IELTS Test Format

IELTS ACADEMIC AND GENERAL TEST FORMAT

Listening time: 30 mins

Academic Reading: 60 mins

Academic Writing: 60 mins

Speaking: 10 to 15 mins

Listening and Speaking tests are the same for General Training and Academic IELTS.

There is a different Reading and Writing test for the two types of IELTS.

This portion includes reading comprehension and understanding the written text. It’s helpful to read several informational paragraphs in English to find the answers quickly. One can improve their ability to find facts and opinions with continuous reading habits and practice and gradually become stronger in this section.

Test format

Reading consists of 40 questions that test a variety of reading skills.
The IELTS Academic test includes three long texts, one factual, one discursive, one analytical.

Paper format: Three reading passages with multiple-choice questions.

Time: 60 minutes

Questions: 40

Types of questions: We use multiple-choice questions, identifying information, identifying the writer’s views, matching info, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence ends, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion, and short-answer questions.
Books, journals, magazines, and newspapers provide the text for a non-specialized audience. The topics all relate to general topics. These topics are interesting, clearly relevant, and accessible to test takers entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses or seeking professional registration.

You may write the passages in various styles, for instance, narrative or descriptive. A minimum of one passage should contain detailed logical arguments. Texts may include charts, graphs, and illustrations. The glossary helps with the use of technical terms.
Test takers are required to write the answers to an answer sheet during the time given for the test. Extra time is not allowed for this process. One must write the answers carefully on the answer sheet as poor spelling and grammar will disqualify them.

There is one mark for each question.

Task type 1: Multiple Choice

Test takers have to choose the best answer from four options, the best two answers from five options, or the best three answers from seven options.

The test taker writes the letter of the answer they chose on the answer sheet. You may have to complete a sentence, choosing the best way to achieve it from the options, or you may have to choose the best response to a complete question.
Thus, the answer to the first question in this group appears before the second question, and so on. You can use it on any document.
Multiple-choice questions test various reading skills, including a detailed understanding of specific points or a general understanding of the text’s main ideas.

The multiple-choice tests examine various reading skills.

Questions: Variable

Task type 2: Identifying information

A series of statements to the test-takers during the reading process. Will these statements confirm the information in the text? They will then write ‘true,’ ‘false,’ or ‘not given’ in the appropriate boxes on the answer sheets.

Understanding the difference between choosing false and ‘not given’ is important. By ‘false,’ we mean that the information in the passage contradicts the statement; by ‘not given,’ we mean that the information in the passage neither confirms nor contradicts the statement.
Answers must indicate that there is no knowledge outside of the passage.

Task focus:

Identifying information assesses the test taker’s skill at recognizing specific points in the text.

Questions: Variable

Task type 3: Identifying the writer’s views

Test takers will be given the following statements and asked to respond: ‘Do you agree with each statement?’ They will be required to write ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘not given’ on their answer sheet.

Understanding the difference between ‘no’ and ‘not given’ is extremely important. Writing implies ‘no’ when the writer explicitly disagrees with the statement, i.e., when the writer expresses a view or claim opposing the question; writing implies ‘not given’ when the view or claim is neither confirmed nor refuted.

We do not consider any knowledge outside the passage when determining the answers.
These tasks assess the test takers’ ability to identify opinions or ideas, developing discursive or argumentative texts.

Questions: Variable

Task type 4: Matching information

The test taker must locate specific information within the lettered sections of a text and write the letters of the correct paragraphs in the boxes on the answer sheet.

They may require specific details, an example, a reason, a description, a comparison, a summary, an explanation. Although test takers may not need to locate information in every paragraph/section of the text, they may need to locate more than one piece of information per paragraph/section. A letter can be used more than once in this case.

This task tests a wide range of reading skills, from locating details to recognizing a summary or definition.

The task of matching information assesses the ability of the test taker to scan for specific information. Instead of task type 5, matching headings focus on specific information rather than the main idea.

