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Listening

Source: www.ielts.org

Introduction:

Module format

IELTS Listening has four sections, each with 10 items (or questions). Each item is worth one mark. The items are designed so that the answers appear in order in the listening passage. During the test, time is given for candidates to read the questions and write down and check their answers. Answers are written on the Question Paper as candidates listen. When the tape ends, ten minutes are allowed for candidates to transfer their answers onto an Answer Sheet.

The table below provides a summary of IELTS Listening.

SECTION Topic Area Input Main Skill Focus Number of Questions
1. Social needs Conversation with a transactional purpose e.g. finding out about travel services Listening for and noting specific factual information 10
2. Social needs Monologue or prompted monologue with a transactional purpose e.g. giving information about a public event Listening for and noting specific factual information 10
3. Education and training Discussion between 2 - 4 people in an academic context, e.g. tutorial or seminar Following a conversation which involves negotiation of meaning. Listening for specific information, attitudes, and speakers' opinions 10
4. Education and training Monologue in an academic context e.g. Following an academic argument. Listening for main ideas, specific information, attitude and speaker's opinion 10

Answer format
Candidates write their answers on an answer sheet.

Timing
Approximately 30 minutes plus 10 minutes transfer time.

Marks
Each question carries one mark, giving a total of 40 marks.

Listening texts
The first two sections are concerned with social needs. There is a dialogue between two speakers, for example a conversation about travel arrangements, and then a monologue, for example a recording about museum opening times.
The final two sections are concerned with situations related more closely to educational or training contexts. There is a conversation between up to four people, for example a conversation between a tutor and a student about an assignment, and then a further monologue, for example a lecture of general academic interest.

Task types
A variety of task types is used. The principal task types are:

Task Type 1 Forms/Notes/Table/Flow-chart/Summary Completion
Task Type 2 Multiple Choice
Task Type 3 Short-answer Questions
Task Type 4 Sentence Completion
Task Type 5 Labelling a Diagram/Plan/Map
Task Type 6 Classification
Task Type 7 Matching

Recordings Each section is played ONCE only. The recordings include a range of accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand and American.

Academic ReadingBACK TO TOP

Source: www.ielts.org

Introduction:

Module format
IELTS Academic Reading has 3 passages and 40 items (questions). The number of items for any one passage may vary. Each item is worth one mark.
The texts and items appear in Question Booklets.

Answer format
Candidates record their responses on Answer Sheets.

Timing
IELTS Academic Reading takes 60 minutes to complete. Candidates are not given extra time to transfer their answers onto the Answer Sheet. They should do this as they work through the test.

Marks
One mark is awarded for each correct answer.

Texts
The passages used in the test are based on authentic texts, and are taken from sources such as magazines, journals, books and newspapers. They are designed to present the candidate with materials similar to those which they might need to read on a university course. Passages may also contain non-verbal material such as diagrams, graphs, illustrations etc. The passages may be written in a variety of styles, for example narrative, descriptive or discursive/argumentative. They deal with issues which are interesting, recognisably appropriate, and accessible to candidates entering postgraduate or undergraduate courses or seeking professional registration. At least one of the passages will contain detailed argument.

Length
The total word count for the three passages is between 2000 and 2750 words.

Task Types
There are 10 basic task types,some with possible variations. They are:

 

Task Type 1 Multiple Choice Task Type 6 Choosing Headings for Paragraphs or Sections of a Text
Task Type 2 Short-answer Questions Task Type 7 Locating Information
Task Type 3 Sentence Completion Task Type 8 Identification of Writer's Views/Claims or of Information in a Text
Task Type 4 Notes, Summary or Table/Flow-chart Completion Task Type 9 Classification
Task Type 5 Labelling a Diagram Task Type 10 Matching

Tips:

