What is IELTS, and what is the purpose of this exam test?

“International English Language Testing System” is what IELTS stands for.

This test checks the English skills of people who don’t speak English as their first language.

In this post, we’ll talk about how the IELTS test is set up, what skills it tests, and how the scores are used.

Once you know everything about the meaning and purpose of the IELTS Exam test.

You’ll find answers to the most common questions about the IELTS, so you’ll know how to take the test and do well on it.

What is The IELTS Test for? (IELTS Meaning)

In the English-speaking world, the IELTS is used for studying, getting a job, and moving to a new country.

Compared to other Cambridge English exams, the IELTS is a much better way to get into a university or move to another country.

Most of the time, Cambridge exams like the PET, FCE, and BULATS are only used to get jobs at private companies, not to get medical licenses, skilled migrant visas, or to get into degree programs.

What Kind of Questions are Asked on The IELTS Exam?

The main purpose of the IELTS exam test is to interview you on audio tracks, passages, and essays.

The IELTS test seems to have four parts at first glance: IELTS Listening, IELTS Reading, IELTS Writing, and IELTS Speaking.

These four parts are on the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training versions of the test.

If you want to know, “What is the IELTS test like?” We’ll look at how these four parts are put together in more detail below.

However, the IELTS tests four ways to use English.

  • There are tests for “literacy,” which means reading and writing in English.
  • The IELTS also tests your ability to speak and listen in English, which is called “conversational English.”

The IELTS uses different kinds of questions and tasks to test your English skills. You will have to answer multiple-choice questions in different ways.

There are also short answer questions where you have to write in the right word or phrase.

And there are tasks where you will talk to a native or almost-native English speaker and write essays or letters in English.

The IELTS is not just a language test because there are so many different kinds of questions.

It’s also a test of how well you do on tests.

When someone says, “How’s your English?” One common way to answer is to talk about what you did well and what you did poorly on the IELTS test.

In other words, look at how you did on your IELTS practice test and figure out what you did well and what you could do better.

Why? Because every person who speaks a language has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses.

1. IELTS Listening Test Format

During this 40-minute test, you will be asked to show that you can understand native English speakers.

This is a good way to test your listening skills.

Each recording is a different type of speech: everyday conversation, everyday monologues (like information), training/classroom conversations, and formal monologues like course lectures.

IELTS Listening Test Content:

There are 40 questions that go with each recording. They may be:

  • multiple choice
  • sentence completion
  • matching
  • plan/map/diagram labelling
  • form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion

Skills Tested

How does IELTS test you on your listening skills?

Listening to the IELTS Academic and General Training tests is the same.

So it makes sense that this part of the test includes both “academic skills” and “life skills.” You’ll need to be able to understand business, school, and personal conversations and monologues.

2. IELTS Reading Test Format

In the reading section, you also have to answer 40 questions correctly, but this time you’ll show how well you understand what you’ve read.

What kind of things are on the IELTS reading test?

The two versions of the test have different types of texts and lengths of passages, but both have the same types of questions, such as:

  • multiple choice
  • matching
  • sentence completion
  • summary/note/table/flow-chart completion
  • diagram label completion
  • short-answer questions

How is the IELTS Academic Reading test different from the General Training Reading test?

What is covered in IELTS Academic Reading?

If you are taking the academic version, you will read three passages. After each passage, there will be different kinds of questions.

So, what is IELTS General Training Reading like?

The General Training reading test is made up of three parts.

The first one has several short texts, the second has two texts that are a little bit longer, and the third has one long text.

Questions will be different, of course.

Skills Tested

Most of the IELTS Academic test is based on how well you understand academic and educational passages.

The skills in General Training are more of a mix.

IELTS General Training also tests how well you can read for school.

But GT Reading also tests “life reading,” which is the ability to read things like shopping and travel ads and work documents.

3. IELTS Writing Test Format

How is the writing part of the IELTS test set up?

Depending on which version of the test you take, the writing part is also different. In either case, you will have 60 minutes to finish two writing tasks.

  • How is the IELTS Academic Writing test different from the General Training Writing test?

How does the IELTS Academic writing test work?

In this version, you’ll need to show that you can write at least 150 words in 20 minutes about some visual information and that you can develop your ideas in an essay about a given topic (no less than 250 words in 40 minutes).

