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IELTS exam consists of four compulsory sections according to the syllabus – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The Listening and Speaking sections would be similar for both Academic and General categories, but the Reading and Writing modules would have different formats.
IELTS 2018 - Test Pattern
Total Duration of exam - 2 hours 45 minutes
Reading (3 Sections) - 60 minutes
Listening (4 Sections) - 40 minutes
Writing (2 tasks) - 60 minutes
Speaking (3 parts) - 11 to 14 minutes
The Listening, Reading and Writing tests will be conducted on the same day while the Speaking module may be taken the same day or within seven days, prior or after the test.
1. Conversation between two individuals set in an everyday social context
2. Monologue or a speech
3. Conversation among a maximum of four people in an academic setting
4. Monologue on an academic subject, e.g. an academic lecture
Each section is heard only once. Candidate can make notes while listening to the conversations and can refer to that while answering the questions.
The Reading section assesses the candidate’s skill in reading as she/he has to read 3 different text passages and answer variety of questions (multiple choice, sentence completion, summary writing, matching information, short-answers, etc.). Each passage consists of 13-14 questions; overall Reading module has 40 questions.
The candidate’s skills will also be tested for gist, main ideas, detail, skimming, understanding logical argument, recognizing writers' opinions, attitudes and purpose are used in order to test a wide range of reading skills.
1. The Academic version of the syllabus includes three long texts which ranges from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical matters. The texts are taken from authentic books, journals, magazines and newspapers.
2. The General version has matters from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines that we encounter on a daily basis in an English speaking environment.
1. Academic Section - Topics are of general interest and suitable for candidates planning undergraduate and postgraduate studies abroad or seeking professional registration.
Task 1 - Candidates will be given a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarize or explain the information in their own words, e.g. describe the stages of a process, flowchart of how something works or describe an object or event.
Task 2 - Candidates would be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem.
(Responses to both tasks must be in a formal and academic style and to be supported by relevant examples).
2. General Section -
Task 1 - Candidates will be given a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining a given situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
Task 2 - Candidates will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay and to be supported by relevant examples.
The IELTS 2018 syllabus prescribes that the speaking test will be recorded for evaluation purpose and will consist of three parts that simulate a face-to-face oral interview with the examiner.
This section assesses the candidates’ use of spoken english and takes around 11 to 14 minutes to complete. No scope to rehearse for this test is given to the candidate.
Part 1 - The examiner will ask general questions about oneself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. Duration - 4 to 5 minutes.
Part 2 - Candidates will be given a card with a topic and would be asked to talk about it. Preparation time - 1 minute, Speaking Duration - 2 minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic to complete the second part of the speaking test.
Part 3 - Candidates will be asked further questions connected to the topic in Part 2. These questions will give candidates opportunity to discuss more about it. Duration - 4 to 5 minutes.
Note - Neutral English accent should be practiced. Use of fake accents should be avoided.
It should be noted that the selection procedure through IELTS varies from institution to institution. Hence, it is advisable that the candidate makes himself/herslf aware of the selection procedure and minimum IELTS score requirement for the respective organizations where they wish to apply.
The test of IELTS is designed to gauge student’s usage of English language at study, at work, and at social gatherings and the results are scored on a unique 9-band scale. British Council, IDP and Cambridge Assessment English have prescribed the respective syllabus of IELTS 2018 for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.
TOEFL is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enrol in English speaking universities. The test is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions. TOEFL is one of the two major English-language tests in the world, the other being the IELTS.
TOEFL is a trademark of the Educational Testing Service (ETS), a private non-profit organization, which designs and administers the tests. ETS issues official score reports, sent independently to institutions, for two years following the test.
Knowledge / skills tested - Reading, listening, speaking and writing of the English language
Duration & Score –
1. Internet-based test (iBT): 3 hours 10 minutes to 4 hours 20 minutes (excluding 10-minute break in-between).
Score / grade range: 0 to 30 (in 1 point increments) on each of the 4 sections. Total of 0 to 120.
IBT can be taken only once in any 12-day period
2. Paper-based test (PBT)*: 2 hours 20 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes.
Score / grade range: Listening: 31 to 68, Structure: 31 to 69, Reading: 31 to 67. Total of 310 to 677. Writing (separate): 0 to 6. (All in 1 point increments.)
*The TOEFL PBT was replaced by PDT which is an official test for use where the internet test is unavailable, usually due to internet & computer issues.
Score / Grade validity: 2 years
Duration: 60 to 80 minutes
The Reading section consists of questions on 3 to 5 passages, each approximately 700 words in length. The passages are on academic topics generally found in an undergraduate university textbook. Passages require understanding of rhetorical functions such as cause-effect, compare-contrast and argumentation. Students answer questions about main ideas, details, inferences, essential information, sentence insertion, vocabulary, rhetorical purpose and overall ideas, also filling out tables or completing summaries.
Duration: 60 to 90 minutes
The Listening section consists of questions on six passages, each 3 to 5 minutes in length. These passages include two student conversations and four academic lectures or discussions. The conversations involve a student and either a professor or a campus service provider and is heard only once. Test-takers may take notes and refer to their notes when they answer the questions. Each conversation is associated with five questions and each lecture with six. The questions are meant to measure the ability to understand main ideas, important details, implications, relationships between ideas, organization of information, speaker purpose and speaker attitude.
Mandatory break: 10 minutes
Duration: 20 minutes
The Speaking section consists of six tasks: two independent and four integrated. In the two independent tasks, test-takers answer opinion questions on familiar topics. They are evaluated on their ability to speak spontaneously and convey their ideas clearly and coherently. In two of the integrated tasks, test-takers read a short passage, listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and answer a question by combining appropriate information from the text and the talk. In the two remaining integrated tasks, test-takers listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and then respond to a question about what they heard. In the integrated tasks, test-takers are evaluated on their ability to appropriately synthesize and effectively convey information from the reading and listening material. Test-takers may take notes as they read and listen and use their notes to help prepare their responses. Test-takers are given a short preparation time before they speak. The responses are digitally recorded, sent to ETS’s Online Scoring Network (OSN) for evaluation
Duration: 50 minutes
The Writing section measures a test taker's ability to write in an academic setting and consists of two tasks: one integrated and one independent. In the integrated task, test-takers read a passage on an academic topic and then listen to a speaker discuss it. The test-taker then writes a summary about the important points in the listening passage and explains how these relate to the key points of the reading passage. In the independent task, the test-taker must write an essay that states their opinion or choice, and then explain it, rather than simply listing personal preferences or choices.
Most colleges use TOEFL scores as only one factor in their admission process, often setting a minimum score required. Generally the minimum TOEFL IBT scores range from 61 to 110
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