Course outline

  1. Listening 30 minutes + 10 minutes to record your answers
    Four (4) pre-recorded monologues and conversations
  2. Reading 60 minutes
    Three (3) long passages with tasks. Text range from descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. Includes non verbal material such as diagrams graphs or illustrations
  3. Writing 60 minutes
    You will write a minimum of 150 words where you must summarise or explain a graph, table or diagram + an additional short essay of 250 words
  4. Speaking 12 – 14 minutes
    Face to Face interview format with short questions where you must answer in length about a familiar topic

 

General Course outline

  1. Listening 30 minutes + 10 minutes to record your answers
    Four (4) pre-recorded monologues and conversations
  2. Reading 60 minutes
    Three reading passages with tasks
    1st Section with up to 3 short factual texts
    2nd Section with two short work related factual texts
    3rd Section with one long text on a general interest subject (texts are authentic and acquired from company documents, newspapers etc)
  3. Writing 60 minutes
    Letter writing of minimum 150 words + short essay of 250 words
  4. Speaking 12 – 14 minutes
    Face to Face interview format with short questions where you must answer in length about a familiar topic

Note: You will take a ‘speaking’ test either on day 1 or later depending on your education arrangement
In the listening test a range of accents either in Australian, New Zealand, American or British is used

If you are thinking to spend a bit of money on some extra resources to help you get through the IELTS, consider buying the Official Cambridge Guide Official Cambridge IELTS Guide</
It covers both General and Academic with some pretty good practise tests. My wife used it and found it very useful. Try to get a second hand copy and save about $10. It’s worth a read and Cambridge is an excellent authority figure for learning and passing IELTS exams.

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