What is Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking like in IELTS exam?

What is Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking like in the IELTS exam?

Although the Speaking and Listening sections are similar in both academic and general IELTS exams, the Reading and Writing sections are different. Let’s see what each skill is comprised of:


The speaking test is a conversation between the examiner and the candidate in 3 different parts which could last from 11-14 minutes.


Part 1: In the first part, you will be asked some short personal questions in different topics to which you should give short answers. This part would not last longer than 4-5 minutes.

Part 2: In the second part, the examiner will give you a cue card and you will have one minute to make notes and prepare yourself for it, after that, you should talk about the topic for 2 minutes.

Part 3: In the third part, the examiner will ask you further questions about the same cue card you got in the second part. The difference between this part compared to the first part is that you will be asked longer questions and should provide longer answers. Plus, as this part is more like a discussion, the examiner might challenge you by asking further questions. This part will also last 4-5 minutes.



In the listening section, the candidate should listen to four recordings in 4 different sections recorded by native English speakers and answer 40 questions.

Section 1: The first section is a conversation between two people about an everyday social issue.

Section 2: The second section is a monologue about an everyday social issue.

Section 3: The third section is a conversation between four people in an educational or training context.

Section 4: The 4th section is a monologue on an academic subject.


Reading (Academic)

In the reading section, there are 3 passages and 40 questions that the candidate should answer in 1 hour dedicating 20 minutes to each passage. In this skill, you will face 3 different passages which can be either descriptive, factual or analytical. These paragraphs are excerpts taken from newspapers, research works, journals, books, or even magazines.


Reading (General)

Similar to the academic reading, in the general reading, you will also be dealing with 3 passages and 40 questions that should be answered in an hour. The passages will be extracts of advertisements, company guidelines, brochures, and so on. The point is, this version of reading is relatively easier than the academic format as the selected text are generally on a day-to-day basis.


Writing (Academic)

In the writing section, you will be asked to write 2 different tasks. In the first task, you should write a factual report on a chart and, in the second task, you would have to write an essay. As this section will last an hour, you should make sure to dedicate 20 minutes to task 1 and 40 minutes to task 2. The tasks are more likely to revolve around academic graduate or postgraduate topics.


Writing (General)

Similar to academic writing, in general writing, you would also be required to complete 2 tasks. In the first task which will last 20 minutes, you should write either a formal or an informal letter. In the second task, you should write an essay in 40 minutes so that you would not run out of the one-hour time. The topics will be of general interest, though.

In order to make sure whether you should take the academic or general module, you should specify if you plan to study or work abroad or immigrate to an English-speaking country since you might require a different version and score according to your purpose.


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