Preparation for the IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Please note: there are two types of IELTS exams: Academic and General Training. On this site we primarily refer to the Academic IELTS which is the one required by Universities for graduate studies. If you’re planning to immigrate to the UK, Australia and other Commonwealth contries, you’ll be required to take the General Traning IELTS. Contact us to give you further details.

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“IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It measures ability to communicate in English across all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – for people who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication.” Source:

Listening Section

Listening Tasks (30 mins)

  • Forms/Notes/Table/Flow-chart/Summary Completion
  • Multiple Choice
  • Short-answer Questions
  • Sentence Completion
  • Labelling a Diagram/Plan/Map
  • Classification
  • Matching
Section 1 Social needs Conversation with a transactional purpose e.g. finding out about travel services Listening for and noting specific factual information. (10 Questions)
Section 2 Social needs Monologue or prompted monologue with a transactional purpose e.g. giving information about a public event Listening for and noting specific factual information.(10 Questions)
Section 3 Education Discussion between 2 – 4 people in an academic context, e.g. tutorial or seminar Following a conversation which involves negotiation of meaning. Listening for specific information, attitudes, and speakers’ opinions. (10 Questions)
Section 4 Education Monologue in an academic context e.g. lecture Following an academic argument. Listening for main ideas, specific information, attitude and speaker’s opinion. (10 Questions)

Reading Section

This portion of the exam is composed of 3 written passages and a total of
40 question items. You have 60 minutes to complete this section, which includes the time to transfer your answers to the answer sheet.

Reading Tasks Reading Skills Measured
  • Task Type 1: Multiple choice
  • Task Type 2: Short-answer questions
  • Task Type 3: Sentence completion
  • Task Type 4: Notes, summaries or Table/Flow-chart completion
  • Task Type 5: Labelling a diagram
  • Task Type 6: Choosing headings for paragraphs or sections of a text
  • Task Type 7: Locating information
  • Task Type 8: Identification of writer’s views/claims or of information in a text
  • Task Type 9: Classification
  • Task Type 10: Matching
  • identify the writer’s overall purpose, target audience, sources etc.
  • identify and follow key arguments in a text
  • identify opinions and attitudes as opposed to facts
  • locate specific informationread for detailed information
  • extract relevant information
  • distinguish the main idea from supporting detail
  • recognise key points for a summary
  • group pieces of information in a text in accordance with salient criteria
  • extract information from a prose text to put into a diagrammatic representation
  • make inferences

Text Types

The passages used in the test are based on authentic texts, and are taken from sources such as magazines, journals, books and newspapers. They are designed to present the candidate with materials similar to those they might need to read in a university course. Passages may also contain non-verbal material such as diagrams, graphs, illustrations etc. The passages may be written in a variety of styles, for example narrative, descriptive or discursive/argumentative. They deal with issues which are interesting, recognizably appropriate, and accessible to candidates entering postgraduate or undergraduate courses or seeking professional registration. At least one of the passages will contain a detailed argument.

Writing Section

IELTS Academic Writing lasts a total of 60 minutes. It consists of 2 tasks and candidates must answer BOTH tasks. Candidates write their answers in pen or pencil on Answer Sheets provided. Students are advised to spend 20 minutes on Task 1 and 40 minutes on Task 2. They must complete both tasks in one hour.

  • Writing Task 1: you’ll be presented with either graphs or an illustration: based on the information provided, you must write a report (150 words)
  • Writing Task 2: the prompt here is an idea for you to discuss, agree or disagree, etc. You must write a 250-word academic essay. Your ideas need to be clear, organized and well-supported.

Speaking Section

IELTS Speaking is a one-to-one interaction between the candidate and an examiner. The interview comprises three parts which give the candidate the opportunity to use a range of different speaking skills. This interview is recorded for marking purposes.

Timing: 11 – 14 minutes (please note that this timing varies)


More and more colleges and universities in the United States are accepting IELTS. If you are planning on pursuing a degree in the USA find out now which the school(s) currently accept IELTS. Visit IELTS Global Recognition System


Instituto Chileno Britanico de Cultura (ICHBC) is the only IELTS test center in Chile at the moment. We stongly suggest you register for the exam well in advance. Please contact ICHBC directly for IELTS registration purposes.

Departamento de Exámenes Internacionales
Santa Lucía 124, Santiago.
Tel: (02) 413 2011 / 413 2039

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