IELTS FAQ

Reading

How many reading passages are there?


The test is divided into 3 sections. Each section contains 10-14 questions. You’ll have to attempt 40 questions in 1 hour.




What kind of topics to expect on the reading test?


There are various topics that one can practice not to mention the length is long too. These passages are usually taken up from books, magazines, journals, reports and newspapers. The ielts IELTS General and Academic tests consists of topics ranging from subjects on History, Science, Environment and many more. Technical terms, “haven’t heard it before” words and visual images are common as well.




How long should I spend solving each section?


One should spend 20 minutes each. The difficulty of the passage progresses, in other words, passage 1 is the easiest whereas last being the hardest. However, with practice, one can easily score.




When should I transfer my answers?


It is crucial to write down answers straight to the answer sheet given. There will NOT be any extra time given to you.




Can I write on the question paper?


Of course you can! One can underline, make notes, highlight anyway possible. The only paramount thing to remember here is, to write answers ONLY on the answer sheet.




Should I fill in my answers in capital letters or small?


It really depends on what you are comfortable at. Writing in capital letters is recommended since it makes you clear with your spellings. It is completely okay to use small letters too, yet again clarity is important.




Is capitalization of the first word necessary if I choose to write in small letters?


No. There are no extra marks given for writing China instead of china. Both are considered okay. And you will be marked correct.




Is spelling important?


More than anything. One would only be marked on the usage of correct spellings. Letters should be readable.




What should I use, pen or pencil?


One is going to use a pencil for all three modules since it is easy to erase and at the same time the answer sheet would look neat too. Note: You are marked down if your writing is illegible.




How are the scores calculated?


You will be given one mark for each correct answer. There is no negative marking in ielts. The criteria of giving scores is different for General IELTS




Do I lose a score if my answer is wrong?


No. There is no negative marking in IELTS, however, one should never leave a space even if they don’t know the answer. It’s recommended to guess.




Can I write only “T” instead of “True” for T/F/NG questions?


Abbreviation is normally accepted in IELTS. However, it is always suggested to follow the instructions during the test. Moreover, it would just take seconds of your time to write as instructed. The instructions in the test are important to be followed.




How can I improve my reading skills?


There are numerous ways where one can work upon to improve their reading abilities. The key to score good marks in your reading test is that you should be entirely familiar with the QUESTION TYPES. Flourishing your existing reading skills more will surely help. Please follow this link in order to know more. There are tons of materials and tips that we impart here at our website. Goodluck!





Writing

*Note


1. There are various Report writing questions that come under Academic Task 1. They are categorised into - Bar Charts, Line Graphs, Pie Charts, Tables, Maps, Diagrams, Flowcharts, Layouts and so on. 2. For General Training, the student gets to write a Letter. It can be Formal, Informal or a Semi- Formal Letter. 3. Based on the exam the student takes, he/she gets a question based on the types given above and are required to write at least 150 words on it. 4. Task 2, on the other hand asks you to write an Essay for not less than 250 words. For both Academic and General, Task 2 is the same. 5. The test is 1 hour long, one is advised to give 20 minutes to the first part and at least 40 minutes to the second since it carries more weightage than the first.




What is the criteria for marking Task 1?


What is the criteria for marking Task 1 and Task 2? Task 2 holds two-third of the weightage whereas task 1 is one-third.




How is the academic paper and general training paper in Task 1 different from each other?


In an academic paper you need to write a report based on the chart given whereas for a general training paper, you have to write a letter.




Does task 1 in the academic paper marked the same way as in the general training paper task 1?


Yes, there is no difference in evaluation.




How much time should I give to writing task 1?


It is very essential that one manages time on both the tasks. It is highly recommended to spend 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2. If one fails to use the said time, there might be chances of submitting an incomplete answer sheet.




Can I take more than 20 minutes on Task 1?


It is really up to you. However, 20 minutes is suggested for Task 1 and not more than that.




Are spellings also checked?


Yes. And it is a must to pay attention to all the spellings. The examiner will most definitely check all the mistakes.