Both should show that you can write in an academic or semi-formal tone in English.

What is the IELTS General Training writing test like?

The first writing task asks you to do something you know how to do, like write a letter in response to a scenario.

You’ll have 20 minutes to come up with about 150 words.

The second task is to write an essay that must be at least 250 words long.

You will be told exactly what to talk about, and you will have 40 minutes to do that.

Skills Tested

Again, IELTS Academic Writing is all about, well, academic writing.

IELTS Academic Writing checks your ability to write a short academic essay based on sources (the source is the graph or table).

IELTS Academic also checks how well you can write an opinion essay in an academic style.

This skill of being able to write an opinion essay is also on the IELTS GT. But the GT also tests your writing skills as a life skill by having you write a letter to a friend or coworker.

4. IELTS Speaking Test Format

The Speaking test is only 11–15 minutes long and is made up of three parts:

Part One:

Part One is a general introduction. During this part, you will be asked questions about your life and asked to talk about them.

Part Two:

In Part Two, you have to talk about a subject for a long time. This is called “the long turn.”

What are the topics and structure of the Speaking long turn on the IELTS test?

You are given the subject in writing. You will be able to write down and use notes to organize your ideas before you speak.

Part Three:

Part Three is a discussion. The examiner will ask you a few questions so that you can all look into the same topic in a bit more depth or in a broader way.

Skills Tested

Most of the time, the IELTS Speaking test is about life skills. The interview is mostly about talking about personal things.

This is the kind of conversation you’ll have with a lot of different people if you work or go to school in a country where English is spoken.

But there is also an educational part to this.

In Part 2, the “long turn” is like a short speech you might give in a college communications class.

How are IELTS Academic and General Training Different?

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training have different goals, so the IELTS meaning of each test may be different.

This is true for more than just the skills that these tests measure.

Different things are also done with the scores from these two versions of the IELTS.

Similarities Between the IELTS Academic and The IELTS General Training

The two forms of the IELTS are more similar than they are dissimilar in terms of content and structure.

Each one follows a similar structure at its most basic level.

IELTS has four sections: a Listening and Reading portion with 40 questions and 60 minutes, a Writing session with two activities, and an interview for the IELTS Speaking test.

In addition, the Listening and Speaking assessments in Academic and GT are identical, as you can see above.

Is there any resemblance between the two exams?

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are around 70 percent comparable if you want to put it that way.

70 percent of the material will be the same on both tests, in other words.

Academic and General Training versions of the IELTS have identical Listening and Speaking portions and similar Writing sections; Task 2 is the same on both.

IELTS Academic Reading and IELTS General Training Reading share a third of their content.

In IELTS Academic, there are three sections of similar length; in General Training, there is just one.

What is The Best Way to Prepare for the IELTS Exam Test?

You should now know the answer to the question “What is IELTS?” Now is the time to study!

As you start to study for the IELTS, it’s helpful to know a few other things about it besides what it’s for.

Here are some answers to questions that people often ask about the IELTS.

Why is The IELTS Exam Required?

IELTS is a test of English language skills that people from other countries must take if they want to study or work in a country where English is the main language.

Most universities in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada accept IELTS.

Schools and businesses make you take the IELTS exam so they can make sure you know the basics of English before you meet them.

How Do I Sign up for The IELTS Exam?

You can sign up and pay online, or you can download an application form to fill out, print, and bring to the test center near you.

Don’t forget to give a copy of a valid document that proves who you are.

On the day of the test, you will also need to show the same form of ID.

To take the IELTS, you must find an IELTS test center near you and sign up for the test.

To find out more about the registry, you need to use the search engine as a search 
“IELTS exam center close to me”

Learn how to Get Band 7+ on IELTS Writing (Academic) with Skillshare for Free in 30 Days!

How Much Does the IELTS Exam Cost? What Does it Cost to Take the IELTS?

This is such an important question for many test-takers who are worried about their money.

This has something to do with IELTS in a financial way, doesn’t it?

However, the IELTS exam costs between $150 and $300 USD.

How much it costs to sign up for the IELTS depends on where the IELTS test center is.

Prices vary from country to country.

And each organization that gives the IELTS exam has its own costs.

Who offers the IELTS Exam?

