To score well on the general IELTS®, it is important to have a good grasp of the English language, and be able to speak, listen, read and write efficiently. For the written section of the test, test-takers have to show that they can write in different forms, such as letter and argument forms. On the listening test, test-takers must show that they can understand both the explicit and implicit content of speech. For the speaking test, it is important to be able to talk confidently and fluently. The reading test requires test-takers to be able to glean information from a passage of text and answer questions on it.
The general IELTS® test covers listening, speaking, reading and writing, and is required by educational institutions such as colleges and high schools to show ability to speak and understand English. It isn’t as demanding as the academic test, but still requires a clear understanding of the English language. The test is also required by some countries, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, for immigration purposes.
The reading portion of the general IELTS® test centers on test-takers' ability to digest the information contained in passages of speech and identify the key facts. Most of the questions take the form of a statement based on the information contained in the text. Test-takers should be able to identify the true and false statements, and determine if the information was not included in the text. Other sections of the reading portion focus on identifying sections of a website, which would contain a certain piece of information, and being able to determine a book’s title from a description of the content.
The general IELTS® listening portion has 40 questions in total, and requires test-takers to be able to identify the main topic of speech and anything that isn’t explicitly stated, as well as correctly interpret changes in tone of voice. To score well on the test, taking notes is a good idea. Some of the questions are on specific adjectives in the speech; for example, test-takers may be asked to identify any quantities included in the test.
The writing section of the general IELTS® test aims to determine whether test-takers can write letters and arguments. This requires a good grasp of the language, including the ability to use grammar and writing style efficiently. Understanding of how to write a letter in English is vital for the writing test. Test-takers should also be able to express arguments logically and coherently.
To be able to pass the speaking section of the general IELTS®, test-takers should be confident in their English speaking ability, and be able to converse fluently. This can be difficult, as exam nerves can easily take over. It is important for test-takers to give full answers to the questions, and to be relaxed. Speaking clearly and confidently is more important than having 100% perfect English. Test-takers should politely ask the examiner to repeat anything they have trouble understanding.