The IELTS test is considered one of the most important English language proficiency tests for non-native speakers around the world that is accepted and accredited in most of the countries. IELTS is needed for immigration to different countries like Canada and Australia, it is also needed for the application in most universities including the top ranking ones. We will discuss the different sections of the IELTS test, and how the grades could be calculated.
What are the sections of the IELTS test? How are grades calculated?
The IELTS test consists of four sections, Listening, reading, writing, and speaking sections. The IELTS organisation gives each section a score of 9, then all of your grades will be summed and divided by four to give the overall score. The overall score will indicate the level of English language proficiency as follows:
- Overall score of 9, indicates that you are an expert user.
- Overall score of 8, indicates that you are a very good user.
- Overall score of 7, indicates that you are a good English user.
- Overall score of 6, indicates that you are a competent English user.
- Overall score of 5, indicates that you are a modest English user.
- Overall score of 4, indicates that you are a limited English user.
- Overall score of 3, indicates that you are an extremely limited English user.
- Overall score of 2, indicates that you are an intermittent English user.
- Overall score of 1, indicates that you are a non-user.
Listening section is the first part in sections of the IELTS test, consists of four parts, and each part containing 10 questions. The time limit for answering those questions is 30 minutes, and may reach 34 minutes. There is no difference between the listening section in academic and general IELTS. The four parts of the listening section are as follow:
- The first part is a dialogue between two persons about daily life topics, like weather and daily plans.
- The second part is a monologue about a social topic.
- The third part is a dialogue between two persons about an academic topic. You should pay attention to the information found in this dialogue.
- The fourth part is a text about an academic topic. This text contains information like geographical locations or illustrations of some diagrams, you will be asked to remember this information to answer the questions about it.
Listening section questions differ between multiple choice questions, completing diagrams, matching, filling the spaces, and short answers questions. You will be given some time before the beginning of the listening section to read the questions, some time after the end of the listening record, and between the different parts of the test to revise your answers. Listening texts are given in the different English accents.
Reading section the second part in sections of the ielts test and consists of 3 texts, and 40 questions. The time of this section is 60 minutes. The reading section in the general IELTS is different from that of the academic one in the first and second parts which contains scientific information in the academic IELTS test more than the general one.
All the information found in the reading test is simple information aimed to measure your English language proficiency, and all specialties can understand it. The reading section in the IELTS test measures different skills, like skimming, screening and idea extraction. The type of questions differs between multiple choice questions, matching, giving title, completing the flow chart, and short answer questions.
Writing section is the third part in sections of the ielts test, consists of two tasks, and those two parts are different in academic IELTS than the general one. The time of the writing section is 60 minutes, while the first task consists of 150 words, and the second task consists of 250 words.
The first task in the academic writing section can be a text summarization, and giving an illustration about some diagrams or charts in not less than 150 words, the writing type here is the formal type only. The second task is giving an opinion, writing a discussion, or commenting about a certain topic in not less than 250 words. The topics of this section are scientific, and contain a lot of information, but suitable for all specialties, as the test measures only the English writing skills.
The first task in the general IELTS test is writing a letter in a response to a situation or to ask about something. The type of the letter has to be formal or semi-formal. The second task is giving an opinion or writing a comment about a certain topic.
The IELTS speaking test is the final part in sections of the ielts test and consists of three parts, as follows:
- The first part are general questions to introduce yourself and talking about your general interests. The time of this section is between four and five minutes.
- The second part is the cue card question. At this part you will be given a card that contains a topic, and you will be given one minute to think how to talk about it, then you have to talk about it for two minutes. You have to talk continuously and without repeating the same words.
- In the third part, the examiner will ask you some questions about the topic and the cue card, it looks like a discussion about the cue topic.
In the speaking section, you need to speak without any grammar mistakes, use a wide range of vocabulary, and keep eye contact with the examiner as there is an evaluation for this point.
There is usually a required overall score for immigration or for university application. You have to know the required overall score, and if there is a required score for each section or not.