Helping you succeed in IELTS

What is IELTS?

What is IELTS?

  • Means the ‘International English Language Testing System’.
  • Used in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Canada
  • For studying or professional working2013-05-27 13.07.36


Your Band/Level

  • Get a score from 1-9. 1 is a beginner and 9 is a native speaker.
  • You can also have a half score e.g. 6.5.
  • You get an overall score as well as what you have achieved in each skill.
  • Universities – 6 undergraduates, 6.5 Masters, 7 PhD
  • Professionals – usually 7. British Medical Board – 7.5 in every skill


What does the exam look like?

The exam is made of the 4 skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking.


Listening – This is about 30minutes of listening in 4 sections. There are 40 questions and 6 different types/styles of questions. This is the same for General IELTS too.Headphones

Section 1 – general English as a dialogue (usually 2 people speaking),

Section 2 – General English as a monologue (usually just hearing 1 person speaking),

Section 3 – Academic English dialogue and

Section 4 – Academic English monologue.

For more detailed information see the official IELTS site or for free tips and hints on how to pass.



Reading – This is made of 3 different passages that can be on any topic. There are 40 questions to be completed in 60 minutes, which could be any of 11 different types of questions that test different skills of English.

The General IELTS exam is slightly different using  2 adverts or shorter magazine articles for both Part 1 and 2 and one longer passage for Part 3.

See here for more free tips and hints on how to approach these questions to help you pass.



Writing – There are 2 tasks to be completed in 60minutes.Writingpad

Academic IELTS

Task 1 looks at describing information given in a diagram in at least 150 words. There are 6 different types of diagram you may come across, each with their own vocabulary and style.

Task 2 is about writing an essay in at least 250 words. There are generally 3 different types of essay.

General IELTS

Task 1 is writing a letter using at least 150 words. Letters can be formal or informal.

Task 2 is also an essay but the questions are less academic but also could be 3 different types of essay.

Click here for more details of what is covered in my writing classes.



SpeechbubblesSpeaking – Candidates have 11 – 14 minutes to speak with an examiner. The exam has 3 parts.

Part 1 is about general questions about yourself e.g. hobbies, daily routine, childhood memories etc.

Part 2 is where you are given 1minute to look at a question that will ask you to describe something or someone. Then you have to speak on this for up to 2minutes making sure you have covered all the sub-questions they gave you.

Part 3 will be on the same topic as section 2 but ask more discussion-type questions.

This part of the exam is the same for both Academic and General IELTS.

Click here for some speaking class options.


For more information about the exam and how to book your exam online, click here for links to the British Council and Cambridge websites.


Nasrin Mirzaire


Ielts is sneaky
Never forgot this sentence when Ruth was always mentioned about ielts and honestly it is sneaky
Also very intense in exam but every single time when I was in her class I would enjoyed a lot and I learnt a lot about English language as well as learning about Ielts skills.