IELTS – A Quick Guide:

Congratulations on taking the first step on your IELTS Journey!


  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work abroad where English is used as a language of communication. It tests all four aspects of communication viz, Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
  •  It uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency, from non-user (band score 1) to expert (band score 9). Most universities require that you score band 7 or above.
  •  In India, the test is organised by two organizations namely the IDP and the British Council. Irrespective of which of the two agents you choose, there are no differences in terms of the actual exam, which is set by the University of Cambridge.

Who is it for?

  • There are three major instances for which the IELTS exam is taken up:
  • To pursue higher education
  • To work in a country where English is the language of communication
  • Immigration

     Based on your purpose for taking up the exam, you can opt for either the Academic or General Test       

  • The most popular countries where the IELTS is accepted and in some situations even mandated are the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States of America.

What is the format for IELTS?

IELTS is one of the few tests that can be taken either as a paper-based test or a computer- based one. Both have their Pros and Cons.

As mentioned earlier, there are two types of IELTS exams – Academic and General. Academic is for those who would like to apply to Universities abroad while General would be for those pursuing Job opportunities in primarily English-Speaking countries.

The basic format for both these tests remain the same, i.e., the candidate will be tested on their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Only the subject matter of the reading and writing sections will differ based on which test is opted for.

IELTS Academic

  • For people who are applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking environment. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training.
  • There are three long texts for the reading section 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.
  • The writing segment will have two tasks, one to describe visual stimuli and the other to respond to an argument or problem.

IELTS General Training

  • For those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.
  • The reading section focusses on three aspects namely social context comprehension (comprehending notices, ads, etc.), workplace context (job descriptions, contracts, etc.) and general comprehension.
  • The writing section will have two tasks, one wherein you will be given a situation and asked to write a letter and the other wherein you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem.

Test Length and Duration:

The total test time for both tests is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The listening, reading and writing sections are completed on the same day with no breaks in between them whereas the speaking section, which is usually a face-to-face, fairly informal interview, can be completed anywhere between a week before or after the other sections (as advised by your test centre).

The time split-up goes like this:

Listening → 30 minutes for four recordings

Reading → 60 minutes for 3 sections

Writing → 60 minutes for 2 tasks

Speaking → 3 parts in 11-14 minutes


As of February 2020, taking up the test in Chennai will cost you Rs.13,250. Pricing for Training and study materials vary. At Success Next, we customize the training program to suit an individual’s requirement and their baseline score. We recommend a 40-hour course for most students.

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