What is the availability of the IELTS test in terms of the companies that offer it? Officially, the IELTS is supported by Cambridge, the British Council, and IDP Education.

The British Council and IDP are two of the three official sponsors of IELTS. The British Council and IDP offer IELTS tests at test centers they run.

The IELTS is also run by many other international and local organizations, like AMIDEAST and the Anglo Mexican Foundation.

Use IELTS.org’s “Find a Test Location” search engine to find out who near you gives the IELTS.

Where can the IELTS Test be taken?

You might ask, “What is IELTS test availability?” There are more than 140 countries where you can take the IELTS.

Again, you should use the IELTS’s “Find a Test Location” service to find the exact location within a country or city.

When is the right time to take the IELTS Exam?

So, I think you should take the IELTS test at least 5–6 months before the date you want to take the exam.

To learn enough to pass the IELTS Academic, General Training, or Life Skills tests.

Also, when you feel like you’re ready to take the test. Fill in the date of your exam two weeks before.

What should the IELTS exam Schedule look like?

When you schedule your IELTS, you should think about things like application deadlines, study schedules, possible retakes, available test dates, and so on.

How Does The IELTS Test Work? Is There a Paper Test for The IELTS Exam?

Even though taking the IELTS on a computer is becoming more common, most people still take the test on paper.

So let’s talk about how your written answers will work if you are one of the many students taking the traditional paper test.

  • For IELTS Reading: you will write your answers right into the test booklet.
  • For IELTS Listening: you’ll write down your answers as you listen.

When you’re done, you’ll write your answers on an answer sheet. In IELTS Writing, you will finally write your essays by hand.

This tells us something important about what the paper-based IELTS is for: This version of the IELTS doesn’t test how well you can use computers.

But it does test how well you write.

Be sure to learn how to write well.

And for people who aren’t sure how to write English letters by hand, the IELTS has a sort of “cheat.”

You can write short answers in all capital letters on the IELTS Reading and Listening tests.

Capitalization rules in IELTS Writing, on the other hand, must follow standard English rules, so this shortcut only works for Reading and Listening.

What are Some Other Options To The IELTS Exam?

Most English-language programs at universities that accept IELTS Academic will also accept other English tests.

The TOEFL is often offered as an alternative way to get into college.

But there may also be other choices.

If you want to try out different ways to test, you can ask your school if they accept any tests other than the IELTS.

In the United States, the TOEFL is also used by government agencies to give skilled migrant visas and licenses to people who work in health care.

Since the IELTS Academic exam is more like the TOEFL than the IELTS General Training exam, it is sometimes used to test the English skills of foreign workers in the United States.

Some medical professionals outside of the US use the TOEFL instead of the IELTS.

If you want to know more about TOEFL vs. IELTS for medical jobs, you can talk to immigration offices or employment agencies.

For General Training, there may also be other ways to test.

Australia will let people in if they pass either the TOEFL or the IELTS. Other Commonwealth countries do not use the TOEFL to let people in.

But they may have tested similar to the IELTS in their own countries.

For example, Canadian Immigration takes scores from the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program into account (CELPIP).

Difference Between the IELTS and the TOEFL Exam?

The biggest difference between the IELTS and the TOEFL is that most people take the TOEFL on a computer, while most people take the IELTS on paper.

(But in some parts of the world, you can take the TOEFL PBT, which is a paper-based test.)

There are many more differences as well.

For example, there is only an academic version of the TOEFL. There is no general training version.

Also, the TOEFL Reading and Listening sections have fewer types of questions.

And in the TOEFL Speaking section, students have to read passages, listen to audio, and record short speeches.

On the other hand, the Speaking part of the IELTS is an interview with a real person.

Remember that the first part of TOEFL Writing Task 1 is very different from the first part of Academic or General Training IELTS Writing Task 1.

You will often be asked to choose between the IELTS and the TOEFL.

So you need to think carefully about the differences.

How should I study for the IELTS Exam?

Preparing well for the IELTS is critical. Through the links below, you can find great ways to prepare.

What is a Good Score on The IELTS Exam?

It all depends. Every group that uses IELTS scores makes its own rules.

Because of this, there are a lot of good IELTS scores.

Do you have a good enough score? All of that depends on who will use your IELTS scores and what they will be used for.

For a full guide on how to get good IELTS scores and what they mean, visit