IELTS General Training – prove you have practical, everyday English language skills

IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and tests reflect both workplace and social situations.

Take this test if you would like to:

  • train or study at below degree level
  • work or undertake work related training in an English speaking country
  • emigrate to an English speaking country
  • get a better job in your own country.

You can choose between paper-based or computer-delivered IELTS General Training. Both test formats will take place at one of our official test centres.

If you want to emigrate to the UK, find out more about IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). 

IELTS General Training fees

  • IELTS General Training paper-based test: 2500 Mad
  • IELTS General Training computer-delivered test: 2600 Mad

Duration: 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Format: There are four sections to the test: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. When you book your IELTS test with the British Council, the test will take place in an official British Council IELTS test centre, whether you choose paper-based or computer-delivered.

If you take a paper-based test your Speaking test may be offered on the same day as the other sections of the test, or up to a week before or after. You will receive notification in advance if your Speaking test is on a different day to your main test day.

If you choose a computer-delivered test, you have a free choice of Speaking test dates and venues.

IELTS General Training test Part 1: Listening Tasks

Duration: 30 minutes +10 minutes to transfer your responses to the answer sheet

Format:  4 audio recordings in varying accents. You will write your answers using:

  • multiple choice
  • matching points
  • diagram labelling
  • sentence completion

You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions.

  • Recording 1 – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
  • Recording 2 - a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
  • Recording 3 – a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.
  • Recording 4 - a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.

Assessors will be looking for evidence of your ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of an utterance and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas.

Please note:

In the computer-delivered Listening test, the timings are slightly different from the paper-based test. This is because the paper-based test requires users to transfer answers to an answer sheet. This step becomes redundant when answering directly on a computer. 

  • Before the start of each part of the Listening test you will have some time to read the questions
  • After the end of each part of the Listening test you will have some time to review your answers
  • At the end of the Listening test, you will have 2 minutes to check your answers
  • The timing of the Listening test is between 30 – 34 minutes.

IELTS General Training test Part 2: Reading Tasks

Duration: 60 minutes

Format:

Three reading passages with tasks:

  • Section 1 - two short or three short factual texts
  • Section 2  - two short work-related, factual texts
  • Section 3 -  one longer text on a topic of general interest

The Reading section consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers' opinions, attitudes and purpose.

This includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.

IELTS General Training test Part 3: Writing Tasks

Duration: 60 minutes

Format:

  • Letter writing task (minimum 150 words)
  • Short essay writing task (minimum 250 words).

Topics are of general interest. There are two tasks:

  • Task 1 - you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
  • Task 2 - you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.

IELTS General Training test Part 4: Speaking Tasks

Duration: 10 - 15 minutes

Format:

  • Face-to-face interview.
  • Short questions and speaking at length about a familiar topic.

Please note: Depending on the test centre location, you may be required to book the Speaking section of your test on a different day.

The Speaking section assesses your use of spoken English. Every test is recorded.

  • Part 1 - the examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
  • Part 2 - you will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
  • Part 3 - you will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. This will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.

Book your IELTS General Training test

Success starts with IELTS. If your goal is to study below degree level or emigrate to an English speaking country, then you will need to take the IELTS General Training test.

At the British Council, we are committed to providing you with the support you need to enable you to do well in the test. When you book with us, you get free unlimited access to Road to IELTS Last Minute course. This includes nine videos giving advice and tutorials, 100 interactive activities and two IELTS General Training practice tests for each of the four skills.

Find an IELTS General Training test date

Before booking your test, make sure to check which test you need with the organisations you are applying to.