An Essential Overview Of The IELTS Test Format For You

English has been recognised as a global language that can bridge people from different places and allow them to express themselves clearly. Thus, due to its presence in every corner of the world, your horizons will expand if you take it up as a second language.

If you’re already way ahead on that front by being enrolled in English classes in Singapore, then congratulations! Getting acquired with the language is undoubtedly commendable, although if you wish to study or work in English speaking countries, you’ll need to show proficiency in the language. Taking the IELTS tests is the best way to prove proficiency since the qualification is recognised by top universities and companies worldwide. So to get an idea of what the IELTS entails, read on to find out each of its categories and respective objectives.

IELTS Test Format

The IELTS course has four core test units, namely: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

The listening and speaking units are the same for IELTS General Training and Academic modules. However, the writing and reading units differ in structure between the two modules. The following section explains the four basic units in the IELTS course.

1. IELTS Listening Unit

In this section, you’ll be assessed by your understanding of conversations and the messages being conveyed. As you will only have one chance to listen to all these sections, it’s recommended to take notes while listening.

Key objectives of the listening unit:

– Demonstrate an understanding of both professional and academic discourse such as lectures
– Pick out main points and differentiate relevant details of an academic or formal passage
– Listen and comprehend information
– Understand question types in the listening section and how to address each one of them

2. IELTS Reading Unit

The reading section tests your reading comprehension skills with three consecutive reading passages that will increase in difficulty. These passages are typically taken from journals, newspapers, magazines and books. You will then be tasked with answering forty questions related to the passages you’ve read.

Key objectives of the reading unit:

– Grasp different academic terms, texts and types
– Demonstrate skimming skills
– Identify critical elements in a passage and, where needed, reproduce the aspects in writing

3. IELTS Speaking Unit

The speaking unit aims at testing your ability to speak proficient English. It consists of three parts. In the first two tests, you’ll be given a topic to speak at length for two minutes, with one minute of preparation time. The third part consists of an extended discussion based on the earlier parts.

Key objectives of the speaking unit:

– Demonstrate general speaking skills
– Show capacity to speak in a university seminar or business meeting
– Exhibit skills of expressing, formulating, and defending opinions using appropriate words and correct grammar

4. IELTS Writing Unit

This is the most advanced unit of the IELTS and it consists of two tasks. If you can pen your thoughts into writing, then your English proficiency is unquestionably good.

Key objectives of the writing unit:

– Write a minimum of 150 and 250 words for Task 1 and 2, respectively
– Describe and interpret graphs, charts and statistics using the English language for the IELTS Academic module
– Write a letter directed to a particular person
– Write essays (either descriptive, expository, narrative, etc.) responding to the topic introduced, explaining one’s position and supporting the answer with examples


The IELTS is one of the best English assessment tests since its certification is widely recognised by many prominent entities and institutes all over the globe. If you want to work abroad or be qualified for more positions that require proficiency in English, begin your journey towards certification by enrolling in IELTS classes in Singapore today!


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