Introduction to the IELTS Test and Some Tips for Preparation

The IELTS test has two forms: the Academic test (or module) and the General Training test (or module). The module that you take depends on the reason that you are taking it for. Generally speaking, the Academic Module is for those people who are trying to gain entry onto undergraduate or postgraduate education courses or for professional reasons. The General Training Module is for those people who wish to join some kinds of vocational or training courses, secondary schools or for immigration purposes.

Both Academic and General Training modules try and reflect real life situations to test whether a candidate would survive in English speaking social and academic environments. For example, the Part 2 section of the speaking asks candidates to talk, after 1 minute’s preparation, for 1 to 2 minutes on a given general topic. This would test General Training candidates to see if they could give a “work related presentation” to fellow work colleagues and would test Academic candidates if they can give a “university style presentation” to fellow students. It tests whether candidates have the English language capability to perform these tasks under some kind of pressure.

The IELTS test (both Academic and General Training modules) is divided into four parts: reading, writing, listening and speaking. The listening and speaking tests are exactly the same for the Academic and General Training modules but the reading and writing tests are different. Thus the test appears like this (in the order that you will take the different parts):

Listening4 sections; 40 questions. 30 minutes4 sections; 40 questions. 30 minutes
Reading3 sections; 40 questions
3 long texts
Time:1 hour
3 sections; 40 questions
3 long texts
1 hour
Writing2 tasks
Time:1 hour
2 tasks
1 hour
Speaking3 sections
Time:11 – 14 minutes
3 sections
11 – 14 minutes





This is a 1 hour test in 3 sections with 40 questions based on 1 reading text per section (ie: 3 reading texts). The length of the Academic reading test will be between 2000 and 2750 words. Candidates are given a question paper and an answer paper. They may write on the question paper but they may not remove it from the test room after the test. All answers must be put onto the reading answer sheet before the end of the hour – there is no extra time after the 1 hour set for the academic reading test for the transfer of answers to the answer paper.

A variety of question types is used. Questions types that you will see will usually come from the following list:

  • multiple choice
  • short answer
  • sentence completion
  • notes/summary/diagram/flow chart completion
  • choosing from a heading bank to identify paragraphs or parts of the text
  • identification of writers opinions/ideas – yes/no/not given
  • identification of information in the text – yes/no/not given OR true/false/not given
  • classification
  • matching lists or phrases

Texts are taken from magazines, journals, books and newspapers. Texts are for an undergraduate or postgraduate readership but assume NO specialist knowledge of the subject. All reading passage topics will be of general academic interest. At least one text will contain a logical argument. One text may include a diagram, graph or illustration. If there are any words or terms of a specialist technical nature, which candidates would not be expected to know, then a short glossary will be provided.



The AC writing test is of 1 hour duration. Candidates are required to do 2 tasks.

The Academic Writing Task 1 asks the candidate to describe in his or her own words factual information given to the candidate in pictorial form(s). The pictorial form(s) could be a line graph, a bar chart, a pie chart, a table or a picture describing a process. There could be a combination of these input forms. Candidates must write a minimum of 150 words.

The Academic Writing Task 2 asks the candidate to write an essay on a general academic topic. Candidates must write a minimum of 250 words.



The IELTS Academic Speaking Test is the same for both the AC and GT modules. The test is conducted with 1 examiner and 1 candidate. The Academic Speaking test is recorded. The Academic Speaking Test is divided into 3 sections.

Section 1 The Academic Speaking Test Section 1 begins with some general introductory questions. This is followed by some questions on personal information similar to the type of questions one would ask when meeting someone for the first time. Finally the examiner asks a series of questions of 2 topics of general interest. (4 – 5 minutes)

Section 2 The Academic Speaking Test Section 2 is a monologue (1 person speaking) by the candidate. The examiner will give the candidate a card with a subject and a few guiding questions on it. The student must talk for 1 to 2 minutes on this subject. The examiner decides on the exact length. The student has an optional 1 minute in order to prepare for his talk and is provided with some paper and a pencil in order to make some brief notes. After the candidate’s talk the examiner will ask 1 or 2 brief questions in order to finish off the section. (3 – 4 minutes)

Section 3 In the Academic Speaking Test section 3 the examiner will ask some more questions generally related to the subject spoken about in section 2. These questions will be more demanding and require some critical analysis on the part of the candidate. (4 – 5 minutes)



The IELTS Academic Listening Test is the same for the AC and GT modules. The candidates will listen to a tape and answer a series of questions. The tape will be played ONCE only. The Academic Listening Test is in four sections with 10 questions in each (ie: a total of 40 questions) and will last for about 30 minutes with an extra 10 minutes at the end to transfer answers to the answer sheet.

