The IELTS exam consists of five parts:
1. The Listening Module
The listening test is the first part of the IELTS examination and takes about 40 minutes. The test is designed to reflect real world listening situations and the range of difficulty increases as the paper progresses.
2. The Reading Module
This is the second part of the test. It consists of three authentic texts and 40 questions. There are ten basic types of questions which test different reading and comprehension skills. Time allowed is 60 minutes. The texts are designed to present candidates with material similar to those which they might need to read on a university course.
3. Writing Module Task 1
Students are required to analyse statistical information and group this information together using appropriate language and expression.
4. Writing Module Task 2
Students are expected to write a discursive essay of a minimum of 250 words . The topics are of current issues or general interests.
5. The Speaking Module
Candidates are examined one on one by a certified IELTS examiner. They are graded for their fluency, control of language, and their range of vocabulary and expression.
An overall score out of a band of 9 is given. Most universities require an overall score of 6.5 or 7 for a post graduate degree (M.A / Msc). Some universities specify the score they require for each section. For example, a student may receive an overall band 7 but he may receive a score of five in the writing section. In this case, the student will be required to re-sit the test in order to improve the score of his Writing Module.