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You need to take the IELTS Exam but are not sure what this official English test is all about? Look no further: we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about this world-renowned exam!

  • In this article, we’re going to outline the IELTS exam for you and answer the most common questions that people ask about IELTS.
  • We’ll take a quick look at the format and what things are on the exam.
  • Also, we’ll go over how to register, times, dates and get the results.
  • We’ll quickly examine the different levels and scoring systems of IELTS, too.

And then we’ll tell you how GlobalExam can prepare you for the IELTS exam as well.

Let’s dive right in!

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What Is The IELTS Exam? Overview And Presentation

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System; it’s a widely recognized and well- regarded English exam that assesses a non-native speaker’s ability to use English in four areas: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

university classroom

Who Is the IELTS Exam Targeted to and Who Should Take It?

Today, more than 10,000 organizations, both public and private, accept IELTS and more than 3 million people take the test each year. It is the most recognized English test in the world, it is very handy to take it to know one’s score.

There are 3 versions of the IELTS test which address people with various needs:

IELTS Academic test is for students who wish to enter higher education institutions abroad. Universities will request to send your IELTS score. If you’re not sure which test to take, it is most definitely this one.

IELTS General Training test  is for people seeking professional registration who want to work abroad to certify their English language skills. Companies will ask you to take this test during the application process.

IELTS Life Skills is for people who need to have their English speaking and listening skills evaluated at the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Levels A1, A2 or B1.

If you plan on attending an English language university, or work for an international firm or immigrate to an English speaking country, then IELTS is a good choice for you.

What Is the IELTS Exam Pattern and How Is It Organized?

There are two main types of IELTS: Academic and General Training.

What skills are being assessed during the exam?

The IELTS exam will assess a candidate’s abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking.

How much time does the exam last?

The exam will end after 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The sections are on the same day, except that the speaking test may be a week before or after the other sections.

What Is The IELTS Format For Both Versions?

The IELTS Listening and Speaking sections are the same for both versions:

Listening Section

IELTS Academic & General Topics
Section Duration
Total Duration
40 questions on 3 different texts in the form of multiple choice questions- Exercise 1 : A conversation between two people in a social situation with comprehension questions.
- Exercise 2 : A monologue set in a social setting e.g. a talk about organising a business meeting.
- Exercise 3 : A conversation between a small group of people in an educational setting e.g. a university tutor and students discussing a homework task.
- Exercise 4 : A monologue about an academic subject such as a university lecture.
Between 1 and 9- 30 minutes to listen
- 10 minutes to write down the answers
40 minutes

Speaking Section

IELTS Academic & General Topics
Section Duration
Total Duration
- Answer questions from a certified examiner and have a guided conversation with them.
- Keep in mind that you are the one being evaluated, therefore you’re going to be talking way more than the examiner.
- You should pay attention to the semi formal or formal tone that you may use.
- You will have a couple of minutes to prepare.
- Part 1 of IELTS Speaking consists of personal semi formal questions about you, home family, work, studies and your interests.
- Part 2 of IELTS Speaking consists of speaking about a given topic.
- Part 3 of IELTS Speaking consists of a longer discussion that is related to the topic of Part 2.
Between 1 and 9- 2 to 3 minutes for the 1st part;
- 4 to 5 minutes for the 2nd part;
- 4 to 7 minutes for the 3rd part.
10-15 minutes

Reading Section

IELTS Academic Topics
IELTS General Topics
Section Duration
Total Duration
40 different questions on 3 different texts in the form of multiple choices3 text extracts taken from books magazines newspapers notices.
– They are descriptive, factual, discursive and analytical.
3 sections including text extracts:
- 1st section: 2 or 3 short factual texts.
- 2nd section: 2 factual texts; professional theme.
- 3rd section: 1 general long text.
Between 1 and 920 minutes for each text60 minutes

Writing Section

IELTS Academic Topics
IELTS General Topics
Section Duration
Total Duration
2 texts of 150 and 250 words each- 1st essay: 150 words summarizing, describing or explaining a graph, table or chart.
- 2nd essay: 250 words on a mandatory topic.
- 1st essay: essay of 150 words taking the form of a letter.
- 2nd essay: 250 words on a mandatory topic.
Between 1 and 9- 20 minutes for the 1st essay (150 words).
- 40 minutes for the 2nd essay (250 words).
60 minutes

Understanding the IELTS Band Scores: Chart and Explanations

The Academic and General Training versions of IELTS use nine bandwidths to describe your score. Below are descriptions:

Bandwidth Ranking of Ability
Expert User
Mastery of English language use.
Very good user
Very good operational command of English with only minor problems.
Good user
Good general command of English despite some errors and misunderstandings.
Competent user
Competent command of English in unfamiliar situations. Good ability with everyday situations.
Modest User
Ability to understand the general meaning of a situation in English although there are numerous misunderstandings.
Limited user
Ability to deal with a few daily situations.
Extremely limited user
A person is only able to deal with very familiar situations.
2 Intermittent user
The person experiences great difficulties communicating and being understood.
Non user
Does not know how to speak English, except for the ability to use a few basic phrases.
Did not sit the exam
The person did not show up for the exam.

How Does the Registration Process for the IELTS Work?

Step one – Go to the registration page and find your nearest IELTS test location. You can follow this link to do so:

Step two – Register for your IELTS test.

You can register online, or it’s possible to download an application form, and submit it to your local exam center. You will need an official government ID. The same ID is needed for identification on your exam day and to pick-up your results.

Step three – Your IELTS test is booked. You should receive notification that your exam has been booked.

man holding multiple books

When and How Will You Receive Your IELTS Test Results?

You will receive a TRF (Test Report Form); you can have it mailed to you if you wish. Your scores will be available as shown below:

Scores are valid for two years. You can take the IELTS exam as many times as you like. The fee is at least 175£, and will vary somewhat, according to your location.

Top Preparation for the IELTS Test Online With GlobalExam

It requires a lot to prepare for IELTS. Time and effort rely on you. GlobalExam can help with the organizing and the materials to become familiar with the IELTS exam’s format and question types. GlobalExam has an excellent platform to prepare with.

What do we have for you?

GlobalExam’s online IELTS exam preparation has the following:

  • Exercises, exercise and more exercises, so you will get the practice you need for IELTS tasks, and question types;
  • Mock exams with timing. It’s a great way to practice for an actual exam;
  • Corrected materials – so you can fix the errors;
  • Progress tracking metrics that show you your progress and how to improve;
  • Feedback to keep you motivated;
  • Multiple study paths; choose a path that suits you;
  • Knowledgeable staff who want to see you excel;
  • Great platform to enhance your IELTS preparation.

Our online IELTS preparation is a premium service. We provide a free version of our IELTS materials, giving you the chance to try things.