All About IELTS

All there is to know about the IELTS test

Reading at a glance

Reading consists of 3 to 5 passages of text and 40 questions in total. The Academic Reading test has 3 longer passages, whereas the General Training Reading test can have 4 or 5 shorter passages. Your job is to read the passages and either answer questions, label diagrams, complete sentences or fill in gaps. For every type of task there are instructions and an example. Passages are taken from books, newspapers, magazines and the topics are very diverse, from scuba diving to space exploration. Passages progress in difficulty, with the first being the easiest and the last being the hardest.

Good news is that you don’t really have to read the whole passage, thanks to a technique I will refer to later. Not so good news is that there is no additional time to copy your answers to the Answer Sheet and you need to squeeze it in the 60 minutes that you have in total for the Reading test. Please, don’t forget to do it – I witnessed someone who did, and it was not a pretty sight. The poor guy was crying, he received a score 0 for the whole Reading test. Here too you may write in pencil only, no pens are allowed.

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Listening at a glance

The Listening test consists of 4 sections. There are 40 questions in total. You need to answer all the questions as you listen to the recording. The recording is not paused at any time and you hear it only once. The questions get more difficult as you progress through the test.

Are you scared yet? Don’t be! Listening is a skill, not a gift – read here what you can do to improve it. During the Listening test you will hear many distractions, and here is a technique how to deal with them. There are also clues to answers and you should be able to recognize them in the recording, read more about it here. And whatever you do, don’t leave anything for later as there is no later in the IELTS Listening test.

Remember, it is important that you spell correctly all of your Listening answers, not just the words they spell for you on the recording. Also, make sure that your answers are readable and understandable, when you copy them to the Answer Sheet. You may write in pencil only.

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