Questions: Variable

Task type 5: Matching headings

Test takers have a list of headings, usually with Roman numerals in lower case. The headings refer to the paragraph’s main idea or section of the text.
There is an alphabetical list of headings for the paragraphs or sections on the test. Test takers fill in the appropriate Roman numerals on their answer sheets.
Some headings are short as compared to other long paragraphs or sections. Additionally, it includes some paragraphs or sections. For example, more than one paragraph or section has already been matched with a heading. The task type describes texts that contain paragraphs or sections with clearly defined themes.

The focus of the task: Matching headers tests the ability of test-takers to identify main ideas or themes in paragraphs and sections of a text and distinguish main ideas from supporting ideas.

Questions: Variable

Task type 6: Matching features

Test takers need to match statements or pieces of information with options. A letter identifies the group of options and is the part of the text. Depending on the test, test takers may be required to match various research findings with researchers or characteristics with age groups or events with historical periods, etc. Certain options are not used, while others are repeated. Test takers will be informed if they can use options more than once in the instructions.

The test assesses the ability to recognize relationships and connections between the facts in a text and the ability to recognize opinions and theories. A text may include both opinions and facts. The test taker must be able to scan and skim the text in order to locate the required information and read for details.

Questions: Variable

Task type 7: Matching sentence endings

Type of task: Test takers choose the best way to finish the given first half of a sentence based on the text. The number of options will be greater than the number of questions. The test taker must write the letter they have chosen on their answer sheet. Accordingly, the answers to the questions follow the same order as the information within the passage. The answer to the first question appears before the answer to the second question, and so on. This task type accepts any type of text.

Questions: Variable

Task type 8: Sentence completion

Test takers complete the sentences in a set number of words from the text. The instructions will clear how many words test takers should use in their answers, e.g., no more than one word. Test takers who write more than the number of words asked will lose their marks. There are both numbers and words to write numbers on a test. Extracted words will not appear on this test. Hyphenated words will count as one word. The answer to the first question in this group appears before the second question, and so on. You can use this task type with any text.

Task focus: Testing the ability to locate specific information by matching sentence endings.

Questions: Variable

Task type 9: Summary, note, table, flow-chart completion

There are several ways to present information: a summary, several notes, a table with several rows empty or partially empty, or a sequence of boxes or steps connected by arrows to illustrate a sequence of events, with some of the boxes or steps empty or partially empty. The test taker is presented with a summary of a text section and needs to fill in the blanks with information from the text. It is more common to summarize one part of the passage than the entire.

You would not necessarily find the answers in the same order as the text. They will usually appear in a specific section rather than the entire text.
This type of task has two variations. Test takers choose words from the text or a list of answers.

The instructions clarify how many words/numbers test takers should use in their answers, e.g., not more than one word. If test takers write more words than required, they will lose marks.

Figures or words represent the numbers. Most frequently, answers consist of one word among a complete list. The test does not include contracted words. Words with hyphens count as a single word.

Summary measures the ability of test-takers to comprehend details of a text section and the main ideas. Test-takers must know the type of word that will fit into a given gap (for example, a noun or a verb).

Questions: Multiple

Task type 10: Diagram label completion
Type of task & format

Test takers are required to complete labels on a diagram related to a description found in the text. Test takers choose the words/numbers they should use in their answers, e.g., no more than one word. A test taker who writes more than the number of words asked for will lose the mark. Figures or words represent the numbers. We do not test contracted words. A hyphenated word counts as a single word. The answers do not necessarily appear in the order in the passage. Usually, they will appear in one section rather than the entire text.
Diagrams can be machines, parts of a building, or any other element shown graphically. This task relates to the text that describes processes in detail.

This task assesses the test taker’s ability to comprehend a detailed description and relate it to diagrammatic information.

Questions: Variable

Task type 11: Short-question answers

Test takers respond to questions that provide factual information about details in the text.

It includes a text that contains a lot of factual information.

