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Required by: Universities which offer programs in English language degrees, require IELTS scores. Besides this, these scores are helpful in proving your proficiency in English which is an essential requirement while obtaining the visa for certain countries.

Purpose: The test is to determine a candidate’s proficiency in English language at general as well academic level.

Duration: Two hours and 30 minutes, plus 15 minutes for the speaking test.

Test content: There are two versions of IELTS tests, one is Academic and the other one is General training. Both are based on four sections. The listening and speaking sections of both types of tests have the same content, but differ in the reading and writing sections. The Academic tests focus on topics and issues revolving around Higher education while the General training test includes content based on social situations and workplace related topics.

1. Listening: A 30 minutes test comprising of 40 questions devised from four audio recordings featuring a range of different accents and containing conversations and monologues.

2. Reading: This section consists of 40 questions based on three passages of text to be done in an hour. The academic version of IELTS involves graphs or illustrations for texts and they may be taken from books, journals and newspaper.

3. Writing: In the allotted time of one hour, two tasks are given. One involves a short formal essay on a particular topic while the other is detailed explanation for a given table, chart or diagram.

4. Speaking: This section spans over 11-14 minutes and can be taken up to seven days before or after the other three sections. The candidate must answer simple questions, express their views about a familiar topic and participate in a structured discussion.

Scoring: Each section is score on a scale of 0-9,with band one indicating anon user and nine representing an expert user. An overall score on the same scale is also displayed. There is no limitation on the number of times you may appear for the test.

Valid for: Two years
Points to note: Different institutions have different target scores already set for the candidate who wish to apply. It is Pertinent that you ensure which tests are accepted by the institution you are applying to.

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