Remember to read the instructions carefully. The instructions will tell you where to find the answers, what you need to do, what kind of answer is required, and how many words you need to write. The instructions will also tell you if an option can be used more than once, and will remind you to transfer your answers to your Answer Sheet.
Remember that the questions for certain task types follow the order of information in the reading passage.
Remember to read all the questions very carefully.
Practise scanning for key words in the extracts or the reading passage that match the items. You can also practise scanning for paraphrases of key words.
Remember that in most tasks which involve writing words or numbers, e.g. Short-answer Questions, the answers have to be grammatically correct and spelt correctly. Accuracy in spelling and word form are very important and you will be penalised for incorrect spelling.
Use the information provided in the notes, tables, diagrams or flow-charts, as well as any examples, to predict the type of information that is required.
In classroom activities, discuss the type of information you need for each task type you might meet in the test.
Underline key words and phrases when you read as well as paying attention to key words in the questions.
Practise using synonyms, summary words etc. to help you locate information.
Practise different ways of expressing the same ideas or information in a text.
Practise reading skills such as skimming and scanning for information.
Some students are convinced that only test practice will really help them, and want to do test after test. This can be discouraging, as they do not see the rapid progress they would like. You should read widely, e.g. newspapers, journals, magazines and books, and use materials from these sources when preparing for the test.
Be aware of the different text types and how best to approach them. Practise the full range of IELTS Academic Reading task types. Take time in class to discuss the differences between task types and the skills that are being tested.
You should make sure that you understand that there is more than one way to read a text. Some students believe that they must read every text slowly and carefully, underlining every unknown word and stopping to worry about it. You should remember that your main aim is to locate the answers to the questions. You do not need to read in the same way you would if you needed to memorise something. You should try not to worry too much about the presence of unknown words, and you should also practise guessing meaning from context. Try not to look up every unknown word in the dictionary.
Make sure that you read the instructions carefully in every case: many task types contain variations, and it is easy for you to confuse them if you do not check carefully what it is you are required to do.
You should remain conscious of time limits during the test, and you should move on rather than spending too much time on a particular question to which you are unable to find the answer.
Be aware of the dangers of relying on locating the exact words in the text that you find in a question: practise using paraphrases and locating paraphrase in a text.
In task types where the information is located in order in the text, remember you don' t need to go back to the beginning of the text for each question.
Take care when you need to copy a word or words from the text onto your Answer Sheet. Copying incorrectly will lead to loss of marks.
Make sure that you get some practice in using an Answer Sheet.

General Training ReadingBACK TO TOP

Source: www.ielts.org

Introduction:

Module format
IELTS General Training Reading has three sections of increasing difficulty and 40 items (questions). Section 1 has 14 items and sections 2 and 3 have 13 items each.
Section 1 may contain 2 or 3 short texts or several shorter texts such as advertisements, Section 2 usually comprises 2 texts and in Section 3 there is 1 long text. The texts vary in topic and text type and are graded with the most difficult appearing in Section 3.
The texts and items appear in Question Booklets.

Answer format
Candidates record their responses on Answer Sheets.

Timing
IELTS General Training Reading takes 60 minutes to complete. Candidates are not given extra time to transfer their answers onto the Answer Sheet.

Marks
One mark is awarded for each correct answer.

Texts
Texts for the first Section are taken from notices, advertisements, timetables, publicity material and similar sources. Texts for the second Section are taken from college prospectuses, course summaries, guides to libraries, rules and regulations and similar sources. Texts for the third Section are taken from newspapers, magazines or journal articles, fictional or non-fictional book extracts and similar sources.

Length
The texts have a total word count of approximately 2,400 words.

Task Type 1 Multiple Choice Task Type 7 Choosing Headings for Paragraphs or Sections of a Text
Task Type 2 Multiple Matching Task Type 8 Locating Information
Task Type 3 Short-answer Questions Task Type 9 Identification of Writer' s Views, Claims or Information in the Text
Task Type 4 Sentence Completion Task Type 10 Classification
Task Type 5 Notes/Table/Diagram/Flow-chart Completion Task Type 11 Matching
Task Type 6 Summary Completion    

 

Tips:

Remember to read the instructions carefully. The instructions will tell you where to find the answers, what you need to do, what kind of answer is required and how many words you need to write. The instructions will also tell you whether an answer can be used more than once and remind you to transfer your answers to the Answer Sheet.
Remember that for many item types the questions follow the order of information in the reading passage.
Remember to read all the questions very carefully.
Practise scanning for key words in the extracts or the reading passage that match the items. You can also practise scanning for paraphrases of key words.
Remember that in most cases, e.g. Short-Answer Questions, the answers have to be grammatically correct and should be spelt correctly. Accuracy in spelling and word form are very important and you will be penalised for incorrect spelling.
In most cases, the words you need to write will be in the text you are reading so copy them carefully on to your Answer Sheet. Copying incorrectly will lead to loss of marks.
Remember that in Sentence Completion tasks, you must focus on the meaning when choosing the correct ending.
Use the information provided in the notes, tables, diagrams or flow-charts as well as any examples to predict the type of information that is required.
In classroom activities, discuss the type of information you need for each item type.
Underline key words and phrases when you read as well as paying attention to key words in the questions.
Practise synonyms, summary words etc. to help you locate information.
Practise different ways of expressing the same ideas or information in a text.
Think about what certain pieces of information have in common – shared features – and what distinguishes them from each other.
Practise reading skills such as skimming and scanning for information.
Some students are convinced that only test practice will really help them, and want to do test after test. This can be discouraging, as they do not see the rapid progress they would like. You should also read widely, e.g. newspapers, journals, magazines and books, and use materials from these sources when preparing for the test.
Be aware of the different text types and how best to approach them. Practise the full range of IELTS General Training Reading item types.
You should make sure that you understand that there is more than one way to read a text. Some students believe that they must read every text slowly and carefully, underlining every unknown word and stopping to worry about it. You should remember that your main aim is to locate the answers to the questions. You do not need to read in the same way you would if you needed to memorise something. You should try not to worry too much about the presence of unknown words, and you should also practise guessing meaning from context. Try not to look up every unknown word in the dictionary.
Make sure that you read the instructions carefully in every case: many item types contain variations, and it is easy for you to confuse them if you do not check carefully what it is you are required to do.
You should remain conscious of time limits, and you should move on rather than spend too much time on a particular question to which you are unable to find the answer.
Be aware of the dangers of relying on locating the exact words in the text that you find in a question: practise using paraphrases and locating paraphrase in a text.
In task types where the information is located in order in the text, remember you don’t need to go back to the beginning of the text for each question.
Make sure that you get some practice in using an Answer Sheet.