On the answer sheet, the answers are written in words or numbers. The test taker must use words from the text when answering the questions. The instructions will be clear how many words/numbers test takers should use in their answers, e.g., no more than one word. They will lose the mark if they use more than a word.
There are two ways to write numbers: with figures or with words. Hyphenated words count as single words. The questions are in the same order as the information in the text.

Task focus: The content of the test determines the ability of the test takers to locate and comprehend precise information.

Questions: Variable

IELTS Academic Reading: how it is marked

Certified markers grade the Academic Reading test and regularly monitor to ensure reliability. Cambridge Assessment English analyzes all answer sheets after they are marked.

Band score conversion

Each version of the Academic Reading test is converted into the IELTS 9-band scale using a Band Score conversion table. Scores represent the whole bands and half bands.

Test format: Reading (60 minutes)

The Reading section of the test consists of 40 questions. This section includes reading for the gist, main ideas, skimming, understanding logical arguments, and recognizing opinions, attitudes, and purposes.

IELTS General Training includes books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks, and guidelines. The following materials are likely to be encountered daily in an English-speaking environment.

Sections

There are three sections in the paper. Section 1 contains multiple short texts. Section 2 has two texts, while section 3 has one long text.

Timing: 60 minutes

Questions: 40

In addition to multiple-choice questions, there are tests for identifying information, matching information, completing details, summarizing information, completing notes, filling in tables, completing flowcharts, filling in diagram labels, and short answer questions.

Several tests include the multiple-choice questions that identify the information, writer’s view, matching information, headings, features and matching words, sentence, summary, note, table and flowchart, diagram label completion.

A few texts are associated with linguistic survival in English, including texts of notices, advertisements, and timetables, which are primarily about retrieving and providing general factual information.

The second section is ‘Workplace survival’ that focuses on the workplace context, such as job descriptions, contracts, staff development, and training materials.

‘General reading’ is the third section, entails reading longer pieces of prose with more complex structures. This exam emphasizes descriptive and instructive rather than argumentative texts taken from various sources. It covers many test-takers, including newspapers, magazines, and fictional and non-fictional book extracts.

During the time allowed for the test, test takers must record their answers on an answer sheet. Testing time cannot be extended. Answers on the answer sheet should be written carefully since poor spelling and grammar will be penalized.

There is one mark for each question. 

Task type 1: Multiple-choice

Task type and format: Test takers choose the best answer from 4 alternatives, the best two answers from 5 alternatives, or the best three answers from 7 alternatives. Letters represent the answers.

This question consists of a part of a sentence from which the test taker will choose to complete it.

Answers to the first question will come next to the answers to the second question.

Task focus: This type of reading exercise tests a variety of reading skills, including an understanding of specific points or an understanding of the main points of the text as a whole.

Questions: Variable 

Task type 2: Identifying information

The test taker receives a number of statements and is asked: ‘Do the following statements match the information in the text?’ They will then write ‘true,’ ‘false,’ or ‘not given’ next to each one. The questions in this group are arranged in the same order as the information in the text. Thus, the answer to the first question will appear before the second answer and so on.

Choosing a false or not given are two different statements. In this case, ‘false’ means the passage contradicts the statement in question; in this case, ‘not given’ means that the information in the passage does not confirm or contradict the statement.

Students should not use any knowledge outside the passage in determining their answers.

This task examines the ability of the test taker to identify certain points of particular information in the text. It can therefore be applied to factual texts.

Questions: Variable 

Task type 3: Identifying the writer’s views

There are a number of statements such as: ‘Do these statements agree with the writer’s view or claim? They mark ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘not given’ on their answer sheet. The questions in this group are arranged in the same order as the information in the text. The answer to first question appears in the text before an answer to the second question, etc.

‘No’ and ‘not given’ are not the same thing. The writer’s views or claims explicitly conflict with the statement in the question, i.e., the writer somewhere expresses a view or makes a claim different from what is present in the question; ‘not given’ means that neither the writer’s view nor claim is confirmed. Students should not consider knowledge from outside the passage while writing the answers.

