IELTS - What to expect?

February 05, 2016 User 1 Tutorfair

If you're unsure of what will happen on the day, this should answer all of your questions!

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!)

This resource has 1 like


Have you thought about online lessons?

Online tuition gives you access to brilliant tutors across the country
Connect one-to-one with a tutor or share your lesson with a group for 50% of the tutor's hourly rate! Find a Tutor for One-to-One Find an Online Study Group

Want to know more?

Visit User's profile to find out more and send a message.

Visit User's Profile

Resources others found helpful

Maths Challenge Key Stage 1

Some challenging problems for KS1, this mixed review has a little bit of everything, mainly as word …

learn more


Information about the BMAT including scoring, timing and question type

learn more

GCSE Exam Papers (new 1-9 specification)

Perfect practice equals top grades!

learn more

Overcoming nerves to give an engaging presentation

How a practice-based coaching session can help overcome the barriers to a perfect presentation

learn more

Free resources, revision notes and past papers for students

Find revision guides, exam papers and sample essays amongst hundreds of free resources available to students.

Find resources any subjects

Maths resources | Science resources | Music resources | Spanish resources | English resources | French resources