The format of the IELTS Test

IELTS FAQs

What is the format of the test and how long does it take?

IELTS has four parts:

  • Listening (30 minutes)
  • Reading (60 minutes)
  • Writing (60 minutes)
  • Speaking (11 – 14 minutes)

The total test time is 2 hours 44 minutes.

The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are done in that order on the same day, with no break in between them.

The Speaking test

The Speaking test will generally be programmed for the afternoon of the same day as the written tests, starting from 13.00, but please note that if necessary, Speaking tests may be up to seven days before or after the date on which you take the other three tests.

All the information you need will be provided in the letter of confirmation which is sent approximately 2 weeks before the test date. Your interview time will be posted on test day and cannot be guaranteed in advance.

Can I change the day or time of my Speaking test?

No. Requesting an interview time or changing times is NOT permitted.

We will contact you prior to test day if your interview is scheduled for another day.

What type of English is tested?

The tests have been designed to be international in their content, which means that a variety of native speaker accents are used in the Listening test and all standard varieties of English are accepted in your written and spoken answers.

Should I take the Academic or General Training test?

IELTS tests come in two versions: Academic or General Training. The test you take, and the score you need, will depend on your reason for doing the IELTS test.

  • IELTS Academic is designed for people planning to do an undergraduate or postgraduate course at university and wanting to join or register with a professional body.
  • IELTS General Training is suitable for test takers wishing to train or study at below degree level. It is also suitable for people wishing to migrate to an English-speaking country (Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the UK).

Check with your organization, Information for Candidates or on the Global Recognition System whether you need to complete an Academic or General Training test. In some cases either Academic or General Training may be accepted.

How are the two tests different?

The Listening and Speaking tests are exactly the same in both versions,

However, the Reading and Writing tests have different content, depending on whether you're taking IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training.

You will find more detailed information on the format of the test on ieltsessentials.com.