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All About IELTS

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All About IELTS

One of the most prestigious English language certificates is certainly IELTS. This stands for “International English Language Testing System” – simply put, it is an international English language test for proficiency amongst those whose first language is not English. Most importantly, students often sit for this test. As it is the most respected English exam in the world, and it is a common requirement for entry to many international universities and an asset on one’s curriculum vitae.

The exam is divided as follows:

Academic IELTS

General Training IELTS

Listening – 30 minutes (10-minute transfer)

Listening – 30 minutes (10-minute transfer)

Academic Reading – 60 minutes

General Training Reading – 60 minutes

Academic Writing – 60 minutes

General Training Writing – 60 minutes

Speaking – 11-14 minutes

Speaking – 11-14 minutes

In brief, the listening and speaking tasks are the same for both Academic and General Training examinations. However, what makes the Academic and General Training exams different from each other?

Both Academic and General Training Reading exams consist of 40 questions each. In the Academic Reading section, students are given three long texts starting from more descriptive to more factual, discursive and analytical. They are targeted at a non-specialist audience but are an asset for university and professional registration. These texts are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. Similarly, the General Reading texts are extracts from these media, but are shorter in length, and consist of materials one is likely to encounter daily in an English-speaking environment. This section of the General Training is divided into parts:

  1. “Social Survival” — 2 or 3 short texts or several shorter texts regarding factual information and argumentative texts;
  2. “Workplace Survival” – 2 texts focusing on everyday working environments;
  3. “General reading” – one long text emphasising on descriptive and instructive English.
2 students with IELTS book and coffee

The Academic and General Training Writing components are divided into two tasks: in the first task of the Academic paper, students are given a graph, table, chart or diagram to describe, summarise or explain in 150 words. In contrast, the General Training Writing first task involves writing a letter requesting information or explaining a given situation. The second tasks of both papers are rather similar – they both involve writing an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The style of the Academic Writing task requires a formal approach while the General training is more informal.



Prior to booking this course, students must write a 200-250-word essay on a given title which will be reviewed to assess the level of the student.  However, on arrival a preliminary test will be given to each student to reconfirm the level before starting the course. The following is an example essay title:


Young people are often influenced by their peers. Do the advantages of peer pressure outweigh the disadvantages?


Course dates for 2021 and 2022 can be found here.