IELTS - What to expect?

February 05, 2016

IELTS – what to expect

You should definitely expect quite a long day! The tests  themselves aren’t that long, but there’s usually quite a long wait for the speaking test. When I had to pass it, it really felt like a very long day (I had to wait abour 2.5 hours). Do not get discouraged! You can get a good grade with a bit of preparation. (Do see my other resource about how to prepare for the exam!)

How do IELTS work, I hear you ask?

Depending on the type of IELTS you’re doing, your test can have few different parts – listening, reading, writing and speaking. The maximum grade is 9, and you will be pointed for each test separately.

The listening, writing and reading test will happen in one sitting, in the same classroom.


You will sit in a classroom type of room, and the examiner will play a recording, and you will have a set of questions to go through and answer based on what you hear.


You will then go through to the reading test. This will have a text to read, and questions to answer based on the text you’ve just read.


This will come in two parts, and you have to complete both parts to be able to pass this part of the test. The first part will require you to describe a graph or other visual aid in your own words. The second part will be the long written work, where you will be pointed towards an idea, argument or a problem, and you will need to discuss it.

Speaking test

This is a face to face interview which is also recorded (one of the reasons why you will be hanging around for a while!). You are expected to speak for a set amount of time, which could be an issue if you speak quite fast (I had that – the examiner wasn’t sure what to do, as I’ve answered the questions, I was just a bit too fast… They really tried to get me speaking for longer, so if you speak too fast, please have that in mind! I still got 9/9, so it was fine in the end!)

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