Category: Introduction to IELTS

IELTS Speaking: Introduction

The speaking module of IELTS consists of three parts.

Part 1: Interview

Time: 4-5 mins.

The examiner will ask you a series of questions about everyday topics such as work, study, hobbies, home, family or lifestyle.

To answer the questions, you only need to provide the information asked for and perhaps add a supporting detail or two. You do NOT need to give lengthy answers and you do NOT need to use difficult academic words.

Example:

Q: Where do you like to go in your free time?

A: Well, I often go to the library because I like to read English books but I can’t afford to buy many of my own.

Part 2:  Individual long-turn

Time: 3-4 minutes.

In this part of the IELTS speaking module, you will be shown some written instructions for an individual speaking task. You will have one minute to think about your answer, making notes if you prefer to do so. You will then be asked to speak for one to two minutes.

The question usually concerns a past or regular event in your life, or a goal for the future. You should pay careful attention to the verb tenses used in the question and use matching tenses in your answer.

Example:

Describe a person who has had an important influence on your life.

You should say:

Who the person is

How you first met this person

What you think of this person

And explain in what way they have influenced your life.

The examiner will not speak during this time so you must concentrate on speaking by yourself. The examiner will stop you if you continue speaking for more than two minutes.

At the end of IELTS Speaking Part 2, the examiner will ask you one or two brief questions before continuing on to Part 3.

Part 3: Discussion

Time: 5-6 mins

In this part, the examiner will ask for your opinion on a range of issues related to the topic in part 2. This time, however, there is no preparation time so you must begin speaking immediately. You should aim to say as much as possible. Give more than one reason, or compare and contrast different views. The longer your answers, the fewer questions you will need to answer.

Example:

Q: Do you think celebrities have too much influence on young people?

A: Definitely, yes. I think it’s because the media has become such a major part of our lives. When my parents where growing up, for example, there were only three TV channels and no internet, but nowadays young people are almost constantly exposed to news and entertainment. It’s not surprising that they tend to pay more attention to who’s on TV rather than their own families.

IELTS candidates often feel that Part 3 places them under enormous pressure. However, it is not a test of your knowledge or intellect – you only need to be able to present an opinion in a style of language appropriate to academic discussion. It doesn’t matter if your opinion is unoriginal or flawed, as long as you attempt to support it!

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IELTS Writing: Introduction (Academic Module)

The Academic Writing module of IELTS consists of two tasks.

Task 1: Describe a diagram

Time: 20 mins. Words: 150

In this task, you are shown a diagram or set of data and you have to write a short report identifying the main features and making comparisons where relevant.

Example:

The chart below shows Internet use at Redwood Secondary School, by sex, from 1995 to 2002.

Write a report for a university professor on the main features of the chart and make comparisons where relevant.

Other examples of IELTS Writing Task 1: A table showing accident statistics; A line graph comparing sales at four companies; Two maps showing a town’s development over 30 years; Several diagrams showing different models of bicycle.

Task 2: Discursive essay

Time: 40 mins. Words: 250

In this task, you have to write about your opinion on a particular issue, or about both sides of an argument. The question will make it clear which approach you should take.

Example:

It is widely believed that people’s ability to learn new things decreases with age and that companies should actively recruit younger employees who have greater potential to learn.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Other topics covered in IELTS Writing Task 2 may include: education, health, technology, work, or the media. Sensitive topics such as politics or religion are avoided.

You do NOT need any special knowledge of these issues, only the ability to present ideas in a logical format with clear links and an appropriate style of language for academic discourse.

Typically, you will write a four- or five-paragraph essay beginning with an introduction and ending with a conclusion.

In IELTS Writing, Task 2 is more important than Task 1, so you should spend more time on Task 2.

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IELTS Reading: Introduction (Academic Module)

The Academic reading module of IELTS consists of three reading passages and 40 questions:

You will have to read approximately 2,500 words in total.

The passages deal with a range of academic subjects: one may be about ancient history, another about astronomy, another about advertising techniques, and so on.

Each passage in IELTS reading is followed by 11 to 15 questions. You can read and answer questions at the same time. The questions could be multiple choice, matching, true/false/not given, sentence completion or summary completion tasks.

The reading module of IELTS lasts one hour. You should be able to skim-read approximately 170 words per minute and spend no more than 15 minutes in total reading the three passages. That will leave you around one minute to attempt each question plus a little extra time for checking.

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IELTS Listening: Introduction

The listening module of IELTS consists of four sections:

Section 1: General conversation

Time: 5 mins approx. Questions: 10

Examples: An interview about student wellbeing; A telephone conversation about buying travel tickets; A student asking about accommodation.

Section 2: General talk

Time: 5 mins approx. Questions: 10

Examples: A radio programme about local history; A short talk about healthy eating; A presentation about student services.

Section 3: Academic conversation

Time: 5 mins approx. Questions: 10

Examples: A discussion between a student and a tutor about an assignment; A seminar discussion about a research project; Two students discussing homework.

Section 4: Academic lecture

Time: 5 mins approx. Questions: 10

Examples: A lecture on the history of photography; A lecture on volcanoes; A lecture on animal behaviour. (You do NOT need any knowledge of these topics to answer the questions.)

After listening

You then have 10 minutes to transfer your 40 answers from the question paper to the answer sheet.

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