Shall I put all the information in writing an overview for the question given in Task 1?


An overview is something where you just give an overall idea. Summary of the most important points is called an overview. It shouldn’t be very long. The main purpose behind writing an overview is to give the examiner an idea what he/she will be reading in the paragraphs.




Should I stick with the word limit?


Yes. Not sticking to the minimum word count attracts penalties. One can write more if they wish to, considering the appropriateness and time availability.




Should I count the number of words I have written?


No, but an approximate word count is always better to avoid the penalty of writing underlength. However, before taking the test you should practice the writing module enough times to be able to know the word limit without actually wasting time during the exam.




Can I choose to write a letter instead of report on data provided?


No, candidates do not have the option to choose. On the basis of which module you sit for, you are obliged to do as the paper tells you to.




What is IELTS Writing Task 2?


IELTS Writing Task 2 is where you need to write an essay. There is a minimum word limit to the essay which is 250 words and if you write your response to the topic given in the question in less than 250 words you will get a lower band score.




How long does writing Task 2 take?


It is advised to take 40 minutes to plan and write your essay.




Can I spend more than 40 minutes on my essay?


It is up to you how well you can manage your time. Giving at least 40 minutes is highly recommended since a lot of thought process is also involved.




Should I write Task 1 or Task 2 first?


Again, it is your choice to attempt whichever you want first. Many students prefer to write task 1 first, however; it is really up to you which one you would like to do




Is there any difference between General Training writing task 2 and the academic task 2?


There might be a very slight difference in the selection of the topic of the essay, however, everything apart from it is similar (format, style of writing, evaluation and so on)




How is task 2 marked?


An examiner will assess you on your ability to respond, organise your ideas, vocabulary and grammar skills.




How long should my essay be?


The world limit is 250 words, so you must write at least 250 words or more if you want. Note: if you fail to write the instructed limit, you will get a lower band score since your response to the task is unfinished.




What kinds of topics shall I practice?


There are so many topics one can practice on our website. Also, some common topics that appear frequently in the test too. You can also get in touch with our experts who have years of experience in teaching ielts.




Are spellings also checked?


Yes. And it is a must to pay attention to all the spellings. The examiner will most definitely check all the mistakes.




Can I use a pen or pencil or writing?


Writing your essay with a pencil is a safe way since you can erase any errors. Note: The examiner expects your answer sheet to look clear and readable.




Am I allowed to ask for extra paper?


Without a doubt! One should raise their hand if an extra sheet is required but should be avoided as it wastes your precious time of the exam.




Can I get ielts writing answer sheets online to practice?


Yes, you can. In fact, it is essential to practice writing on it before one sits for the exam. This will also help in estimating the word limit required for the tasks.




How do I get better at writing before I book my exam?


You can practice daily by examining your weak areas. We have plenty of materials on our website for you to start as well. Moreover, one can book their preferred time slots to have a one on one interaction with the best ielts experts here at our website. Good luck!





Listening

*Note?


Listening test format for both Academic and General IELTS is the same. Interested candidates have the option to choose from Computer-delivered for Paper-based ielts while they book their test online. 1. The time that is given to transfer the answers is less if you choose a Computer-delivered test. Since during the test, you will type directly as you’d listen for answers. Only extra 2 minutes will be provided to you to review your answers.
2. If you wish to take a Paper-based test, during your listening module, you will have extra 10 minutes to write down your correct answers. Few small changes from 4 January 2020 were introduced and YOU are required to be fully aware of these. 1. The word “section” is removed and changed to “part”. You will see the test divided into Part 1,2,3,4. 2. Earlier there used to be an example played before part 1, however; NO example will be played now. You will be guided to part 1 directly. 3. The page number reference is also removed. 4. Listening test format for both Academic and General IELTS is the same. Interested candidates have the option to choose from Computer-delivered for Paper-based IELTS while they book their test online. 5. The time that is given to transfer the answers is less if you choose a Computer-delivered test. Since during the test, you will type directly as you’d listen for answers. Only extra 2 minutes will be provided to you to review your answers. 6. If you wish to take a Paper-based test, during your listening module, you will have extra 10 minutes to write down your correct answers in the separate answer sheet provided.




