The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is designed to help you work, study or migrate to a country where English is the native language. This includes countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and USA. One’s ability to listen, read, write and speak in English will be assessed during the test.
The order of the IELTS test varies based on the mode of exam. The sequence in which the sections appear in the test are as follows.
Computer-delivered IELTS: Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking (before or after test)
Paper-Based IELTS: Writing, Reading, Listening, Speaking (same day or 7 days before or after test)
Scoring: Band score on a scale of 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest) for each band.
Overall score- Average of four section band scores (1 to 9)
No. of Questions- 40
Time- 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes transfer time)
Scoring- 1 mark each for correct answers, no negative marking
This section is comprised of four recorded monologues and conversations.
Recording 1- Dialogues between two people based on social context
Recording 2- Monologue based on social issues
Recording 3- Conversation between up to four people about education/ training
Recording 4- Monologue on academic subjects such as a university lecture
The type of questions asked in the test includes:
Candidates have to listen to the recordings and answer the questions carefully. They will hear the recordings only once and it can be in different accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand, and North American.
In paper-based IELTS, there is a 10-minute transfer time given for the candidates to record their answers on the sheet whereas in a computer-delivered test the transfer time is 2 minutes. It is crucial for the candidate to be careful of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes as marks are deducted for the same.
Skills such as one’s ability to understand the opinions and attitudes of speakers, follow-up conversation and development of ideas, the purpose of utterance, and detailed factual information are assessed through the test.
Assessors will be looking for evidence of 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.
Task types: A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following: multiple choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labelling, form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion, sentence completion.
Task type 1 – Multiple choice
Task type and format: In multiple choice tasks, there is a question followed by three possible answers, or the beginning of a sentence followed by three possible ways to complete the sentence. Test takers are required to choose the one correct answer - A, B or C.
Sometimes, test takers are given a longer list of possible answers and told that they have to choose more than one. In this case, they should read the question carefully to check how many answers are required.
Task type 2 – Matching
Task type and format: Test takers are required to match a numbered list of items from the listening text to a set of options on the question paper. The set of options may be criteria of some kind.
Task type 3 – Plan, map, diagram labelling
Task type and format: Test takers are required to complete labels on a plan (eg of a building), map (eg of part of a town) or diagram (e.g. of a piece of equipment). The answers are usually selected from a list on the question paper.
Task type 4 – Form, note, table, flow-chart, summary completion
Task type and format: Test takers are required to fill in the gaps in an outline of part or of all of the listening text. The outline will focus on the main ideas/facts in the text. It may be:
1. A form: often used to record factual details such as names
2. A set of notes: used to summarize any type of information using the layout to show how different items relate to one another
3. A table: used as a way of summarizing information which relates to clear categories – e.g. place/time/price,
4. A flow-chart: used to summarize a process which has clear stages, with the direction of the process shown by arrows.
Task type 5 – Sentence completion
Task type and format: Test takers are required to read a set of sentences summarizing key information from all the listening text or from one part of it. They then fill a gap in each sentence using information from the listening text. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN ONE WORD AND/OR A NUMBER’.
Task type 6 – Short-answer questions
Task type and format: Test takers are required to read a question and then write a short answer using information from the listening text.
In all the above question types, there may be specific instructions regarding NUMBER OF WORDS and/or NUMBER OF CORRECT OPTIONS TO CHOOSE. Candidates are required to read the instructions carefully. A word limit is given, for example, ‘NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER’. Test takers are penalized for writing more than the stated number of words. Contracted words will not be tested. Hyphenated words count as single words.
You will see a map (of a city, or college, or something simple) and hear instructions that help you navigate through it. You will hear directions as follows:
· Go straight for/on; Keep going
· At the top / at the bottom / In the middle / at the center
· Turn left/right; On the left / on the right; Left hand side / right hand side
· South / North / East / West; Clockwise/anticlockwise
· Head (South / North / East / West) on; Keep going up / move up
· Southeast / Southwest / Northeast / Northwest
· To the north / to the south / to the east / to the west
· Opposite / in front of / behind
· Above / below; Inside / outside; In front of / Behind
· A little before/after; Just beyond / a little beyond / just past; Next to / alongside / Near to
· When you get to
Your task will be to identify which place is where. Basically, match the numbers on the map with the different options of places given separately.