This task type assesses the ability of the test taker to recognize opinions or ideas, so it includes discursive or argumentative texts.

Questions: Variable

Task type 4: Matching information

There is a portion of text in which test takers locate the specific information. They must write the letter of the correct paragraph/section in the appropriate box on the answer sheet.

Test takers choose the same letter more than once. These questions do not follow the same order as the information in the text. This task involves reading the text from a wide range of reading skills, adding detail to identifying the summary or definition.

Task focus: This task determines the ability of the test taker to scan the particular information. It is more concerned with the particular information rather than the text’s main theme.

Questions: Variable 

Task type 5: Matching headings

Each paragraph or section of the test consists of headings that identify the main idea, indicated by lower-case Roman numerals. The heading matches the correct paragraph or section, which is alphabetized. The Answer sheet contains Roman numerals in the boxes.

 This task includes texts that contain paragraphs or sections with a clear theme. The task may not include some paragraphs or sections. There may already be headings corresponding to some paragraphs or sections.

This task assesses a student’s ability to recognize the main idea or theme in a text’s paragraphs or sections rather than the main idea.

Questions: Variable 

Task type 6: Matching features

Test takers match statements or pieces of information with options in a list. Each letter in the text represents a piece of information. You may be required to match different characteristics to different age groups or to match events to certain historical periods.

Some options may not be selected, whereas others are selected more than once. The instructions explain each option. It is not necessary to order the questions according to the text.

The purpose of this task is to measure the ability to identify connections and relationships between facts in the text and opinions and theories. Texts containing factual information, descriptions, or narratives are used in this task. Test takers skim and scan the text in such an order that the required information is located and read easily in detail.

Questions: Variable 

Task type 7: Matching sentence endings

Task type and format: 

From an array of possible answers, test takers choose the best way to complete the first section of a sentence based on the text. There are more choices than questions.

Each question has a same order as the information included in the text. The answer to the first question appears before the answer to the second question, etc. You can use this task type with any type of text.

Task focus: This type of task aims to determine how well test takers understand the information.

Questions: Variable 

Task type 8: Sentence completion

Test takers complete sentences using a given number of words taken from the text, writing their answers on an answer sheet. The instructions will clarify how many words are included in the answers, for example, if not more than one word. Those who write more words than the number requested lose marks.

Figures or words indicate the numbers. We do not test contracted words. Hyphenated words count as one word. The questions are arranged similarly to the information in the passage. You will find the answer to the first question in this group before you answer the second, etc.

Task focus: This test evaluates the ability of the test takers to target the particular information.

Questions: Variable

Task type 9: Summary, note, table, flowchart completion

The test taker reads the summary of a section of the text to fill it out with information gathered from the text. The summary will only cover one part of the passage in most cases rather than the whole. An outline may consist of a summary, several notes, a table with some of its cells empty or partially empty (known as a table), or a series of boxes or steps linked by arrows to illustrate a sequence of events (known as a flowchart). The answers will not necessarily appear in the same order as in the text. Instead of reading the entire text, the answers may come from one particular section. This task type has two variations. It is possible to choose words from the text or choose from a list of options. The instructions will specify how many words or numbers test takers need to use in their answers, e.g., no more than one word. If test takers write more than the required number of words, they will lose the mark. Numbers may be written in either figures or words. Hyphenated words count as one word. Usually, a list of answers consists of only one word. There are always more words or phrases in the box than gaps to fill. It is often used with descriptive texts since it often involves precise factual information.

The task assesses the ability of test takers to comprehend details and the main points of a passage of text. The students need to be aware of the types of words that will fit into the gaps (for example, whether a noun is necessary, a verb, etc.) in the variations involving a summary or notes.

Questions: Variable 

Task type 10: Diagram label completion

Task type and format: Test takers label a diagram based on a description in the text. 

The instructions in the text clear out the count of numbers or words used in the answers, for example, if no more than one word is to be used.

If the test takers use more than the required number of words, they may lose the marks. Numbers may be written with figures or words. We will not test contracted words. Hyphenated words are counted as single words. Answers do not necessarily follow the passage’s order.