How many sections are there in the IELTS listening test?


The test is divided into 4 sections. The first two sections deal with general social situations and the last two are more Academic.




What will I be listening to in each section?


Section 1 and 2 are audios about daily social situations on the other hand Section 3 and 4 audios are more academic in nature. PART 1, for instance, could be a conversation between a person and a travel agency or between a librarian and a student whereas PART 2 is generally monologue, for instance, you might listen to someone giving a speech or explaining something. PART 3 is an academic conversation between two main speakers or more. The last PART 4 is also an academic conversation by one speaker. The difficulty also increases as you move on.




How long is the listening test?


The test is 30 minutes long. You will be given extra 10 minutes to transfer your answer to the answer sheet. NOT MORE than that. The recordings are played once ONLY. Hence, it is extremely crucial to pay attention to the recordings. Even if you miss an answer, quickly get on to the next set of questions.




How many questions are there?


There are a total of 40 questions. You will get 10 questions for each part.




Can I play the recording again?


The recordings are played ONCE only. There is no repetition for any section. Make sure you are well prepared and focused on the test day. The student does not have any control over ‘start’, ‘stop’, or ‘pause’ for the audio.




What  kind of answer sheet will I get? Is it the same as reading?


You will get one answer sheet. The front would be used for LISTENING ONLY and the back side of it is strictly for READING ONLY. Do not get yourself confused with this. Write only where you are requested to. Note: Extra 10 minutes is given to students to transfer answers in the sheet for the listening test ONLY. One can also download sample answer sheets to practice.




Do I lose a score if my answer is wrong?


Yes. You will get marks for answers that are correct ONLY. One should never leave a space even if they don’t know the answer since there is NO negative marking. It’s recommended to guess. Always guess for questions you are not sure off.




Will I get answers in order?


Yes, the questions are in sequence of the audios.




Will I have time to read the questions before I listen for answers?


Yes. You most certainly will. Before each recording, as you move towards the next set of questions, you will have some time to read the questions. Note: Practice managing your time well in advance




Can I write on the question paper?


Absolutely. In fact you are going to write answers on the question paper ONLY in the blank space provided while you hear the recordings. Then extra 10 minutes would be given to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. One can highlight keywords, write anywhere, make notes, and do whatever in order to listen for correct answers. Note: Only your answer sheet would be marked. So make sure you use those 10 minutes wisely.




Can I get another sheet for making notes?


No. You will write on the question paper ONLY besides one does not need an extra sheet. Note: After you have finished listening quickly transfer your answers and keep sometime for yourself to review them.




Should I fill in my answers in capital letters or small?


It really depends on what you are comfortable at. Writing in capital letters is recommended since it makes you clear with your spellings. It is completely okay to use small letters too, yet again clarity is important.




Is capitalization of the first word necessary if I choose to write in small letters?


No. There are no extra marks given for writing China instead of china. Both are considered okay. And you will be marked correct.




What should I use, pen or pencil?


One is going to use a pencil for all three modules since it is easy to erase and at the same time the answer sheet would look neat too. Note: You are marked down if your writing is not readable.




What kinds of questions do I need to practice?


The listening test consists of a lot of various questions. In general there are 6-14 common types. One needs to utilise their time well in advance to practice all the types. Please open this link to understand more.




Which accents will be heard during the test?


IELTS is an International English Language Test designed to evaluate aspirants. So you will hear a lot of different accents. Although, not all accents will be used in one test. However, accents from British English, American English, Australian English are expected to be heard. Note: Make sure one solves plenty of sample papers before the exam date.




Should I use American spellings or British Spellings?


You can stick with one from both. For instance, both colour and color would be marked correct, since it is an International English test. However, stick with ONE from both. Same goes with the writing module.




Are spellings really checked?