A distractor is a word or a phrase that changes or corrects the original piece of information given:
The shop next to the bakery was a newsagent but it’s now been replaced by a charity shop.
In the original design, the café and bookshop were next to each other. However, the plans were changed to locate the bookshop by the exit.
When the alterations are carried out, the storeroom will become an office. No, sorry. That’s been altered. It will be the new staffroom.
No. of Questions- 40
Time- 60 minutes
Scoring- 1 mark each for correct answers
This section is comprised of three sections including three long paragraphs each which could be factual, descriptive, or analytical. Each section may be comprised of 10-17 questions.
The texts are usually taken from magazines, journals, newspapers, books, research, and online resources with topics for a non-specialist audience. Glossary will be given for unknown vocabulary.
The types of questions asked include:
Candidates shall record their answers on the sheet after reading the passages. No extra time will be given in this test unlike in the Listening test.
Paper format: There are three sections. Section 1 may contain two or three short texts or several shorter texts. Section 2 comprises two texts. In Section 3, there is one long text.
No. of Tasks- 02
Time- 60 minutes
Scoring- Task 2 contributes twice as much as Task 1 to marking score
Task 1: Test takers are asked to respond to a situation, for example, by writing a letter requesting information or explaining a situation. Test takers should spend no more than 20 minutes on this task. They are asked to write at least 150 words and will be penalized if their answer is too short. While test takers will not be penalized for writing more than 150 words, they should remember that a longer Task 1 answer may mean that they have less time to spend on Task 2, which contributes twice as much to the Writing band score.
Task 2: Test takers write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Test takers are asked to write at least 250 words and will be penalized if their answer is too short. They should spend no more than 40 minutes on this task.
Example: Should pocket money be given to children before they reach high school.
Task 1 responses are assessed on:
• Task achievement
• Coherence and cohesion
• Lexical resource
• Grammatical range and accuracy.
Task 2 responses are assessed on:
• Task response
• Coherence and cohesion
• Lexical resource
• Grammatical range and accuracy
Examiners assess candidates based on four criteria:
No. of parts- 03
Time- 11 to 14 minutes
Part 1 - The examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. Questions on familiar topics such as family, friends, work, home, and interests.
Example Question: Do you like art?
Your answer should cover:
1. Yes or No (Preferably yes).
2. What kind of art you like (Paintings, sketches, music, dance, etc.).
3. Why do you like that form of art.
4. Do you practice it, or intend to learn it.
5. Some trivia about it, like popular artists who are associated with it.
(Ideally, keep it a little personal to let the interviewer know more about you)
Part 2 - You will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic (citing your own experience and understanding) at length. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
Example Question: Describe a piece of art that you like?
Your answer should cover:
1. The name of the art (The Monalisa)
2. The name of the artist
3. Where you saw it
4. Why you like it
(Ideally, keep it more 60% about specific details of the art and 40% about your connection with it. It lets the interviewer know that you can articulate your experiences and thought about other things, and a bit about whether you can go into depth of topics comfortably)
Part 3 - This part of the test focuses on the ability to analyze issues, express and justify opinions and to analyze, discuss and speculate about issues. You will be asked further questions related to the topic in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between 4-5 minutes.
The questions could be in the lines of:
1. Is there something specific that you look for in an art?
2. Should art be taught at school?
3. Does the artist’s background influence your inclination towards an art?
4. What makes great art?
5. How can art be relevant in today’s digital age?
6. How is art evolving in your country?
(Ideally, try to answer the follow up questions directly. Elaborate on it to clarify any ambiguity. You can express your opinion on certain topics, but make sure you state legitimate reasons for it. Do not overdo, overstretch or overemphasize. The idea is to make the interviewer understand that you can think on your feet and articulate answers to counterquestions relatively comfortably)
The examiner assesses candidates based on four criteria:
10 hours @ Rs 7,000/-
20 hours @ 15,000/-
1. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: It's better to hold onto what you have than to risk losing it by chasing after something else.
