The 4 Components of IELTS – Explained

UKVI IELTS is UK government-approved English language test necessary for attaining UK visas. The IELTS for UKVI is a specially designed test to evaluate the skills of the applicant, whether or not they can conveniently progress in an English-speaking country. The applicant is given the option of attempting the test either in the written format or electronically. UKVI IELTS is only available at the test centres which have been approved by the UK Home Office. These centres need to maintain their standard as per Home Office’s criteria. 

Develop an understanding of the format

It is important to develop a proper understanding of the UKVI IELTS pattern. The pattern, format and study material are more or less similar to that of general IELTS. Hereby, even if you train for general IELTS, attempting the UKVI IELTS would be equally easy for you. Coming back to the format, it is essential to take a deep insight into each of the components of IELTS such as reading, listening, speaking and writing.

1.    Reading

The ‘Reading’ part of the IELTS consists of three sections followed by forty questions. The passages are taken from magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company portfolios and handbooks. These passages usually contain content related to day-to-day situations you might encounter while living in an English-major country. You have to go through the passages and then answer the related questions as per your perceptions.

The questions do vary in their nature, from multiple choice questions to short descriptive questions. You might also be asked to complete the sentences, flow charts, grids and other similar puzzles. In other cases, the questions could also consist of matching headings to the relevant features. 

2.    Listening

The listening test consists of 4 sections and spans over 30 minutes in total. Forty questions have to be answered at the end. The initial two sections consist of recordings related to daily-life social situations and the latter are of the educational category. As the name shows this section evaluates the applicant’s ability to understand the language. The evaluation is done by analysing the ability to understand the main ideas, opinions and attitudes of the speaker, deducing the basic information and the purpose of the recordings.

3.    Speaking

The academic speaking test of the IELTS consists of three parts. The test collectively spans from 10 to 15 minutes. In the first part, the examiner will ask you to generally introduce yourself and general questions about your work, hobbies, family etc. In the second part, you’ll be given a cue card which would have a certain topic written on it and you will be asked to speak on that topic for about 2-3 minutes. You’ll be granted 1 extra minute for preparation and penning down a rough draft of your speech. The third part consists of questioning by the examiner about the topic given to you. 

4.    Writing

The writing test comprises two tasks

Writing task 1
Writing task 2

In IELTS writing task 1, you’ll be asked to write formal, semi-formal and informal letters. Each letter would be 150 words. 

In the second task, you would be given a topic to write an essay on, the essay must be 250 words at least. The essay could revolve around a discussion of ideas, advantages and disadvantages, and the cause and effect. This part will assess the ability to provide factual information, the way of justifying your argument or opinion, or challenge ideas.