Introduction to IELTS – Academic Module

Introduction to IELTS – General Training
July 31, 2017
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Introduction to IELTS

What is IELTS?

IELTS or International English Language Testing System is a test of English language proficiency. It tests the four areas of English language – listening, reading, writing and speaking.

IELTS examinations are conducted by British Council and IDP and you may take the examination with either British Council or IDP. The tests are the same and examiners and valuation are also the same. There is absolutely no difference between them.

What are General Training and Academic versions?

There are two versions of IELTS tests- Academic and General Training.
Generally, to study or to work in countries like the UK, you need to take the Academic version.

To study below degree level or to migrate, you need the General training version. Make sure which version you need, after consulting your migration agency or the foreign institution beforehand.

When should I register for examination?

DO NOT register yourself. After assessing your skills through tests, we will register you. However, as seats are limited, we need to register you at least two months before the examination date.
To take the IELTS examination, you will need a valid passport and you must have it with you at the time of examination.
Without a passport, you will not be able to take the test.

When do I get the results?

Results will be made available 13 days after the test. On the 13th day, the results will be published on the British Council web site and the TRF (Test Report Form) with the scores will reach candidates in another three to four days by mail or courier.

What is the validity of the IELTS certificate?

The IELTS results are valid for a period of two years from the date of the examination.

Coaching at Mentor

Coaching at Mentor is individulaised. That is, you get one-to-one tutoring. Also, you can attend group sessions and classes.
You can decide which area you need to concentrate on more, and the training will be tailored to suit this requirement. That is, if you need more practice in Reading or Listening, you can have more practice sessions on it.


Join our library paying a refundable deposit, and you can take out books and CDs on IELTS for practising at home.

Testing and evaluating

PRACTICE TESTS: Every day there will be Practice Tests for all the four modules – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
MOCK TESTS: conducted every Friday: 9.30 am – 12.30 pm and 2 pm – 5 pm. for the four modules which will monitor the candidate’s progress and help identify weak areas.
MOCK EXAMINATIONS: held during the week before the actual IELTS examination so that candidates get a feel of the examination procedure and also gain confidence.

Flexible Time

Classes are from 9 am till 6 pm, Monday to Friday.
You may walk in any time during this period for practice.

There will not be any class on public holidays.


The IETLS Test

The IELTS examination has 4 separate tests – Listening Test, Reading Test, Writing Test and Speaking Test.

Listening Test – 30 minutes
The first test is the Listening Test. It is for 30 minutes. You will listen to audio played and write answers.

Reading Test – 1 hour

The next test is Reading test. There is no break. It is for one hour. You will write answers after reading passages.
Reading Test materials are different for Academic and General Training modules.

Writing Test – 1 hour

Writing test is different for Academic and General Training.
In the Academic module, you must write about a graph. Next, you must write an essay.
In General Training, you need to write a letter and an essay.

Speaking Test – 12 – 14 minutes
This is an interview between one candidate and one examiner.


Listening Test

The listening Test is for 30 minutes. It will have 4 sections and 40 questions.

– You must write your answers as you listen. The audio will be played only once.

– In the test, use only pencil .

– In the examination, you write on the question booklet, and then you get 10 minutes to transfer the answers to an Answer Sheet.

How to calculate your score: (approximate only)

Writing answers in Listening Test

Capital letters:
You can write in small or capital letters. If you wish, you may write everything in capitals.
Example: rabbit meat / Rabbit Meat / RABBIT MEAT. <-- All are accepted.

Money/ Numbers:
You can use currency symbols or write currency name.
$= dollar; ₤ = pound € = euro

Numbers can be written in figures or words.
Example: $ 200 / 200 dollars / two hundred dollars

If you are not sure about the symbol, write in words: pound/ dollar/ euro etc.
But 200 dollar X 200 dollars

Now, do the listening test in your practice book.


Academic Reading Test

The Reading test is for 1 hour.
It will have 3 passages .
In total, there will be 40 questions.

How to calculate your score: (approximate only)

What is in the test?

In the test, there will be 3 passages and each passage will carry about 13 questions (Total 40 questions) The total test time is one hour.
Obviously, you do not have the time to read the entire passage and then answer the questions.

So, the first rule is:
Do not try to read the entire passage and answer questions.

What you should do:

Skim the passage first.
That is, read the titles, sub headings, paragraph headings. Read the passage very quickly.
Or, read the first sentence of every paragraph.
You should take less than 3 minutes to do this.

What is the use of skimming?

Skimming will give you a rough idea about the passage and tell you where some information lies.

After skimming, read the question.
Read the instructions and the question. Read the question 2-3 times. Understand it. Then take key words from the question and search the passage.
In the passage, you may not find the same words. So, you must look for paraphrasing.