More than anything. One would only be marked on the usage of correct spellings. Letters should be legible.




How is the score calculated?


You will receive one mark for each correct answer. There are a total of 40 questions. Please open this link to understand what band you will receive on the basis of your accurate answers.




Are articles necessary?


Yes. As you make yourself aware with the type of questions asked, one will get a good idea where to put which article. Note: One needs to be grammatically accurate. Please follow this link to practice sample lessons with us.




What counts as a word or a number or combination of both?


It is especially told to candidates to read the instructions carefully as missing on these would cost you low marks. Questions where you need to write one word or a number or combination of both should be answered the way they are asked. For instance, dates, times and numbers, all count as one word. 1000 is one word, 5PM is one word, 21.12.2020 is one word, 6 millions is a combination of both, 55% is one word whereas 55 percent is a combination of both. Note: Reading instructions carefully is super necessary. And one should not exceed the word limit apart from what is asked.




How do I improve my listening skills?


Without giving plenty of tests, it will be utterly silly to give the real exam. Although, it really depends on your level of english. Nevertheless, we recommend you to practice as much as you can. The pressure on the test day is too much to handle hence, relaxing your mind is one important deed. Practice a lot beforehand. There are experts on our website who make sure the candidate is fully prepared before the showtime. Please follow this link to know more. Goodluck!





Speaking

How many parts are there in the speaking test?


There are 3 parts to the speaking test. Part 1 is where an examiner will ask you basic questions about yourself more like a general introduction. A simple question answer round. Part 2 is cue card round with a topic written on a piece of paper and corresponding questions related to it. Part 3 is where more similar questions associated with the cue card topic are asked. A broader discussion is followed in this round.




How long will I be examined on my speaking abilities?


The speaking test can extend to 14 minutes or so and not more than that. In total, it takes about 11-14 minutes. Part 1 and 3 lasts for about 4-5 mins while Part 2 is 3-4 mins. Timings of the test are monitored by the examiner.




How will my english be marked?


The speaking test is marked on various parameters such as fluency, pronunciation, vocabulary usage and so on.




What are the topics for the speaking test?


Honestly, there are so many topics that are asked in the speaking test. Please follow this link to get your hands on some common topics for all three parts.




How many questions will the examiner ask?


In Part 1, a candidate could be asked 11-12 questions based on different topics. Part 2 is a cue card round where a timer is set for 1 minute for you to prepare your answers and then 1-2 minutes to speak on the topic given. In the last part, somewhere around 5 or more questions will be asked.




Is it necessary to talk for about 2 minutes in the cue card round?


Yes. A student should aim for not less than 1.5 minutes to speak on the topic, as this will showcase your abilities to talk in the language. It is always recommended to continue speaking on the topic even if one can not think of anything more to say. The best tip is to add up whatever relevant information you can gather in your mind at that point of time and speak. Note: Don’t try to push yourself too hard during the cue card round since the stress level is way too high. Just be calm without thinking of the time.




What happens if i continue to talk for more than 2 minutes?


The IELTS speaking test is designed and controlled strictly. The examiner will stop you right there when the time is up and then part 3 will begin.




Can I choose a topic of my own interest during the cue card round?


Absolutely not. The examiner will give you a topic to speak on and the lists of prompts.




Can I change my topic and ask for another one?


One must talk on the topic given by the examiner. No choice is given here.




Do I have to follow the order of the prompts on the cue card?


Not really. The prompts are for you to present a more structured answer. It is up to you to follow them in the order they are given on the cue card or not. Your fluency is marked plus other parameters too. Note: A good structure makes less confusing statements.




How are Part 1 and Part 3 different?


Part 1 is more like an interview where the examiner will ask you questions about yourself, your country, place where you live etc. In this part the examiner will try to know you better to make conversion based on general topics. This is more like a short question-answer round. The last Part 3 is where topics will get wider to make longer discussion. More complex questions will be asked in this round. You are expected to NOT give short answers only instead detailed answers are what an examiner would expect in this round.