A variety of question types is used in the Academic Listening Test. Questions types that you will see will usually come from the following list:

  • multiple choice
  • short answer
  • sentence completion
  • notes/diagram/flow chart completion





1)          All have a reason to read a passage (start to take interest into the topic).

2)          Increase your personal speed.

3)          Increase your sentence reading speed.

4)          Manage your time carefully.

5)          Time is your enemy.

6)          Remember the test is meant to be change.

7)          Develope a memory for English.

8)          Read the topic stances of paragraph.

9)          Read the instruction carefully.

10)      Instructions contain clues about the information of the passage.

11)      Always look at the examples.

12)      Examples are the correct way to answer, in summarized form, tell more about passage it self.

13)      Don’t forget to make logic guess.

14)      Check your answers grammatically true.

15)      Check your spelling.

16)      Make sure that your answers easy to read.

17)      Always write all your answers on the answer sheet.

18)      Complete the sentence. (Grammatically correct).

19)      Sign post key words/phrases (where the answers can be found).

20)      Destination key words/phrases (Close to answer and often from the part of the answer phrases).

21)      Titles … give the rough idea about main topic if not, word out while reading passage.

22)      Headings help you to predict what passage is about.

23)      Bold print words are very important.

24)      Scan the information and predict and large amount of information.

25)      Read each art of questions in the logic order.

26)      Questions themselves provide you value able hints, links, idea contain in

The passage, specific information on your first reading.                 

27)      Use questions key words and phrases to find the answers.

28)      Questions may come before and after the questions.

29)      See how many questions …… from where to where.

30)      Likely to be false/true.


1)        Match making.

2)        True/ false.

3)        Gap fill task.

4)        Sentence completions.

5)        Table, chart, diagram completions.

6)        Multiple choices.

7)        Short answers.




       1)    For sentence completion task & gap fill summary first as its help you in        

      Understanding others questions.

2)       Scan and skin.

3)      Sweep your eyes across the page slowly & smoothly, starting at the top left, in working your way across &down the page in wave like motion.

4)      Don’t read every word & don’t rush.

5)      Simply guiding your eyes with your finger, pen, pencil. Stop for a moment when you are going to read something important, that you have found and continuing slowly back and forth, across & down the page.

6)      Guide your eyes across the page using first three fingers or your index fingers.

7)      Read the topic sentence or paragraph first.

8)       Topic sentence …… first, second, third and last.

9)      Read all the key words in the whole paragraph.

10)  Matching task.

11)  Read the whole paragraph from top to the bottom if you have time to read it.

12)  Leave the most different match to lose.

13)  Firstly solve the easier match first.

14)  It is useful to match to match at least three areas of information in a possible answer before closing the answer.

15)  Place the task across the page where one question end and other start.

16)  Read the sentence before and after the answer.

17)  Summaries the part and the whole passage for the conclusions. 

18)  Read it for the general understanding for the text.




  • Good afternoon. My name is ……
  • Hello my name is… but most of my friends call me …


                   FACTUAL INFORMATIONM                    COMENTS

                                 §         Generally.                                            Now, let me see.

                                §         Usually.                                                Surprisingly enough.                 

  • Most of time.                                        Actually.
  • On the whole.                                       Interestingly enough.



  • In my opinion.                             Well, personally speaking.
  • I personally think.                        It seems that.
  • I believe that.                              From my point of view. 
  • I feel that.                                   As I see it.
  • To my mind.                                I’m quite convinced that. 
  • Obviously.                                   I’m fairly certain that.




Describe a person whom you admire.

 You should say: –

  • Who this person is.
  • What he/she is like.
  • The length of time you have admired this person.
  • For what this person is well known.
  • Explain why you admire this person. 


                                                              TASK CARD B


  • To start with…
  • I would like to begin with…
  • I would like to tell you about…



 So, next, also, beside, as well as, and then, perhaps, I should mention, after ward, although, however, not only…but, on the other hand, yet, other wise, what, more, though.



  • For instant.                                  For on thing.

   §         Take the way.                              To give you an idea.                   

   §         Take for example.                        Namely.


  • So, in the end.                             Finally.
  •  So.                                               To finish off.
  • All in all.                                      I’d like to finish with.



  • The main difference.                     Just a little difference.
  • One of the differences.                  Totally difference.
  • In contrast/on the other hand.      Slightly difference.
  • Similarly/like wise.                        Where as/while.



  • It may/could/might (well) be that         May be. 
  • It’s quite possible that.                          I guess.
  • I imagine that.                                       I suppose.
  • Perhaps.                                I expect.



