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IELTS - International English Language Testing System

IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is the language of communication.

There are two modules of IELTS: the IELTS Academic module for those entering higher education or seeking employment in a professional organisation, and the General Training module intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training, gain work experience, or for immigration purposes.

Teacher's resources Student's resources

                                                                                                                                             
Listening APPROX. 30–40 MINS
4 Sections40 question that get  progressively more difficult
 Section 1: a conversation between 2 people on a general or social theme
 Section 2: a monologue or interview on a general or social theme
 Section 3: a conversation between 2–4 speakers on an educational or training theme
 Section 4: a talk or lecture on a general academic interest
Academic ReadingTOTAL 60 MINS
3 Passages40 questions that get progressively more difficult
 Each passage contains approximately 750 words, with a total maximum of  approximately 2,500 words
 At least one of the passages contains a detailed logical argument
 Passages are on topics of a general nature taken from books, magazines, journals and  newspapers
Academic WritingTOTAL 60 MINS
2 TasksTask 1: a factual description of data based on a graph, table, bar chart, map or diagram using a minimum of 150 words (20 minutes)
 Task 2: an essay discussing an argument, opinion or point of view. Students may be asked to put forward their own opinion and suggestions for causes and  solutions using a minimum of 250 words (40 minutes)
SpeakingAPPROX. 11–15 MINS
3 PartsPart 1: the examiner introduces themselves and asks the candidate questions about familiar topics (4–5 minutes)
 Part 2: The candidate must speak on a given topic for at least one minute. Candidates are given one minute to prepare and make notes (3–4 minutes)
 Part 3: The examiner and the candidate have a discussion based on the given topic in Part 2 (4–5 minutes)

Teacher's Resources for IELTS

Learning a language takes time and candidates often feel impatient that the learning process is slow, but they have to be patient. The higher the ability, the slower the learning curve appears to be. For the beginner, every new word is an achievement. Students with a good level of English need to plan their learning. By setting and checking goals through unit tests, progress tests and IELTS tests, students can see their achievement. They can measure how much they’ve learnt and more importantly what they have not learnt and evaluate where greater effort is required.

As teachers we need to encourage students to actively participate in class by asking questions and interacting in all class discussions. Pair work, group work and whole-class discussions will help to challenge and expand students’ ideas. Personalising material helps students make connections between the material in coursebooks,  practice materials and their own world.

Practice and review are key to obtaining the band score required. Reinforce the idea that a little every day is the best way. Additionally, show students how to be independent learners. In class, highlight ways to study and practise English outside the classroom, such as reading for pleasure, listening to the radio, watching films and documentaries and obviously today using the Internet.


IELTS Listening – Teacher's Notes

These Teacher's Notes provide tips on approaching the Listening component of the IELTS exam as well as tasks to help students practise for the IELTS Listening.

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IELTS Reading – Teacher's Notes

Techniques such as skimming and scanning are an important part of the reading process. These classroom tasks allow students to practise key reading techniques and strategies to be successful in the Reading component of the exam.

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IELTS Speaking – Teacher's Notes

In these tasks, students build their confidence and skills to achieve a good mark in the speaking test, practising how to  speak naturally, clearly and at a reasonable pace.

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IELTS Writing – Teacher's Notes

Focusing on peer assessment and the importance of planning, these tasks help students eliminate potential problems when completing the IELTS Writing test.

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Student's Resources for IELTS

The IELTS exam is extremely demanding and many of you taking the exam will probably not have taken an exam for a number of years. Consider some of these questions: When was the last time you hand wrote over 400 words in less than an hour? How often do you read an English language magazine or newspaper for at least an hour? When did you listen to a number of people speaking for over 30 minutes and answer 40 questions?

These are just some of the demands that will be asked of you in the IELTS test. Familiarisation is one of the key words to feeling confident about taking the IELTS exam. There is no pass or fail mark for the exam and you will be given an overall mark with details of the marks achieved for each individual skill. Ensure that you are studying for the correct exam, either the IELTS Academic or the IELTS General Training.

Below are notes to help you study for both exams under and the individual skills that will be tested.


IELTS Checklist – Student's Notes

A quick guide and top tips for things to remember before and during your IELTS exam.

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IELTS Listening – Student's Notes

Compared to the other parts of the examination, in the Listening component you need to juggle listening, reading and writing. These key strategies will help you to accomplish this.

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IELTS Reading – Student's Notes

These approaches to reading and managing time will boost confidence when sitting the Reading test.

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IELTS Speaking – Student's Notes

A checklist of what to remember and consider in order to be natural and confident during the Speaking test.

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IELTS Writing – Student's Notes

Tips on what to do and what to try and avoid when sitting the Writing component: from planning to leaving enough time to complete difficult tasks. 

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