2. A blessing in disguise: Something that seems bad or unfortunate at first, but ultimately has a positive outcome.
3. A dime a dozen: Something that is common and easy to find.
4. A drop in the bucket: Something that is insignificant in the context of a larger problem or situation.
5. A fool and his money are soon parted: People who are careless with their money will quickly lose it.
6. A hot potato: A controversial or sensitive issue that people want to avoid or pass off to someone else.
7. A penny for your thoughts: A way of asking someone what they are thinking or feeling.
8. A picture is worth a thousand words: Visual images can often convey more meaning than words alone.
9. Actions speak louder than words: What someone does is more important than what they say.
10. Add insult to injury: To make a bad situation worse.
11. All ears: To listen attentively.
12. All thumbs: To be clumsy or inept.
13. Apple of my eye: Something or someone that is cherished or loved deeply.
14. Barking up the wrong tree: To make a mistake or pursue the wrong course of action.
15. Beat around the bush: To avoid addressing a topic directly.
16. Bite the bullet: To endure a painful or difficult situation without complaint.
17. Break a leg: A way of wishing someone good luck.
18. Butterflies in my stomach: Feeling nervous or anxious.
19. By the book: Doing things exactly according to the rules.
20. Call it a day: To stop working for the day.
21. Cast pearls before swine: To offer something valuable to someone who does not appreciate it.
22. Caught between a rock and a hard place: To be in a difficult or impossible situation.
23. Chew the fat: To have a casual conversation.
24. Close but no cigar: To come close to success but fall just short of it.
25. Cost an arm and a leg: To be very expensive.
26. Cross that bridge when you come to it: To deal with a problem only when it arises.
27. Cry over spilled milk: To lament something that cannot be changed.
28. Curiosity killed the cat: Being overly curious can lead to trouble.
29. Cut corners: To do something the easy or cheap way, even if it's not the right way.
30. Cut the mustard: To perform well or meet expectations.
31. Devil's advocate: To argue against someone's opinion or proposal in order to test its validity.
32. Don't count your chickens before they're hatched: Don't assume that something will happen before it actually does.
33. Don't put all your eggs in one basket: Don't rely on a single plan or idea to achieve success.
34. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater: Don't discard something good while getting rid of something bad.
