Learn about IELTS Indicator

Before you take the test, get to know the format and types of questions for each test section (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). It is important to note your test is taken in two sittings:

  • The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are taken on the same day with no breaks in between them. You will receive an email with instructions and log in details. The total time required for these three sections is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  • The Speaking test can be completed before or after your Listening, Reading and Writing test. Your booking confirmation will have the time and date, and you will receive a Zoom link via email to access the test. The total time required to complete your Speaking test is 11-14 minutes.

Listening overview

Test time: 30 minutes

You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then type your answers to a series of questions. 

  • Recording 1 – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context. 
  • Recording 2 – a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities. 
  • Recording 3 – a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment. 
  • Recording 4 – a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture. 

The Listening test measures your ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of an utterance and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas.

Reading overview

Test time: 60 minutes

The Reading section consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.

IELTS Reading includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers.  They have been selected for a non-specialist audience, but are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.

Writing overview

Test time: 60 minutes 

Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies. There are two tasks: 

  • Task 1 – you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event. 
  • Task 2 - you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.  

Speaking overview

Test time: 11-14 minutes 

The speaking section assesses your use of spoken English. The test is taken via Zoom with an IELTS examiner and consists of 3 parts.

  • Part 1 The examiner will ask you some general questions about familiar topics like work, family, studies and hobbies.
  • Part 2 You will be given a card with a topic. You will be given one minute to take notes on the topic you can use a pencil and paper to prepare your response, you will then speak on the topic for two minutes.
  • Part 3 You will have a two-way discussion with the examiner where they will ask questions related to the topic discussed in Part 2.