IELTS Exam Pattern in General and Academic Modules: Back to Basics

The IELTS test evaluates your skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking the English language. If you are looking forward to studying and working abroad, you will have to appear in this test. People who are planning for foreign immigration to Canada or Australia must also appear in this test. 

It will assess your expertise in English in hardly 180 minutes. That’s the basic pattern of IELTS examination. 

Types of IELTS Exam Pattern

IELTS examination is conducted in two distinct formats, namely: Academic and General training. Academic examination is for individuals who wish to study in Canada or Australia. In other words, if you are applying for student visa, go for the academic IELTS test. 

On the other hand, general training is for professionals and people who want to apply for PR and migrate there. 

These are the two modules of IELTS exam. 

Difference between academic and general training
Source: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-IELTS-general-training-and-academic

Now, let’s understand the difference between general training and academic module.

General Vs Academic IELTS

It is a common observation that general IELTS exam pattern is easier than the academic training module. The academic module of IELTS examination aims to check how well you can understand graphs, diagrams, and changing trends of any particular process. 

Contrarily, general training focuses on assessing whether you understand daily conversations and frequently used English phrases. 

The listening and speaking sections are the same in general as well as academic training. Writing and Reading are different in both the modules. 

What is the IELTS Exam Pattern for 2021

We shall delve deeper into all the four sections – Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing one by one.

IELTS exam pattern
Source: https://www.knowyourtutor.com/blog/ielts-exam/

Let’s start with the reading section. 

Reading Section in IELTS

The reading section in IELTS exam pattern includes 40 questions. It will test your reading skills, which encompass how well you understand the gist of a paragraph, your skimming ability, understanding of logical argument, and comprehending the ideas and opinions presented in the article. 

You will get 60 minutes to complete the 40 questions. 

The paragraphs are generally picked from magazines, newspapers, books, and journals. Sometimes, they might be written by a professional to suit everyone taking the test. 

Format of Reading Questions

  1. You will be asked to fill in the blanks with one, two, or three words. 
  2. Other questions have multiple choices from which you have to pick the correct one.
  3. The third type of questions will assess whether you can correctly understand the writer’s views.
  4. The toughest type is the True, False, or Not Given questions. 

In the general module of the reading section, the questions are easier and pertain to situations that we come across on a daily basis. 

Listening Section in IELTS

The listening section is divided into four parts. There is no change in general and academic training. 

You will hear 4 recordings, based on which you will have to answer 10 questions in each part. This section is of 30 minutes. 

Note that you will not be able to hear the recording for a second time. Be very attentive and understand the accent well. 

In Parts 1 and 2, you will be able to hear about situations that we are likely to experience every day. 

While Part 1 includes a conversation between two speakers about some routine activity, Part 2 has a monologue or a speech explaining a local facility. 

Part 3 will have a recording where you will be able to hear two or three people discussing educational stuff. Part 4 has a monologue on an academic topic. For example: Soil erosion. 

Writing Section in IELTS

The writing section is different for general as well as academic training of IELTS exam pattern. You will have two tasks in both the training modules. However, the tasks are slightly different for both. 

In general training, Task 1 is about writing a formal or informal letter to someone. 

Task 2 is about writing an essay defending an argument or responding to a point of view or providing solutions to a problem. You can have a personal tone in this essay.

Academic training on the other hand is about writing in a formal tone in both tasks. 

For Task 1, you will have to explain a graph, table, or diagram. 

The second task is similar to the general training but the response must be in a formal language. 

Speaking Section in IELTS

The writing, reading, and listening test will be wrapped up on the same day. Your speaking test might be held a week prior or a week later to the date of the main test. 

The speaking test is essentially like an interview, divided into three different parts. The interviewer (examiner) will ask you basic questions in the first part. 

In the second part, you will get a cue card based on which you have to speak for 3-5 minutes.

You will get one minute to prepare for the same. 

In the third part, you will be asked relevant questions related to the second part. 

The IELTS exam pattern is such that that your fluency, vocabulary, and correct English will get you a high band score in speaking test. 

What is the passing score of IELTS

Generally, there is nothing like a “passing score” in the IELTS examination. However, based on the purpose for which you are appearing in this exam, you might have to get a minimum score. For example: Some universities have a mandatory criterion that the student must have secured at least 6.5 overall bands. On the other hand, some might even allow students with a band score of 5. 

If you are applying for Canada Express Entry, you might have to score CLB level 9 to score better and stand a brighter chance to receive the invitation to apply. 

People who have Canadian work experience or siblings in Canada might be able to get through even with a score as low as 4.5. 

Multiple factors play a role in determining the score you must achieve to successfully fly abroad. 

What is IELTS passing score in IELTS exam pattern
Source: https://www.am22tech.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/ielts-to-crs-score.jpg

In a Nutshell

To sum it up, the IELTS examination is not that tough a nut to crack. You must practice a lot and try to hone your English language skills. Quite often, people lose out the points because of anxiety and pressure. Just try to keep calm and give it your best shot.

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