35. Drop a bombshell: To announce something surprising or shocking.
1. Eat humble pie: To admit fault or wrongdoing and apologize.
2. Elephant in the room: A topic or issue that everyone is aware of but no one wants to discuss.
3. Every cloud has a silver lining: Every negative situation has a positive aspect to it.
4. Face the music: To accept the consequences of one's actions.
5. Fair-weather friend: Someone who is only supportive when things are going well.
6. Feather in your cap: An achievement or honor that someone can
7. Fighting a losing battle: Trying to achieve something that is almost certain to fail.
8. Fish out of water: Feeling uncomfortable or out of place in a new or unfamiliar environment.
9. Fit as a fiddle: In good physical health.
10. Flash in the pan: Something that appears impressive at first but fails to live up to expectations.
11. Fortune favours the bold: People who take risks are more likely to be successful.
12. Get a taste of your own medicine: To experience something that you have inflicted on others.
13. Get cold feet: To become nervous or hesitant about something.
14. Give the benefit of the doubt: To believe someone's claims or promises without proof.
15. Go against the grain: To do something in a way that is different from the norm.
16. Go out on a limb: To take a risk or make a bold move.
17. Good things come to those who wait: Being patient can lead to good outcomes.
18. Graveyard shift: Working late at night or overnight.
19. Great minds think alike: Smart people tend to have similar ideas or opinions.
20. Haste makes waste: Rushing things can lead to mistakes or poor results.
21. Have a chip on your shoulder: To be easily offended or defensive.
22. Head in the clouds: To be unrealistic or impractical.
23. Hear it on the grapevine: To hear a rumour or piece of gossip.
24. Hit the nail on the head: To be exactly right or accurate.
25. In a nutshell: To summarize something briefly.
26. In hot water: In trouble or facing consequences for one's actions.
27. In the nick of time: Just in time to avoid disaster or complete a task.
28. It takes two to tango: Both parties are responsible for a situation or conflict.
29. Jump on the bandwagon: To join a popular trend or movement.
30. Keep your chin up: To remain optimistic in the face of adversity.
31. Kick the bucket: To die.
32. Kill two birds with one stone: To accomplish two tasks at the same time.
33. Know the ropes: To be knowledgeable or experienced in a particular area.
34. Last straw: The final event or circumstance that leads to a decision or action.
35. Let sleeping dogs lie: To avoid stirring up trouble or controversy.
36. Live and learn: To gain knowledge or experience through mistakes or failures.
37. Long shot: Something that is unlikely to happen.
38. Loose cannon: Someone who is unpredictable or uncontrollable.
39. Make a long story short: To tell a story or explanation briefly.
40. Make ends meet: To earn enough money to cover one's expenses.
41. Miss the boat: To miss an opportunity.
42. Monkey see, monkey do: To imitate the actions of others.
43. Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
1. Nail down - to settle something conclusively
2. Name of the game - the most important aspect of a situation
3. Neck and neck - tied in a race or competition
4. Neck of the woods - a particular area or neighborhood
5. Nest egg - a sum of money saved for the future
6. Never say die - to never give up hope
7. New lease on life - a fresh start or opportunity
8. Nip in the bud - to stop something before it becomes a problem
9. No-brainer - a decision that is very easy to make
10. No dice - no, it's not possible
11. No hard feelings - no resentment or ill-will
12. No holds barred - without any restrictions or limitations
13. No laughing matter - a serious situation
14. No pain, no gain - effort and hard work are required to achieve success
15. No skin off my nose - it doesn't affect me
16. No sweat - no problem, it's easy
17. No time like the present - the best time to do something is now
18. No-brainer - a decision that is very easy to make
19. Not a leg to stand on - having no evidence or support for an argument
20. Not all it's cracked up to be - not as good as people say it is
21. Not by a long shot - not even close
22. Not playing with a full deck - not mentally competent
23. Not the sharpest tool in the shed - not very intelligent
24. Nothing to sneeze at - significant or noteworthy
25. Now and then - occasionally, from time to time
26. Nuts and bolts - the basic details or practical aspects of something
27. Nutty as a fruitcake - crazy or eccentric
28. Off the beaten path - away from the usual routes or paths
29. Off the top of my head - without preparation or research
30. On cloud nine - extremely happy or euphoric
31. On pins and needles - anxious or nervous
32. On the ball - alert, aware, and efficient
33. On the fence - undecided or neutral
34. On the same page - in agreement or understanding
35. On the wagon - abstaining from alcohol or other vices
36. Once in a blue moon - very rarely
37. One for the road - a final drink before leaving
38. Open a can of worms - to create a complicated or difficult situation
39. Out of the blue - unexpectedly or without warning
40. Out of the woods - free from danger or difficulty
41. Paint the town red - to go out and have a wild and enjoyable time
42. Penny for your thoughts - a request to know what someone is thinking
43. Piece of cake - something that is very easy to do
44. Play by ear - to handle a situation as it develops, without a plan
45. Pull someone's leg - to tease or joke with someone, often by saying something untrue
46. Pull the plug - to stop something, often suddenly and completely
47. Put all your eggs in one basket - to risk everything on one plan or idea
48. Put in a nutshell - to summarize something briefly
49. Put on a show - to behave in an exaggerated or dramatic way to impress or entertain others
50. Put the cart before the horse - to do things in the wrong order
51. Put up or shut up - to provide evidence to back up your claims, or stop talking about it
52. Put your foot in your mouth - to say something embarrassing or inappropriate
53. Put your money where your mouth is - to back up your claims with action or financial support
1. Quick on the draw - to be quick to react or respond to a situation
2. Quiet as a mouse - very quiet and unobtrusive
3. Quit cold turkey - to stop a habit or addiction suddenly and completely