However, they generally come from one section rather than the whole text. Diagrams may depict machines, parts of buildings, or any other element that can be represented visually. The task type is often used for texts describing processes or for descriptive texts.

Task focus: This task measures the ability to understand detailed descriptions and relate them to diagrammatic representations of information.

Questions: Variable

Task type 11: Short-answer questions

Task type and format: 

During the test, test takers answer questions about the facts of the text. The answer sheet must be filled out with words or numbers. Answers must be written using words from the text. In the instructions, it will be specified how many words/numbers test takers should use in their answers. If they write more words than requested, they will lose their mark. Numbers can be written in either figures or words. Tests do not include contract words. Hyphenated words are counted as single words. Since the questions are arranged in the same order as the information in the text, the answer to the first question in this group appears in the test before the answer to the second question, etc.

Task focus: This task type assesses the ability to locate and comprehend precise information in a text.

Questions: Variable

IELTS General training reading: Marking

General Training Reading tests are marked by certified markers, whose reliability is regularly monitored. Cambridge Assessment English analyzes all marked answer sheets after marking.

Band score conversion

In the General Training Reading test, a band score conversion table is produced for each version of the test, which translates scores out of 40 into the IELTS 9-band scale. Whole scores and half scores are available.

The topics are relevant and helpful to test takers entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or preparing for professional registration. The two tasks are:

  • Task 1 presents the graph, table, chart, or diagram to describe, summarise, or explain the information. There may be a need to define data, explain how something works, or describe an object or event.
  • Your essay must present a point of view, argument, or problem. You must write formally in both essays. 

It is required to complete both of the Writing tasks.

Time: 60 minutes

Questions: 2

In task 1, test takers describe some visual information (graph/table/chart/diagram) in their own words. This task takes approximately 20 minutes. Task 2 involves responding to a viewpoint, argument, or concern. The students have 40 minutes to write 250 words.

Answering: 

There is a full answer sheet for each question. Neither notes nor bullet points are acceptable. Test takers may write on the question paper, but they cannot take it out of the examination room.

Here is a detailed look at the paper with links to related resources.

Task 1

There are two types of writing tasks in Typing Task 1. Test takers summarize facts or figures presented in a graph, chart, table on a related topic or describe how a machine, device, or process works. The diagram should be written in academic or semi-formal/neutral style and include the most important and relevant points. You may leave out some minor details.

A short answer will result in a penalty of fewer than 150 words. There is no penalty for writing longer than 150 words, but be aware that a longer Task 1 answer may limit the amount of time you have for Task 2, which contributes twice as much to your Writing score. Test takers spend no more than 20 minutes on this task.

The participants should also be aware that their responses will be penalized for irrelevance if they are off-topic or do not use full, connected text (e.g., bullet points, notes, etc.). If they copy from another source, their responses will be severely penalized.

You must fill out the answer booklet with your answers.

In this task, you will identify and interpret the most relevant and essential information and trends in a graph, chart, table, or diagram using accurate language and academic terminology.

Questions: 1

Task 2

Task type and format: 

During Writing Task 2, test takers have a topic to write in an academic or semi-formal/neutral style. They must discuss the relevant issues in their responses. 

The test taker should carefully read the task and provide a complete and relevant response. If the answer is about a particular aspect of computers, they should focus on that component. Avoid writing about computers in general.

This task should not take more than 40 minutes to complete. Test takers are not penalized for writing more than 250 words, but a very long answer may take too long to read and correct, and some ideas may not be relevant to the question. If their answer is too short, they will be penalized.

There is a twofold difference in score between Task 1 and Task 2 regarding writing bands. As a result, test takers who fail to attempt this task will have a much lower chance of getting a high score.

A test taker will be penalized for irrelevance if the response is off-topic or not written as a complete, connected text (e.g., using bullet points, writing notes, etc. It is highly punishable for test-takers who copy from other sources. Lastly, test takers should not copy directly from the question paper since this would not affect their score. They must write their answers in the answer booklet.