  • That’s why.                         §          You see.
  • Besides.                              §          To be honest.
  • Because.                             §           Let me explain.
  • So.                                      §           The reason why.
  • What I mean is.                  §           What I’m saying that.




  • Now let me think…
  • It difficult to say that…
  • That’s an interesting question….
  • How shall I put it?
  • The best way I can answer is this…
  • Hon, that’s a difficult question. Let me see…
  • I’ll have to think about that…
  • Let’s put it this way…



                                            There are three parts.

  • Introduction.
  • Speak on a specific topic.
  • Discussion topic.


In 1st part examiner ask you about

  • Your self.
  • Your home.
  • Work or studies.
  • Or other familiar.


 In 2nd part examiner ask you about

  • Your city.
  • Any industry in your country.
  • Your favorite personality.
  • On some current issues.


In 3rd part examiner ask you about

  • Some questions related to 2nd part.






                        The speaking module assesses whether candidate can communicate effectively in English. The assessment takes in to account fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy, and Pronunciation.



              There are some sentences, which are the proper way to communicate ours emotions like,



  • Un happy about/don’t like…
  • I am not comfortable about/with…
  • … Is not was I expected/was expecting.
  • … Does not suit me/my need.
  • … Is too + adjective e.g. he is too good.





  • Thanks you very much for….
  • I am great full to you for….




  • I am sorry that I….
  • I regret that I ….
  • Please accept my apology for + v + ing.
  • Please for give me for….
  • Unfortunately/regrettable I …




  • Although I stated that…. yet…
  • Despite of my request for….
  • Even though I telephone about…yet….
  • Need/ want/ desires.
  • What I am looking for this…
  • What is suit me best this…
  • I am keen to…
  • I would very much like to…
  • I would be great full if you could…







  • I delighted about/by….
  • I thoroughly enjoyed…
  • ….was very impressive/enjoyable.




  • I would like to…
  • I am very much interesting in v 1st  + ing.
  • Could I suggested that…
  • Please avoid v 1st +ing.
  • Wouldn’t is be better if you …
  • I would recommend that you …
  • I would appreciate it if …




     ADDITION             SEQUENCE              CONSEQUENCE

In addition                   Firstly                               As a result

And                            Initially                          Thus

Similarly                   Secondly                         So

Like wise                  To begin with                 There fore        

As well as                   Then                                  Consequently

Besides                      Next                                  It follow that

Furthermore           Earlier/Later               There by

Also                          After this/that                      Eventually

More over              Following this/that           Then

And then                 Afterward                         In that case

Too                                                                     Admittedly

Not only…but


Beside this                                                                                          CONDITION          DEFINATION                CERTAINLY

 Obviously                                If                                     Is

                             Certainly                             Unless                             Refer to

                                  Plainly                               Whether                              Means

                                 Of course                         Provided that                         That is

                                 Undoubtedly                           For                              Consist of

                                                                              So, that


                                                                          Depending of

                                 EXAMPLES            REASONS                   TIME

   For instant                    Since                                        Before

 One example                  As                                            Since

 For example                   Because of                               As

    Just as                         Due to                                      Until

In particular                     Owing to                                  Meanwhile

   Such as                        The reason why                        At the moment

   Namely                        In other word                           When

To illustrate                      Leeds to                                   When ever

                                       Cause                                       As soon as

                                                                                                            Just as


In conclusion                                                          In summary

Lastly                                                                     Finally

To sum up                                                              To conclude

To recapitulate                                                        In short



How ever                                                               On the other hand

Despite                                                                   In spite of / Despite

Though                                                                   All though

But                                                                         On the contrary

Other wise                                                              Yet

Instead of                                                               Rather

Where as                                                                In contrast

Altematively                                                            None the less

Even though                                                            Compare with  


How to get test date:-

By British Council :- Call at 0800-22000 0r 111-424-424 you need to have copy of NIC (2 color copies) copy of Passport (Optional) + 2 Passport Size photograph.

By Australian IELTS (AEO) 



191-A, Street 10, E-7


Phone:    (051) 2654327, 2654157 Mobile:  (0301) 8567776  Fax: (051) 2654215 ; Office Timing (09:30am to  5:30pm)

Monday  to Saturday


D-98, Block 4, Clifton, Karachi 75600

Phone: (021) 5879645/6/7

Mobile: 0302 8264264

Fax:      (021) 5879648

Office  Timing: 09:30am to 5:30pm Monday  to Friday

10:00am to 3:00pm Saturday


24-E, ZamanPark

Behind AitchisonCollege

Canal Bank Lahore

Ph:  92 42 6278936 , 6286220, 6286444, 6286466

Fax: 92 42 6360416

Mobile : 92 300 4880804

Office  Timing 09:30 to 5:30

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