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The IELTS Test Format

It is important to understand the format of the test and practice the different sections of the test (especially according to their time limits) so that you can feel more comfortable and confident with the test.

Students often feel pressed for time in the Reading and Writing Sections of the Test, so if you are worried about finishing on time---I would suggest putting extra practice in these sections.

How long does the IELTS exam take?

The total exam time is 2 hours and 45 minutes for both the Academic or General IELTS:

  • Writing: 60 minutes – 2 tasks.

  • Listening: 30 minutes – 40 questions. (plus 10 minutes to transfer your answer to the answer sheet)

  • Reading: 60 minutes – 40 questions. (no additional time to transfer your answers to the answer sheet)

  • Speaking: 10 -15 minutes – three-part conversation with an examiner.

You will take the Writing, Listening and Reading components on the same day, one after the other with no break in between them.

Your Speaking test may take place on the same day after a break. Sometimes, you may even take the Speaking Test before the other sections. Alternatively, it may take place either 7 days before or 7 days after your main exam date. This will depend on your test centre.

All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests. The key difference in the IELTS test format between Academic and General Training is in the subject matter of the Reading and Writing sections.

In terms of the COVID 19 Regulations, many test centres require you to wear a mask at all times, even during the speaking section of the exam. Be prepared to speak louder than usual --it is unfortunate, but these are our current circumstances.

Read more about each section of the exam in detail by clicking on the following links:

  • The Speaking section

  • The Listening Section

  • The Writing section (Academic) / The Writing Section (General)

  • The Reading Section (Academic) / The Reading Section (General)

Happy Studying!

Ciske & the Effective IELTS Team


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