Task focus: The purpose of this task is to evaluate an individual’s ability to present a clear, relevant, well-organized argument, provide examples or evidence to support ideas, and use correct grammar.

No. Of questions: 1

How it’s marked

Marking and assessment

There are separate evaluations for each task. Task 2 has a heavier marking than Task 1.

Certificated IELTS examiners assess responses. IELTS examiners are all qualified teachers recruited by test centers and approved by the British Council or IDP: IELTS Australia.

We report each score as a whole band and a half band. 

Task 1 assesses the following elements:

  • Task achievement
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy.

Criteria for evaluating task 2 responses include:

  • Task response
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy.

Performance descriptors

Task 1

Task achievement

In Academic Writing Task 1, input and output are defined. It is a task of information transfer that relates narrowly to the facts contained in a diagram rather than speculative explanations beyond the available data. This assesses whether the response fulfills the requirements set out in the task appropriately, accurately, and relevantly, using at least 150 words.

Coherence and cohesion

The answer should have overall clarity and fluency: organizing and linking information, ideas, and language. A coherent answer links ideas through the logical sequence. A cohesive device assists in establishing the conceptual and referential relationships between and within sentences by varying and appropriately using cohesive devices (such as logical connectors, pronouns, and conjunctions).

Lexical resource

The range and accuracy of vocabulary used depends on the specific task.

Grammatical range and accuracy

As demonstrated in their sentence writing, this refers to the range and accuracy of their grammar use.

Task 2

Task response

Test takers are required to formulate a position based on a given prompt in the form of a question or statement in both Academic and General Training. Test takers may use their own experience as an example to support their ideas. Responses must be 250 words or more. Submissions under the required word limit will be penalized.

Coherence and cohesion

The logic behind the presentation of ideas is called logic. It measures the response’s organization and linking of information, ideas, and language. A cohesive device (for example, logical connectors, pronouns, conjunctions) serves to assist in clarifying the conceptual and referential relationships between and within sentences.

Lexical resource

This criterion measures how accurate and appropriate the vocabulary used for a particular task is.

Grammatical range and accuracy

We measure a test taker’s ability to use correct grammar at the sentence level.

Topics are of general interest. There are two tasks:

  • Task 1: This task requires you to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation based on a given situation. A personal, semi-formal, or formal approach may be used.
  • Task 2: An essay responding to the point of view, argument, or problem. The essay can be quite personal.

Paper format: It includes two writing tasks.

Timing: 60 minutes

Questions: 2

In Task 1, test takers write a letter requesting information or explaining a situation. 

In Task 2, test takers write an essay responding to the point of view, argument, or problem.

In the answer booklet, you must write your answers in full. The use of notes or bullet points is not acceptable as an answer in whole or part. The test taker may write on the question paper. Students should not take the question paper from the testing room.

Task 1

Test takers use the answer booklet provided to write an informal, semi-formal, or formal letter of at least 150 words for Task 1. Students write about common situations such as:

  • Concerning problems with college housing or an accommodation officer.
  • Address time management issues with a new employer.
  • Contribute to a local newspaper about airport development.
  • Writing to a rental agency about heating problems in the apartment.
  • Provide general factual information.
  • Express their needs, wants likes, or dislikes.
  • Express opinions or complaints.
  • Make requests or suggestions.

It may be necessary to request or provide information or explain a situation.

Writers use different writing styles depending on who they are writing to (the audience) and how well they know them. To achieve their purpose for writing, they should write in style appropriate to their audience, e.g., for a friend (informal) or a manager (semi-formal or formal). Addresses do not occur at the top of test takers’ letters.

The test taker should not spend more than 20 minutes on this task. To avoid penalties, students must write at least 150 words. Over 150 words won’t be penalized in the Writing section. Test-takers should remember that a long Task 1 answer may result in less time for Task 2, which counts twice as much in the Writing band.

