Examiner tips

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the world’s most popular English language test. IELTS measures your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, and assesses your ability to communicate for work, study or life in an English-speaking country. Please read the tips below carefully to increase your band score.


  • The recordings are heard only once. They include a range of accents, including British, Australian, New Zealand, American and Canadian.
  • A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following: multiple choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labelling, form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion, sentence completion.
  • Underline key words in the questions.
  • Spelling and clear hand writing is important.
  • All of the answers are on the recording.
  • Do not leave any answers blank.


  • 1 hour to answer 40 questions on 3 texts. Approx. 20 min per text. 
  • A variety of question types are used, chosen from the following; multiple choice, identifying information, identifying the writer’s views/claims, matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, diagram label completion and short-answer questions.
  • Look at the text quickly - get a general feel for the content and organization (skimming and scanning).
  • Look for synonyms and phrases that mean the same as what is in the task. 
  • Spelling and clear hand writing is important.
  • All of the answers are in the texts.
  • Do not leave any answers blank.


  • Plan before starting.
  • In Task 1, you will be asked to describe some visual information (graph/table/chart/diagram) in your own words. You need to write 150 words in about 20 minutes. In Task 2, you will respond to a point of view or argument or problem. You will need to write 250 words in about 40 minutes.
  • Make sure you include an introduction, development and a conclusion for Task 2.
  • Link ideas and paragraphs.
  • Spelling and clear hand writing is important.
  • Word count is important (minimum 150 words for Task 1 and 250 words for Task 2).


  • There are three parts to the speaking test. Part 1 lasts for 4–5 minutes. Part 2 lasts 3–4 minutes, including the preparation time. Part 3 lasts 4–5 minutes.
  • Try to relax. The examiner will give you plenty of opportunity to speak.
  • Speak clearly, concentrate on communicating.
  • Be prepared to talk about yourself, your family and life experiences.
  • Do not worry about making occasional mistakes.
  • Do not prepare speeches and reproduce memorised answers.