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  Home > TEFL Clinic > Teaching Knowledge > International Examinations

IELTS


IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It measures ability to communicate in English across all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – for people who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication. Over 3800 educational institutions, government agencies and professional organisations across 120 countries around the world recognise IELTS scores as a trusted and valid indicator of ability to communicate in English. IELTS is the way to prove your English language skills and open doors to international opportunities. Whether you want to migrate or to study or practice your profession in an English-speaking country, IELTS is vital in preparing you for your journey. IELTS encourages, reflects and tests English as it is used in work, study and life. This real life authenticity gives you a personal and valid indicator of just how good you are! IELTS is the original four skills English language test. All information contained here is copyrighted and can be found on the IELTS website: www.ielts.org.

The following sections are devoted to giving the potential IELTS teacher an overview of the exam format

Speaking Module Format

IELTS Speaking is a one-to-one interaction between the candidate and an examiner. The three parts give the candidate the opportunity to use a range of different speaking skills. IELTS Speaking is recorded.

Timing: 11 14 minutes

Marks: Candidates are assessed on their performance throughout the test.

PartNature of InteractionTiming
1

Introduction and interview: after introductions and identity check, the examiner asks the candidate questions about familiar topics.

4 5 minutes
2

Long turn: the candidate receives a task card with a topic. S/He then has 1 minute to prepare and make notes before speaking about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes.

3 4 minutes
3

Discussion: the examiner discusses with the candidate more abstract aspects of the topic in Part 2.

4 5 minutes

Listening Module Format

IELTS Listening has four sections, each with 10 items (or questions). Each item is worth one mark. The items are designed so that the answers appear in order in the listening passage. During the test, time is given for candidates to read the questions and write down and check their answers. Answers are written on the Question Paper as candidates listen. When the tape ends, ten minutes are allowed for candidates to transfer their answers onto an Answer Sheet.

The table below provides a summary of IELTS Listening.

SectionTopic AreaInputMain Skill FocusNumber of Questions
1

Social needs

Conversation with a transactional purpose e.g. finding out about travel services

Listening for and noting specific factual information

10
2

Social needs

Monologue or prompted monologue with a transactional purpose e.g. giving information about a public event

Listening for and noting specific factual information

10
3

Education and training

Discussion between 2 4 people in an academic context, e.g. tutorial or seminar

Following a conversation which involves negotiation of meaning. Listening for specific information, attitudes, and speakers' opinions

10
4

Education and training

Monologue in an academic context e.g. lecture

Following an academic argument. Listening for main ideas, specific information, attitude and speaker's opinion

10

Answer format: Candidates write their answers on an answer sheet.

Timing: Approximately 30 minutes plus 10 minutes transfer time.

Marks: Each question carries one mark, giving a total of 40 marks.

Listening texts

The first two sections are concerned with social needs. There is a dialogue between two speakers, for example a conversation about travel arrangements, and then a monologue, for example a recording about museum opening times.

The final two sections are concerned with situations related more closely to educational or training contexts. There is a conversation between up to four people, for example a conversation between a tutor and a student about an assignment, and then a further monologue, for example a lecture of general academic interest.

Task types: A variety of task types is used. The principal task types are:

Task Type 1

Forms/Notes/Table/Flow-chart/Summary Completion

Task Type 2

Multiple Choice

Task Type 3

Short-answer Questions

Task Type 4

Sentence Completion

Task Type 5

Labelling a Diagram/Plan/Map

Task Type 6

Classification

Task Type 7

Matching

Recordings: Each section is played ONCE only. The recordings include a range of accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand and American.

General Training Reading - Module format

IELTS General Training Reading has three sections of increasing difficulty and 40 items (questions).

SectionNumber of ItemsNature of Items
114

2 or 3 short texts or several shorter texts. Texts for the Section 1 are taken from notices, advertisements, timetables, publicity material and similar sources

213

2 texts: the texts vary in topic and text type and are graded with the most difficult appearing in Section 3. Texts for Section 2 are taken from college prospectuses, course summaries, guides to libraries, rules and regulations and similar sources

313

1 long text: Texts for Section 3 are taken from newspapers, magazines or journal articles, fictional or non-fictional book extracts and similar sources.

The texts and items appear in Question Booklets. Candidates record their responses on Answer Sheets.

Answer format: Candidates record their responses on Answer Sheets.

Timing: IELTS General Training Reading takes 60 minutes to complete. Candidates are not given extra time to transfer their answers onto the Answer Sheet.

Marks: One mark is awarded for each correct answer.

Length: The texts have a total word count of approximately 2,400 words.

Task Types: There are 11 basic task types, some with possible variations (see table below).

Task Type 1

Multiple Choice

Task Type 2

Multiple Matching

Task Type 3

Short-answer Questions

Task Type 4

Sentence Completion

Task Type 5

Notes/Table/Diagram/Flow-chart Completion

Task Type 6

Summary Completion

Task Type 7

Choosing Headings for Paragraphs or Sections of a Text

Task Type 8

Locating Information

Task Type 9

Identification of Writer’s Views, Claims or Information in the Text

Task Type 10

Classification

Task Type 11

Matching

Academic Writing - Module format

IELTS Academic Writing lasts a total of 60 minutes. It consists of 2 tasks (Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2) and candidates must answer BOTH tasks.

Answer format : Candidates write their answers in pen or pencil on Answer Sheets provided.

Timing : Students are advised to spend 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2. They must complete both tasks in one hour.

Task 1 : For Writing Task 1 candidates are given some visual information which may be presented in the form of one or more related diagrams, charts, graphs or tables. Candidates are asked to describe the information or data. They must write at least 150 words on this task.

Writing Task 1 is assessed based on the following criteria:
1) Task Achievement
2) Coherence and Cohesion
3) Lexical Resource
4) Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Task 2 : For Writing Task 2, candidates are presented with an opinion, problem or issue which they must discuss. They may be asked to present the solution to a problem, present and justify an opinion, compare and contrast evidence or opinions, or evaluate and challenge an argument or idea. Candidates must write at least 250 words and are advised to spend 40 minutes on this task.

Writing Task 2 is assessed based on the following criteria:
1) Task Response
2) Coherence and Cohesion
3) Lexical Resource
4) Grammatical Range and Accuracy

Each of the tasks is assessed separately by a trained and qualified examiner and given a score. Writing Task 2 is worth more marks than Writing Task 1 so candidates should be sure to leave plenty of time to complete Writing Task 2. There are no half bands in IELTS Academic Writing so all Writing scores are reported in whole bands.







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