It is important to note that answers that are off-topic or do not follow a connected or full sentence structure will be penalized. They will be severely penalized for plagiarism.

Task focus 

This task evaluates your ability to follow English letter-writing conventions (e.g., how to present information, what style to use, how to begin and end a letter). It also evaluates how well you organize and link information coherently.

No. Of questions: 1 

Task 2

Test takers submit a semi-formal essay of at least 250 words in the answer book provided.

The task instructions provide a point of view, argument, or problem. 

Participants provide general information, provide solutions, explain opinions, provide evidence, and evaluate ideas.

These subjects are of general interest, such as whether children should participate in educational activities or ban smoking in public places.

Test takers should complete the task carefully and provide a complete and relevant response. Students should organize their ideas in their paper and provide relevant examples (including their own experiences, if applicable) or evidence to support their arguments. 

Test-takers must communicate abstract and complex ideas and use a variety of grammatical and vocabulary structures. It greatly reduces the chances of test-takers getting a high score if they do not attempt this task.

Test takers write around 250 words. This task should not take longer than 40 minutes. If an answer is too short, it will be penalized.

Also, keep in mind that any off-topic response written as a note will be penalized for irrelevance. There is a penalty for the copy-pasted content.

Task focus: The purpose of this task is to assess the ability to follow English discursive writing conventions (i.e., how to order information, what style to use, how to introduce a paragraph, how to end a paragraph), to link and organize information coherently and cohesively, and to use language accurately and effectively.

No. Of questions: 1

How it’s marked

Marking and assessment

Certificated IELTS examiners assess writing responses. Examination centers hire and approve all IELTS examiners who are members of the British Council or IDP: IELTS Australia.

Evaluation of each task is independent. Task 2 gets more marks than Task 1. The results appear in whole or half bands. The nine IELTS bands have been described in detail by detailed performance descriptors. Here are the detailed performance descriptors.

Task 1 includes:

  • Task achievement
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy.

Task 2 includes

  • Task response
  • Coherence and cohesion
  • Lexical resource
  • Grammatical range and accuracy.

Performance descriptors

Task 1

Task achievement

It is a writing task with a relatively predictable output. It outlines the goal and purpose of the letter and the functions the test taker should cover to accomplish this goal. Using a minimum of 150 words assesses how well the response satisfies the requirements.

Coherence and cohesion

Examiners evaluate the response for its clarity and fluency. Additionally, they assess the organization and integration of facts, ideas, and language. Coherence refers to the way ideas are linked logically. Cohesive devices (such as logical connectors, pronouns, and conjunctions) are necessary for creating conceptual and referential relationships between and within sentences.

Lexical resource

Test-takers’ vocabulary range, accuracy, and appropriateness of the words used depend on the task.

Grammar and accuracy

The extent and accuracy of the test takers’ use of grammar are evident in their written sentences.

Task 2

Task response

Task 2 asks test-takers to formulate a position about a question or statement. Test takers may draw examples from their own experiences to support their ideas. It must be at least 250 words long. Shorter scripts will be penalized.

The other three assessment criteria for Tasks 1 and 2 (Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range, and Accuracy) are the same.

There are four parts to the paper, each with ten questions. The answers appear in the order they appear in the audio.

The first two parts are devoted to everyday social situations.

Part 1 is a conversation between two speakers (for example, a discussion about travel arrangements).

Part 2 is a monologue (for example, a speech about local facilities).

The final two parts are devoted to situations associated with education and training. Part 3 is a conversation between two main speakers (for example, two university students discussing an academic topic, perhaps guided by a tutor), while part 4 is a monologue.

Their accents include British, Australian, New Zealand, American, and Canadian.

Timing: 30 minutes with 10 minutes of transfer time.

No. Of questions: 40

Task types:

Questions include multiple-choice, matching, completing forms, notes, tables, flowcharts, summaries, and sentence completion.

Answering:

 The test takers write their answers on the question paper as they listen, and they have 10 minutes to transfer them to an answer sheet. Students should take care while writing answers on the answer sheet.

