IELTS Progress Check – Academic Format

The IELTS Academic Practice Test is structured the same as the real IELTS exam; any differences will be described in the instructions that you see before each component of the test. To learn about the differences between the IELTS Progress Check practice tests and the real IELTS test, read more here.

The IELTS Academic Practice Test comprises the following:

Listening

Test Format – Listening (30 minutes)

The Listening component consists of 40 questions. You will listen to four recorded texts, such as monologues and conversations, by a range of native-speakers and write your answers to a series of questions. These include questions that test your ability to understand main ideas and detailed factual information, ability to understand the opinions and attitudes of speakers, ability to understand the purpose of an utterance and the ability to follow the development of ideas. A variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used and each section is heard only once.

Section 1
A conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.

Section 2
A monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.

Section 3
A conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.

Section 4
A monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.

Reading

Test Format – Reading (60 minutes)

The Reading component consists of 40 questions. A variety of question types is used in order to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.

The Academic version includes three long texts that range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. The texts are adapted from authentic texts taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. These have been selected for a non-specialist audience and are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.

Writing

Test Format – Writing (60 minutes)

The Writing component of includes two tasks. Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.

Task 1
You will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.

Task 2
You will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.

Speaking

Test Format – Speaking (11-14 minutes)

The Speaking component assesses your use of spoken English and takes between 11 and 14 minutes to complete.

You will hear a recording of the examiner’s voice and you will record your answers, using your microphone. The Speaking component is delivered in such a way that it does not allow people to rehearse set responses beforehand. This is also true of the real test.

Part 1
You will hear the examiner’s voice. He will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.

Part 2 
You will hear a question that asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. You will then hear one or two questions on the same topic to finish this part of the test.

Part 3
You will hear further questions connected to the topic in Part 2. These questions will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.

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