Should I give examples?


Yes. Especially during Part 3 since this is a discussion round. Give as many relevant examples as you can and try to make your conversation detailed.




What if I don't understand the question asked to me while sitting for the test?


You can always ask the examiner to repeat any question you find difficult to understand; however, only the question is repeated. For instance in Part 1, if you think you don’t get the question asked, you can always ask the examiner to repeat it. The examiner will not help you or explain thoroughly the whole question though. Part 2 is already a time-bound round so it’s better to just go with whatever information one has on the topic and the prompt given. No help is conferred here. In Part 3, you can ask the examiner to help you explain the question by simply saying, “I am sorry, but could you please explain that again”.




Will I get a low band score if I ask the examiner to repeat the question?


No, this won’t affect your band. However, don’t do it for each and every question asked. Asking to repeat the question two or three times is considered alright.




What can I do if I don’t have ideas to present in Part 3?


First of all, it is really fine if one has no clue on what is being asked. In fact it is very common to stumble upon a question you have no thoughts on. For instance an examiner asks you, “why do humans matter”. If you get this sort of question on which you have nothing to say just simply present your answer like, “Honestly, I have never really thought about it. I think humans are unique in their own way, but I can’t say why out of all living creatures they matter the most”. This answer is still considered good since you are using a good range of language.




Does accent matter in IELTS Speaking?


A person is not marked on the accent. As long as the examiner understands your scale of the language you are good to go. Even if you use an accent and that prevents the examiner from grasping what you are trying to say, you will lose marks drastically. Note: Being pleasant in your own language is always appreciated since clarity is really crucial in the speaking test.




Should I be worried if an examiner interrupts my answer?


There could be many reasons where an examiner might interrupt you and not let you finish. There are three common areas where this could happen. Firstly, the speaking test is controlled very precisely. There is a limit to each part therefore an examiner must move on to the next set of questions. Secondly is, when an examiner is pleased with the language in your answer and wants to move on quickly to another part to test your skills more. Thirdly, when your answer has gone off topic and this is where the examiner might interrupt you by asking a new question. So, if the examiner interrupts your answer, just don’t fret about it. Try to focus on the next question asked and be confident.




Can I ask the examiner questions about his/her views?


No. This is your language test, the examiner sitting in front of you wants to hear your views and opinions.




Should I correct my mistakes while making conversation with the examiner during my speaking test?


It is okay to correct some mistakes while talking but keep in mind to not make it often. Your fluency is tested, so stopping every time to correct an answer would result in a lower band score.




How should I greet the examiner?


Well, it doesn't really matter how well you greet the examiner since he/she will be greeting you and do an ID check, the moment you would sit down for your speaking test. However, just a simple “May I come in” or a salutation for the day is more than enough.




What should I wear for my speaking test?


Being comfortable and relaxed throughout the speaking test will surely help you in scoring admirable scores. Wear whatever you want. The IELTS Speaking test is not a formal interview, it is only a test meant to assess your language skills by an english language expert.




What happens if I include extra information to the answer?


The examiner sits in the speaking room with a long list of questions that he/she can ask to the candidate. So it is considered alright even if one would add extra information that would answer the next set of questions. The examiner has lots of questions to ask. Note: Never worry about adding more information as this wouldn’t affect the questions set by an examiner.




Am I being judged on my body language?


Not really judging a candidate on his/her body language is what an ielts expert would try to notice. However, fidgeting too much is obviously a sign of nervousness and that will impact your score, since the examiner will know something is wrong. A candidate is suggested to remain as calm as possible and be natural the way he/she is. The examiner is only and mainly interested in the abilities of how well you use the language. It is entirely your own choice if you want to use body language or not.




How do I practice for my speaking test?


There are tons of ways to start with your speaking test simply by practicing at home in front of the mirror or by recording your own answers and listening to it. If you want us to assist you in making a remarkable impact in your speaking test, then please join our live sessions/ interactive classes given by some world’s best experts on ielts. Goodluck!