What are the key words?

Key words are important words in a sentence. They contain the main information. Usually, they are the nouns and verbs. See the examples below.

1. The twentieth-century collections come mainly from mainstream societies such as the US and
Europe. (Key words: twentieth-century collections)

2. Most ecologists were aware that the areas of Amazonia they were working in had been shaped by human settlement. (Key words: ecologists)

The first sentence is about ‘twentieth century collections’. The second is about ‘ecologists’.
Using these key words, you should search the passage to find the answer.

What is paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing means expressing the same idea in different words.
In IELTS Reading Test, sentences form the passage are paraphrased into questions. If you can understand the paraphrasing, you are likely to get the answer correct.

Practice Tests

Do the practise tests given below. Follow the instructions.
Write your answers in your book. The correct answers are given at the end of the test. Do not look. Write your answers first, then look.

Choose the correct option

Tip: Skim the passage. Then use the key words in the question to search for the answer.

It is generally believed that tempers grow shorter in hot, muggy weather. There is no doubt that ‘crimes against the person’ rise in the summer, when the weather is hotter and fall in the winter when the weather is colder. Research in the United States has shown a relationship between temperature and street riots. The frequency of riots rises dramatically as the weather gets warmer, hitting a peak around 27-30°C. But is this effect really due to a mood change caused by the heat? Some scientists argue that trouble starts more often in hot weather merely because there are more people in the street when the weather is good.

Psychologists have also studied how being cold affects performance. Researchers compared divers working in icy cold water at 5°C with others in water at 20°C (about swimming pool temperature). The colder water made the divers worse at simple arithmetic and other mental tasks. But significantly, their performance was impaired as soon as they were put into the cold water – before their bodies had time to cool down. This suggests that the low temperature did not slow down mental functioning directly, but the feeling of cold distracted the divers from their tasks.

Why did the divers perform less well in colder conditions?

A They were less able to concentrate.

B Their body temperature fell too quickly.

C Their mental functions were immediately affected by the cold.

D They were used to swimming pool conditions.


Key word: divers. divers perform less well.

paraphrase: perform less well = their performance was impaired
cold distracted them = they were less able to concentrate =

The answer to why the divers performed less well is in the last sentence.

Correct answer : A


Fill in the blanks type of questions.

1. With fill in the blanks, always read the full summary. Do not stop at the blank.

2. Use the key words in the sentence and search for the answer.

3. Before, deciding always put the word in the blank space and read the full sentence and see if the word is suitable and if it makes sense.

A commonly drawn distinction is between pre-history, i.e. the period before written records – and history in the narrow sense, meaning the study of the past using written evidence. To archaeology, which studies all cultures and periods, whether with or without writing, the distinction between history and pre-history is a convenient dividing line that recognises the importance of the written word, but in no way lessens the importance of the useful information contained in oral histories.

Since the aim of archaeology is the understanding of humankind, it is a humanistic study, and since it deals with the human past, it is a historical discipline. But it differs from the study of written history in a fundamental way. The material the archaeologist finds does not tell us directly what to think. Historical records make statements, offer opinions and pass judgements. The objects the archaeologists discover, on the other hand, tell us nothing directly in themselves. In this respect, the practice of the archaeologist is rather like that of the scientist, who collects data, conducts experiments, formulates a hypothesis, tests the hypothesis against more data, and then, in conclusion, devises a model that seems best to summarise the pattern observed in the data. The archaeologist has to develop a picture of the past, just as the scientist has to develop a coherent view of the natural world.

Much of the work of archaeologists can be done using written records but they find 1 ………………. equally valuable. The writer describes archaeology as both a 1 …………… and a 3 …………….. However, as archaeologists do not try to influence human behaviour, the writer compares their style of working to that of a 4 ………………… .


Answers: 1. oral histories 2 – 3 humanistic study / historical discipline 4.scientist

Tips: For 1: you should search ‘written records’. The passage uses ‘written word’.
2, 3: Look for two things the writer tells about archeology.
4: What is the comparison that he makes.



Task: Here, you will be given some statements. You need to tell whether the given statements are True, False or Not Given. Write TRUE if you can find information in the passage to support the statement. FALSE if the opposite information is given. NOT GIVEN if no information is given in the passage.

Step 1 – Skim the paragraph
Step 2 – Read the question and use the key words to search the paragraph.

People communicate in many different ways and yawning is one important means of non-verbal communication. It gives many different messages to people and everyone yawns. Some birds, reptiles, fish and most mammals also yawn. However, the reason why we do it is still a mystery. There is also very little research available on yawning as for most people, it is not a problematic reflex. Here are a few things that are known about yawns:
 The average duration of a yawn is about six seconds.
 In humans, the earliest yawn happens about eleven weeks after conception.
 Yawns become contagious to people between the first and second years of life.

