The IELTS Academic test is designed to assess your English-language skills, especially those skills that are relevant when studying at undergraduate or postgraduate levels. Check which academic institutions accept IELTS and the scores they require for acceptance onto their degree programmes.
The IELTS Academic test features vocabulary that is common within an academic setting and may also be a requirement for registration with professional bodies.
You can sit the test at our official test centres, either on paper, or on computer. There may also be an option to take the test online. Find out more about ways to take an IELTS test.
The IELTS Academic test is made up of four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. You can read more about these sections below.
The paper has four parts, with ten questions in each part. The questions are in the same order as the information in the recording, so the answer to the first question will be before the answer to the second question, and so on.
Parts 1 and 2 deal with everyday, social situations. There is a conversation between two speakers in Part 1 (for example, a conversation about travel arrangements). Only one person speaks in Part 2 (for example, a speech about local facilities).
Parts 3 and 4 deal with educational and training situations. In Part 3 there is a conversation between two main speakers (for example, two university students in discussion, perhaps guided by a tutor). In Part 4 only one person speaks on an academic subject.
You will hear the recordings once only. Different accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand and North American, are used.
You will need to transfer your answers to an answer sheet. You will have 10 minutes at the end of the test to do this. You should be careful when writing your answers on the answer sheet because you will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar.
Time allowed: Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes to transfer your answers to an answer sheet)
Number of parts: 4
Number of questions: 40
Marking: Each correct answer receives 1 mark. Your final score is given as a band score in whole or half bands, e.g. 5.5 or 7.0.
Texts come from books, journals, magazines, newspapers and online resources, written for a non-specialist audience. All the topics are of general interest to students at undergraduate or postgraduate level. The texts may be written in different styles, for example, narrative, descriptive or discursive/argumentative. At least one text contains detailed logical argument. Texts may also contain diagrams, graphs or illustrations. If texts use technical vocabulary, then a simple dictionary definition is provided.
You will need to transfer your answers to an answer sheet. You must transfer your answers during the hour you are given for the Reading test. Unlike the Listening test, no extra transfer time is given. You should be careful when writing your answers on the answer sheet because you will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar.
Time allowed: 60 minutes (including transfer time)
Number of sections: 3; the total text length is 2150–2750 words
Number of questions: 40
Marking: Each correct answer receives 1 mark. Your final score is given as a band score from 1–9 in whole or half bands, e.g. 4 or 6.5.
There are two Writing tasks and BOTH must be completed.
In Task 1, you have to describe some visual information in your own words (a graph, table, chart or diagram). You need to write at least 150 words in about 20 minutes.
In Task 2, you are given a point of view, argument or problem which you need to discuss. You need to write at least 250 words in about 40 minutes.
You must write your answers using full sentences. You must not write your answers as notes or bullet points. You must write your answers on the answer sheet. You are allowed to write notes on the question paper, but these will not be seen by the examiner.
Time allowed: 60 minutes
Number of tasks: 2
Marking: Task 2 contributes twice as much as Task 1 to the Writing score.
The Speaking test is a face-to-face interview between the test taker and an examiner. The Speaking test is recorded.
There are three parts to the test, and each part follows a specific pattern of tasks in order to test your speaking ability in different ways.
In Part 1 you will be asked about yourself and about familiar topics, such as home and family, studies or interests.
In Part 2 you are shown a card asking you to talk about a particular topic. After a minute to prepare, you must speak for up to two minutes and then answer general questions on the topic.
In Part 3 further questions will be asked about the topic in more detail.
Time allowed: 11–14 minutes
Number of parts: 3
Find out more about each question type in the IELTS Academic test.