IELTS Academic – get ready for a higher education environment

The IELTS Academic test measures whether you have the level of English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher education environment. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin overseas study or training.

Take this test if you want to: 

  • study abroad at either undergraduate or postgraduate level anywhere in the world
  • apply for Tier 4 UK Student Visa at a university that is a Tier 4 Sponsor in the UK
  • work in a professional organisation in an English speaking country. 

If you are applying to a UK University, that has requested you to take an IELTS for UKVI (Visas and Immigration). Find out more about IELTS for UKVI.

Fee for IELTS Academic in Malaysia: MYR 865

Duration: 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Format: There are four sections to the test: IELTS Listening, IELTS Reading, IELTS Writing and IELTS Speaking. When you book your IELTS test with the British Council, the test will take place in an official British Council IELTS test centre.

The order in which Listening, Reading, Writing tests are taken may vary. There are no breaks between these three tests. Your IELTS 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 three (3) days before the speaking test date.

IELTS Academic test Part 1: Listening Tasks

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

Format of IELTS Listening test: Four audio recordings in varying accents. 

You will write your answers using: 

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

For this IELTS Listening part of the test, 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 a word and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas.

IELTS Academic test Part 2: Reading Tasks

Duration: 60 minutes


  • Three long reading passages with tasks (including diagrams, graphs or illustrations
  • Texts range from descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical.

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

This section includes three long texts which range from factual information to discussion pieces and analysis. These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for people entering university courses or people seeking professional registration, or people who want to study abroad.

IELTS Academic test Part 3: Writing Tasks

Duration: 60 minutes

Format of IELTS Writing test:

  • One written task to describe, explain or summarise text or diagrams (minimum 150 words)
  • One essay task (minimum 250 words).

Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies, or seeking professional registration. There are two tasks:

  • Task 1 – you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
  • Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. 

Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.

IELTS Academic test Part 4: Speaking Tasks

Duration: 10 - 14 minutes

Format of IELTS Speaking test:

Our IELTS test centres are delivering the IELTS Speaking test via video calls. This means greater flexibility in delivering IELTS Speaking tests, along with increased availability.

  • The Video-call IELTS Speaking test it will be held at an official IELTS test centre with the same high standards of identity verification. You will be examined by an IELTS Examiner in another location, and the IELTS Speaking test will be conducted via laptop or desktop with headphones which shall be provided by the centre.
  • The IELTS Speaking test will include short questions about familiar topics and speaking in detail about one topic.

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. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.

Please find more about Video-call speaking test HERE or contact your local test centre.

Book your IELTS Academic test

Success starts with IELTS. If your goal is to study at university or work in an English speaking country, then IELTS academic is the right test for you.

Find an IELTS Academic test date in Malaysia

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