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the passage extract?

Write TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this in the passage

1. A lot of research has been done on yawning.

2. An average yawn lasts less than ten seconds.

3. People yawn when they are bored.

1. No (There is also very little research available on yawning) 2. True (duration of a yawn is about six seconds) 3. Not Given

Selecting paragraph / section headings

Here, you need to select suitable headings for paragraphs or sections from a list of headings

What you should do:
 Read the paragraph / section and find out the main idea.
Pay attention to the first and last sentences of the paragraphs.
Go through all the headings and eliminate the unsuitable ones, and select the most suitable one.

Choose the suitable heading for the paragraph given below from the list given under.

The world’s population is forecast to reach 7.5 billion by 2020, and growing prosperity, especially in China, is fuelling a rising appetite for meat and cereals. Yet it is becoming harder to find new farmland, water is increasingly scarce and crop-yield is slowing. Already 167 million children are malnourished. Are hungry times ahead?

List of headings:

i. Population figures for China

ii. Assessing China’s farmland

iii. Global population and the future

Tip: When doing IELTS Reading Test, there is no time to read every word. Practise reading just the key words. Give importance to the main ideas in the paragraph. The main ideas in the above paragraph are:

The world’s population is forecast to reach —— billion by 2020
… growing prosperity, in China, fuelling a rising appetite for meat,…
… harder to find new farmland… water increasingly scarce …
——- million children malnourished. Are hungry times ahead?

Don’t focus on minor details. Consider what the overall idea is.
The correct heading for the above paragraph is iii.


Choose the correct heading for the paragraphs A – C from the list of headings below.

List of Headings

i. The destruction of the library
ii. Collection methods
iii. Replacing lost books
iv. The library’s original purpose
v. Storage methods

The old library of Alexandria

The old library of Alexandria, which served as the intellectual and cultural hub of Egypt for 250 years, was destroyed in 43 BC. Now there is widespread speculation about its true beginnings. The most popular theory is that Ptolemy I Soter (who ruled from 304 to 282 BC) gathered a vast selection of books on kingship, ruling and the world’s people, so he might better understand trade terms and how to lead his subjects.

Ptolemy I longed to possess all the literature in the world. The manuscripts took the form of scrolls kept in pigeonholes, the best of them wrapped in jackets of linen or leather. They are likely to have remained in the groups in which they were acquired, rather than being properly categorised. Parchment wasn’t used until later, when the first books began to be written and kept in wooden chests in Roman times.

As the library expanded, Ptolemy’s successors used increasingly unscrupulous techniques to obtain manuscripts. One source claims that every ship sailing to Alexandria’s harbour was routinely searched and, if a book was found, it was confiscated and taken to the library. There it was examined and a decision made whether to keep it and make a replacement copy, to be given to its rightful owner together with adequate reimbursement, or to return the original copy outright.

Paragraph A : ………….. Paragraph B: …………… Paragraph C: ……………


Answers: Paragraph A: iv In paragraph A, ‘destruction of library’ is not the main idea. The main idea is in
the second sentence. Now there is widespread speculation about its true beginnings.’
(The paragraph tells that the ruler built the library to understand trade terms and lead his subjects.
(subjects = people) (speculation = theories, guesswork)

Paragraph B: v – the paragraph describes how the books in the form of manuscripts (hand-written papers) were stored.
‘The manuscripts …kept in pigeonholes, the best of them wrapped in jackets of linen or leather …’

Paragraph C: ii Paragraph C tells how books were obtained. (obtained = collected) ‘… every ship sailing to
Alexandria’s harbor was … searched and, if a book was found, it was confiscated and taken to the
(confiscate (verb) take something away officially)

Points to remember

The reading test has 3 passages
The test time is one hour
There are 40 questions in total

 Do not try to read the entire passage slowly. Only skim it.
 Use the key words from the question to search for the answer.
 If you find a question difficult, leave it. Do not spend more than 1½ minutes on one question.
 The answers to the questions in a section will appear in order in the passage.
 For fill in blanks questions, read the full sentence; do not stop at the gap.

How to score well in IELTS Reading tests:

People who read a lot tend to get better score in Reading tests. So, try to read articles in newspapers, magazines every day.

Build your vocabulary.

To get a good score in Reading tests, you need to know a lot of words and their meaning.
Have a Vocabulary Book and collect new words every day.
Have two lists: Reading Vocabulary and Writing- Speaking Vocabulary. (See Vocabulary page at the Mentor site)

Now you can do a full Reading Test with 40 questions.

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