IELTS consists of four components, respectively listening, reading, writing and speaking, and the total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. Each component will be scored independently, and these individual scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an overall band score (the fractional part is rounded to the nearest one or half point, that is, if the average score is 6.125, the IELTS score will be counted as 6). The score of each component will be listed in the Test Report Form, so will be the overall score. The total score of IELTS is 9. The test results will be informed to the candidates 10 working days after the test. The results are valid for two years.

IELTS (international English language testing system) is a test of English communication skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, an English language proficiency test for people who plan to study or work in an English-speaking country or region.

IELTS has a history of more then 20 years since it entered China in 1989, which is an English test that has been examined and is reliable. It provides a reliable and authoritative test method around the world to test the ability of candidates to communicate in English in a real language environment.

In 2011, there were 1.7 million of IELTS tests held worldwide, which is increased by 12% comparing with 2010, reaching a new peak in the history and further establishing the status of IELTS as the most popular high-end English language test in the world. The number of IELTS tests held has been increasing for 17 continuous years, and has been tripled comparing with 2005.


A variety of accents and writing styles appears in writing to lessen the bias of the test to philology. The test focuses on international English, which is most obvious in the listening test. The accents in the listening test mainly include British accent, American accent, Australian accent and New Zealand accent, in comparison, TOEFL focuses more on north American English (American English and Canadian English). Therefore, more people and organizations consider the IELTS to be more authoritative then the TOEFL (especially those who are not in the US). IELTS test includes listening, speaking, reading and writing.

There are two models available: academic (A) and general training (G)

The academic test (class A) is for those who want to enter a university or other institution of higher education.

The general training test (class G) is for those who plan to start non-academic training, gain working experience, or aim at migration.

Each language skill (listening, speaking, reading and writing) has a corresponding score. The total score ranges from 1 (do not understand English) to 9 (native language expert). In case of absence from test, blank test paper, or cancellation of test results due to cheat in the test, the score will be 0.


There are 4 components of all IELTS tests generally needing two days. In the forenoon of the first day, all candidates shall take listening, reading and writing tests successively. The speaking component will be held in the afternoon of the first day or the forenoon of the second day. Generally, candidates from other cities will be preferentially arranged to take the test in the afternoon of the first day, so that they could leave on the same day of completing the test. At the beginning of the written test, the candidates will be given an answer sheet, of which the front and back are used to answer questions for listening and reading respectively.


The listening test coming first will take 45 minutes. The questions are divided into four parts. The first part is a conversation (generally between two people) set in an everyday social contest; the second part is a monologue set in an everyday social context (sometimes there may be another party, most commonly a presider, to guide the monologue); the third part is a conversation (between up to four people) set in an educational or training context; and the fourth part is a monologue on an academic subject. The difficulty of the four parts is increasing successively (to screen the elite, sometimes some sentences will be heavily accented or idiomatic). The first three parts will be usually divided into two sections to answer different questions respectively. The candidates will have a short period of time to review each recording (but because they will not be repeated, the answer shall be written immediately). It will take 30 minutes to play all the recordings, and there will be 10 minutes for candidates to write the answers down on the answer sheet. When the time is up, the examiner will collect the test paper and ask the candidates to turn over the answer sheet.


After the listening test, it is the reading test, which will take 60 minutes. The questions are divided into three parts. When the time is up, the examiner will collect both the test paper and the answer sheet.


After the reading test, it is the writing test, which will take 60 minutes. There will be two tasks, of which the first is picture composition (class A) or letter (class G) requiring 150 words; and the second is an essay requiring 250 words.


The speaking test is conducted on a one-on-one basis. The examiner will firstly ask some personal questions of the candidates and select a topic to talk about. To a certain extent, the examiner will present a question card and request the candidates to answer the question and expound appropriately for no less than one minute. Finally, the examiner will have a discussion on some in-depth topics with the candidates to assess the coping abilities of the candidates. The total time it taken will be 14 minutes.

The test is divided into three parts:

Part 1: the candidate and the examiner will make self-introduction. Then, the candidate will answer general questions about himself, including home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.

Part 2: the candidate will be given a topic and some hints to talk about. The candidate will have one minutes to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.

Part 3: the examiner and the candidate will discuss some more profound topics which are related to topics in Part 2. This part lasts between four and five minutes.

Time length:

The test will take about two hours and 45 minutes in total, including listening, reading and writing. Listening: 40 minutes, among which 30 minutes are used to play recordings and the remaining 10 minutes are for filling OMR answer sheet. Reading: 60 minutes. Writing: 60 minutes. Speaking: 11-14 minutes. (Note: reading and writing test do not set special period of time for filling the answer sheet).

The first three components of IELTS, listening, reading and writing, are completed on the same day, with no break in between them. The speaking component, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. The test center will advise.

Scoring Standard:

Listening and reading test are standardization tests, and will be scored according to how many questions are answered correctly. Scores are reported in whole and half bands. The writing and speaking test are scored by the examiner according to assessment criteria. The scores are reported in whole bands in the past, but form July 1, 2007, the scores of writing and speaking test are reported in whole and half bands. The scores of all four components are averaged and rounded to produce an overall band score.

International universities generally require the international undergraduates to have scores between 5.5 to 6.5, and the postgraduates to have scores between 6.0 to 7.5. Generally speaking, the language requirements of institutions of higher education in the US are higher than that of institutions of higher education in the British Commonwealth of Nations, while institutions of higher education in the British Commonwealth of Nations have more strict requirements for TOEFL scores.