IELTS Academic

IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. IELTS is required for entry to university in the UK and other countries.

What is the IELTS Academic test like?

The Academic version of IELTS is harder than the general version. All candidates do the same Listening and Speaking sections.
The test has four sections:

4 sections, 40 questions, 30 minutes
Section 1: a conversation between two people
Section 2: a monologue set in an everyday social context
Section 3: a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context
Section 4: a monologue on an academic subject (e.g. a university lecture)
Each section is heard once only
An interview, 15 minutes
Part 1 Introduction and interview
Part 2 Individual long turn (you have to talk about a topic)
Part 3 Two-way discussion (The examiner asks further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2.)

3 long reading passages, 40 questions, 60 minutes
Each section contains one long text. Texts are from books, journals, magazines and newspapers.
Part 1: describe, summarise or explain the information in a graph, table, chart or diagram
Part 2: write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem


Level and scores

Multi-level. You get a score between 1 and 9. Half scores such as 6.5 are possible. Universities often demand an IELTS score of 6 or 7. They may also demand a minimum score in each of the 4 sections.

Please click here to see an explanation of IELTS Band Scores. You can use the IELTS Band Score Calculator on this site to convert your reading and listening raw scores.

Click here to see a comparison of IELTS scores with other exams.

What materials do I need?

You can download practice tests in pdf format from our partners at

IELTS Practice Tests

Click here to see the other exam books recommended by Exam English