Marks: Each question is worth one mark. Task type 1 – Multiple choice

Task type and format: A single question has three options for choosing a single answer in multiple-choice tasks. The test taker must choose one correct answer from A, B, or C.

A question has three possible answers in multiple-choice questions, and we have to select one answer from all the options.

Test takers choose more than one answer from a long list of possible answers in some tests. The student should carefully read the question to determine how many answers are needed.

There is a wide range of skills tested by multiple-choice questions. An understanding of the main points of the listening text may be required, or a detailed understanding of specific points may be required.

No. Of questions: Variable

Task type 2 – Matching

The test consists of matching a numbered list of items from the listening text to a set of options on the question paper. These options may represent some kind of criteria.

Task focus: Matching tests a person’s ability to pay attention to details and understand a conversation about an everyday topic, such as different hotel rooms. It evaluates the ability of test-takers to recognize relationships and connections among the information in the listening text. Additionally, it measures your ability to follow a conversation between two people.

Questions: Variable

Task type 3: Plan, map, diagram labeling

Test-takers are required to label a plan (e.g., a building), a map (e.g., a part of a town), or a diagram (e.g., an equipment diagram). The question paper usually includes a list of answers.

Task focus: This type of task measures an individual’s ability to understand a description of a place and relate it to a visual representation of that place. This test includes following language expressing spatial relationships and directions (e.g., straight on/through the far door).

Questions: Variable

Task type 4 – Form, note, table, flowchart, summary completion

Type of task: Test takers fill in the gaps in an outline of part or all of the listening text. It will focus on the main ideas/facts. 

  1. Form: Used for recording factual details such as names
  2. Using the layout to depict how different items relate to one another, a set of notes is used to summarise any type of information
  3. A table summarizes information based on a specific category (e.g., place/time/price).
  4. Flowchart: a visual representation of a process with clear stages and arrows to indicate the process’ direction.

Answers may be selected from a list on the test paper or identified from the recording, keeping to the word limits stated in the instructions. Test takers are not required to change the words on the recording in any way.

Test takers must read the instructions carefully because the number of words or numbers they should fill in the gaps will vary. A one-word answer should be used for this test. Test takers are penalized if they write more words than the stated limit, so they should carefully check each task’s word limit. Hyphenated words count as single words.

Task focus: The focus is on the main points that a listener would naturally record in this situation.

No. Of questions: Variable

Task type 5 – Sentence completion

Reading a few sentences summarizing key points from the listening text or part of it is required. They then fill in the gaps in each sentence with information from the listening text. No more than one word is used in each sentence.

Test takers are penalized if they write more words than the number stated. The word limit for each task is either ONE, TWO, or THREE words (test takers should check this carefully). Hyphenated words count as single words. We will not test contracted words.

Task focus: Sentence completion focuses on identifying the key information in a listening text. 

No. Of questions: Variable

Task type 6 – Short-answer questions

Task type and format: Test takers read a question and then write a short response based on information in the listening text. No more than one word is used. If test takers write more than the stated number of words, they will be penalized. (Test takers should check the word limit carefully for each task.) Hyphenated words count as single words. Test takers are sometimes asked to list two or three points.

Task focus:

It focuses on listening for concrete facts within the listening text, such as places, prices, or times.

No. Of questions: Variable

Marking

Certificated people mark the tests who evaluate the ability of the test makers. After marking all the answers, Cambridge Assessment English analyzes all answer sheets.

Band score conversion

Each version of the Listening test is converted to the IELTS 9-band scale using a Band Score conversion table. Half-band and full-band results are reported.

Each correct answer in the 40-item test is worth one point. Answers are carefully written on the answer sheet because mistakes in spelling and grammar will be penalized.

IELTS speaking is one of the most challenging sections. It requires good pronunciation and fluency in English. We help students practice the listening modules more to become familiar with pronunciation and improve their speaking abilities. Furthermore, we provide them with audio recordings to listen to and improve their speaking skills.

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