The International English Language Testing System (IELTS®) is a standardized test that assesses English skills. Undergraduate and graduate students might take the IELTS® test when they plan to study at schools that use English as the teaching language. Workers who intend to migrate English-speaking countries might take the test to provide a work-related language proficiency assessment to potential employers. The IELTS® topics cover four sections: listening, speaking, writing and reading. This test has different topics for academic reading and writing as well as general training writing and reading topics.
IELTS® topics for the listening section might include conversations about work situations, such as about conference arrangements or planning a presentation. It also includes conversations with two to four people discussing academic topics, such as a research paper or a class lecture. The IELTS® speaking topics require test-takers to answer questions during an interview with the examiner. The topics that the examiner asks the test-taker to talk about include his or her education, hobbies, family and career. In a second part, the examiner selects a topic for which the test-taker prepares a short presentation.
IELTS® topics in academic reading come from journals, newspapers or general literature. The subject of the reading passage might be general interest information such as current events or analytical information that requires the use of charts and graphs. The general training reading topics include items such as job applications, workplace training, company policies and public relations. The reading passages come from employee manuals, newspapers and books.
The IELTS® topics for general training writing include a personal essay and a written letter that explains or summarizes a social, political or personal matter. The academic writing topics also include an essay that supports or opposes a particular argument chosen for the exam session. The other part of the academic writing test requires the test-taker to summarize or explain a process or data contained in charts or graphs.
IELTS® scoring combines the results of the four test sections. The lowest score is 0, if the applicant fails to make any attempt. The highest score of 9 indicates that the applicant has expert English language skills in speaking, reading, writing and listening. A score of 6 yields a competent rating. Scores below 6 indicate limited or moderate skills that might not be sufficient for academic studies or the work environment.