In this article we’re going to be talking all about the IELTS General, including:

  • The structure of the exam
  • Sample exam questions
  • Preparing for the IELTS using GlobalExam

If you’re looking for detailed information on the IELTS exam, stay right here!

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The format of the IELTS

The British Council offers two versions of the IELTS: the IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Training. Both tests assess a person’s language skills across reading, writing, speaking, listening, however the IELTS Academic is designed for prospective university students.

The Listening and Speaking tests are the same across both versions of the IELTS, however the content of the Reading and Writing sections is different depending on the version you choose to take.

You should select the version of the test you take depending on how you intend to use your test score, however, it’s important to note that the IELTS General is the most widely accepted version of the test.

IELTS General test structure

The structure of the IELTS General is as follows:

  • The listening test (30 minutes): you must answer 40 questions relating to four recordings, including two conversations and two monologues on both informal subjects and work-related or academic subjects.
  • The reading test (60 minutes): you will be asked to read three texts then answer comprehension questions. The passages will be descriptive, factual, and analytical.
  • The writing test (60 minutes): for the first task you will be required to write a short text in a personal or informal manner, such as a letter. In the second task, you must write an essay response to an argument or problem.
  • The speaking test (11-14 minutes): you will be expected to respond to basic questions about yourself and your background, before discussing with the examiner a topic as prompted by a task card. Towards the end of the test, there will be the opportunity to discuss the topic on a more conceptual level.

The first three parts of the test take place together in one sitting, whereas the speaking section is typically held separately on the same day or a few days later, depending on the center.

IELTS General test structure

How the test is scored

The IELTS does not offer a pass or fail, but rather a score that falls into one of the following nine bands:

9Expert
8Very good
7Good
6Competent
5Modest
4Limited
3Extremely limited
2Intermittent
1Non user
0No attempt

Your test certificate will include a specific score in each communication skill, as well as an overall score.

It is possible to receive a half mark between bands for a skill. Such scores are rounded up or down to the nearest 0.5, so a score of 6.25 would be rounded up to 6.5, whereas a score of 7.1 would be rounded down to 7.

Examples of test questions

Practicing for the IELTS General online with sample test questions will allow you to familiarize yourself with the format in advance. We’ve listed a few IELTS General example questions here for starters.

IELTS General example: Listening

You may be asked to fill in a form or chart based on a recording of a conversation between two people confirming a registration. In this case, you would be asked to note down the following types of information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Additional details, such as price or date

IELTS General example: Reading

If you were given a factual passage advising employees on how to complete a training program at work, you could be presented with a list of statements about the test and asked to state if it is True, False, or Not Given.

 IELTGeneral example: Listening

IELTS General example: Writing

For the short writing task, you will be prompted to write a letter addressing a specific subject, like the example given below. You will be required to write at least 150 words.

IELTS General example: Writing

IELTS General example: Speaking

As the Speaking test develops, you will be expected to engage in an extended discussion on a more hypothetical or conceptual topic, like the example below.

IELTS General example: Speaking

Practicing for the IELTS General online with GlobalExam

Whether you’re preparing for the IELTS Academic or the IELTS General, studying is the key to success, and you can find all the tools you need on GlobalExam’s 100% online learning platform.

We have specific IELTS-orientated study materials, from revisions sheets to mock exams, all carefully designed to help you improve your score. Practicing for the IELTS General online is simple, and GlobalExam allows you to adapt your learning plan to your personal strengths and weaknesses.

Choose GlobalExam for your IELTS preparations and see your score soar!

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