Academic WritingBACK TO TOP

Source: www.ielts.org

Introduction:

Module format
IELTS Academic Writing lasts a total of 60 minutes. It consists of 2 tasks (Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2) and candidates must answer BOTH tasks.
 

Answer format
Candidates write their answers in pen or pencil on Answer Sheets provided.
 

Timing
Students are advised to spend 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2. They must complete both tasks in one hour.

 

Task 1 Task 2

General Training WritingBACK TO TOP

Source: www.ielts.org

Introduction:

Module format
IELTS General Training Writing lasts a total of 60 minutes. The paper consists of 2 tasks (Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2) and candidates must answer BOTH tasks.

Answer format
Candidates write their answers in pen or pencil on Answer Sheets provided.

Timing
Students are advised to spend 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2. They must complete both tasks in one hour.

 

Task 1 Task 2

SpeakingBACK TO TOP

Source: www.ielts.org

Introduction:

Timing
11 - 14 minutes

Marks
Candidates are assessed on their performance throughout the test. The table below provides a summary of IELTS Listening.

PART Nature of Interaction Timing
1. Introduction and interview
After introductions and identity check, the examiner asks the candidate questions about familiar topics.
4-5 minutes
2. Long turn
The candidate receives a task card with a topic. S/He then has 1 minute to prepare and make notes before speaking about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes
3-4 minutes
3. Discussion
The examiner discusses with the candidate more abstract aspects of the topic in Part 2.
4-5 minutes

Part 1
What happens in this part?
In this part, the examiner introduces him/herself and checks the candidate' s identity. Then s/he asks the candidate about familiar topics such as friends, hobbies or food. To ensure consistency, questions are taken from a scripted examiner frame.

How long does it last?
4 - 5 minutes.

What skill is being assessed?
The candidate's ability to communicate opinions and information on everyday topics and common experiences or situations by answering a range of questions.

Part 2
What happens in this part?
This is the long turn section. The examiner gives the candidate a task card, and a pencil and some paper to make notes.

The task card gives the topic, some points to include in the long turn and a final prompt asking the candidate to explain one aspect of the topic. Using the prompts on the task card effectively will help the candidate think of appropriate things to say, organise what s/he says, and keep talking for 2 minutes. Making notes during the preparation time also helps the candidate structure the long turn. The candidate has a minute to prepare, after which the examiner asks him/her to speak about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes. Then the examiner stops the candidate after 2 minutes, and asks one or two questions to round off the long turn.

How long does it last?
3 - 4 minutes, including the preparation time.

What skill is being assessed?
The candidate's ability to speak at length on a given topic (without further prompts from the examiner), using appropriate language and organising his/her ideas coherently. It is likely that the candidate will need to draw on his/her own experience to complete the long turn.

Part 3
What happens in this part?
In this part, the examiner and the candidate discuss issues related to the topic in Part 2 in a more general and abstract way, and where appropriate, in greater depth.

How long does it last?
4 - 5 minutes.

What skill is being assessed?
The candidate' s ability to express and justify opinions, analyse, discuss and speculate about issues.

Click here to see sample questions

Marking:
The four criteria used in IELTS Speaking to assess candidates are as follows:
• Fluency and Coherence
• Lexical Resource
• Grammatical Range and Accuracy
• Pronunciation
The criteria have equal weighting in their contribution to the final band, which is currently given as a whole band. From 1 July 2007, speaking Scores will be reported on a scale including half bands.

Fluency and Coherence
This refers to the candidate's ability to talk with normal levels of continuity, speech rate and effort, and to link ideas and language together in coherent, connected speech.

Lexical Resource
This refers to the range of vocabulary the candidate can use and how clearly meanings and attitudes can be expressed. This includes the variety of words used and the ability to get round a vocabulary gap by expressing the idea in a different way.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy
This refers to the range of structures available to the candidate and how accurately and appropriately s/he can use them. Assessment takes into account the length and complexity of utterances as well as the effect of grammatical errors on communication.

Pronunciation
This refers to the candidate's ability to produce comprehensible utterances and to use a range of pronunciation features to communicate meaning. Assessment takes into account the amount of strain caused to the listener, and the noticeability of influence.

 

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