4. Raining cats and dogs - raining heavily
5. Read between the lines - to infer a meaning that is not explicitly stated
6. Red herring - a distraction from the real issue or problem
7. Right as rain - perfectly fine or healthy
8. Read the riot act - to issue a stern warning or reprimand
9. Red letter day - a significant or memorable day
10. Red-handed - caught in the act of doing something wrong or illegal
11. Right off the bat - immediately or without delay
12. Rise and shine - a wake-up call to get out of bed and start the day
13. Rule of thumb - a general guideline or rule based on experience
14. Run a tight ship - to manage something efficiently and with strict control
15. Run-of-the-mill - ordinary or unremarkable
16. Safe and sound - unharmed and in good condition
17. Salt of the earth - a good, honest, and dependable person
18. Save face - to avoid embarrassment or loss of reputation
19. See eye to eye - to agree with someone
20. See the forest for the trees - to see the big picture, or the overall situation, rather than focusing on small details
21. Selling like hotcakes - selling quickly and in large quantities
22. Shoot the breeze - to have a casual and relaxed conversation with someone
23. Silver lining - a positive aspect of a negative situation
24. Sink or swim - to succeed or fail on one's own merits
25. Sit tight - to wait patiently and remain in place until further instructions
26. Sleep on it - to delay making a decision until the following day, after careful consideration
27. Smell a rat - to suspect that something is wrong or suspicious
28. Smooth sailing - an easy and successful time, free of obstacles or challenges
29. Spick and span - very clean and tidy
30. Spill the beans - to reveal a secret or confidential information
31. Split hairs - to argue or quibble over small or unimportant details
32. Steal someone's thunder - to take credit for someone else's accomplishments or ideas
33. Smooth sailing - an easy and successful time, free of obstacles or challenges
34. Spick and span - very clean and tidy
35. Spill the beans - to reveal a secret or confidential information
36. Split hairs - to argue or quibble over small or unimportant details
37. Steal someone's thunder - to take credit for someone else's accomplishments or ideas
38. Smooth sailing - an easy and successful time, free of obstacles or challenges
39. Spick and span - very clean and tidy
40. Spill the beans - to reveal a secret or confidential information
41. Split hairs - to argue or quibble over small or unimportant details
42. Steal someone's thunder - to take credit for someone else's accomplishments or ideas
43. Smooth sailing - an easy and successful time, free of obstacles or challenges
44. Spick and span - very clean and tidy
45. Spill the beans - to reveal a secret or confidential information
46. Split hairs - to argue or quibble over small or unimportant details
47. Steal someone's thunder - to take credit for someone else's accomplishments or ideas
1. Take a rain check - to postpone an invitation or offer until a later time
2. Take the bull by the horns - to confront a difficult or challenging situation head-on
3. Take the cake - to be the most unusual, surprising, or impressive example of something
4. Take the plunge - to make a big decision or commitment
5. The ball is in your court - it is your turn to take action or make a decision
6. The devil's advocate - someone who argues against a position for the sake of debate or to explore alternative viewpoints
7. The elephant in the room - an obvious or awkward problem or issue that no one wants to discuss
8. The whole nine yards - everything or all the way
9. Throw in the towel - to give up or quit
10. Through thick and thin - through good times and bad times
11. Time flies - time seems to pass very quickly
12. Tit for tat - retaliation or revenge in kind
13. To be on the fence - to be undecided or neutral about something
14. To make a long story short - to summarize a long story or explanation
15. To make matters worse - to make a bad situation worse
16. Tongue-in-cheek - ironic or sarcastic, often with a humorous tone
17. Too big for your britches - overconfident or arrogant
18. Twist someone's arm - to persuade or pressure someone to do something they don't want to do
19. Two peas in a pod - very similar or identical
20. Under the weather - feeling sick or unwell
21. Until the cows come home - for a very long time
22. Up in arms - angry and ready to protest or fight
23. Up the ante - to increase the stakes or level of involvement in a situation
24. Uphill battle - a difficult or challenging struggle
25. Use your loaf - use your head or brain to think carefully
26. Variety is the spice of life - diversity and change make life more interesting and enjoyable
27. Walking on eggshells - being cautious and careful not to upset someone
28. Water under the bridge - something that has already happened and can't be changed
29. Wear your heart on your sleeve - to openly and publicly display your emotions
30. Wet behind the ears - inexperienced and naive
31. When pigs fly - something that will never happen
32. White elephant - a valuable possession that is difficult or expensive to maintain
33. Whole new ball game - a completely different situation
34. Wild goose chase - a hopeless or pointless search or pursuit
35. Win-win situation - a situation where both parties benefit
36. Wolf in sheep's clothing - someone who appears harmless but is actually dangerous or malicious
37. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink - you can give someone an opportunity, but you can't force them to take it
38. You can't judge a book by its cover - you can't determine the true value or quality of something based on its appearance alone
39. You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs - achieving something worthwhile often requires sacrifice or difficulty
40. Your guess is as good as mine - I don't know, and neither do you
41. Yellow-bellied - cowardly or lacking courage
42. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours - an agreement to help each other in a mutually beneficial way
43. Young at heart - having a youthful attitude or outlook, regardless of age
44. Your days are numbered - your time is running out or you are facing a negative consequence
45. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach - you have taken on more than you can handle or consume
46. Zero in on - to focus or aim directly at something
47. Zip your lip - to be quiet or stop talking