Topic outline

  • Learn about the IELTS Academic exam

    Logo of the IELTS exam

    Description of the exam

    The IELTS exam has four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Each part receives a ‘band score’ and contributes equally to the candidate’s overall band score. This means that there is not a C1 IELTS exam or a B2 IELTS exam, it is the same exam for everyone.

    IELTS band scores generally describe CEFR levels from A2-C2. The highest IELTS band score is 9.

    • B1 ≈ IELTS 4
    • B2 ≈ IELTS 5.5
    • C1 ≈ IELTS 6.5/7

    IELTS has an Academic exam and a General Training exam. Most candidates will take the Academic exam, and the course from the HEG Language Center will prepare you for the Academic exam. The exam is delivered on a computer in a test centre, but the speaking test is done in person. The exam takes about 3.5 hours, plus breaks.

    General tips for IELTS success

    Each part of the exam starts ‘easy’ and gets more difficult, but all questions are worth 1 point.

    Read the questions carefully! The instructions tell you EXACTLY how to answer the questions, but you always have to read them very carefully. Every exam is different with a variety of question types. Practicing exam tasks is an essential part of getting a satisfactory result.

    Time management is the biggest key to success:

    • Look ahead in the listening exam whenever you have time to read or check your answers.
    • There isn’t enough time to read the texts normally – use topic sentences to find the answers.

    Active listening/reading will make it easier to find the correct answer:

    • Predict the type of answer you expect to find (a date, a place, etc.).
    • Anticipate synonyms of words in the questions – the answers will be exactly from the texts, but the words in the questions will be paraphrased.

    Make sure to practice the speaking and writing tasks so you don’t lose any points or time because you didn’t know what to do. They seem simple, but you must follow all of the instructions.

    Take the free practice test available at so you are familiar with the computer interface.

  • Learn about the preparation course

  • External links