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The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the most popular English language proficiency tests for pursuing higher studies and migrating to the United States, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. There are 3 types of IELTS tests, i.e. IELTS Academic test, IELTS General Training and IELTS Life Skills.

IELTS Academic test is a must for admission to institutions of higher learning with English as the medium of instruction. People who intend to join professional associations in medicine, law and engineering in an English-speaking country also need to pass the IELTS Academic exam.

IELTS General Training is a necessity for enrolling at a secondary school and migrating to an English-speaking country. The USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and UK accept IELTS General Training scores as criteria of language competency for issuing immigration and school-level study visas. Some English-speaking countries insist on IELTS General Training qualification for native English speakers as well.

IELTS Life Skills, which is also known as UK Visas and Immigration, is a pre-requisite to gain immigration and citizenship of United Kingdom. The Life Skills test only assesses the speaking and listening English skills, so as to determine the capacity to communicate in everyday English. IELTS Life Skills A1 paves the way to UK Visas and Immigration family, spouse or partner visa, while IELTS Life Skills B1 opens the doors to permanent residence and citizenship.

The duration of an IELTS test is 2 hours and 44 minutes. The test is divided into 30 minutes for the Listening section, 60 minutes for the Reading section, 60 minutes for the Writing section and 11-14 minutes for the Speaking section. The Speaking section usually takes place on a different day. Each section not only tests the pertinent language skills, but also a variety of life skills, and the assessment is done on a band of 1-10.

In the IELTS Listening test, an examinee has to read the instructions, listen to the listening material and write down the relevant answers all at the same time. In the IELTS Speaking test, the candidate must listen to the questions and respond immediately after the examiner stops speaking. The candidate can use filler phrases or rephrase the question so as to gain some extra thinking time to formulate a response and demonstrate linguistic fluency. In the IELTS Writing test, effective time management is of paramount importance for a good score. The candidate should spend the right amount of time on each task by reading the question carefully, writing the answer and doing the final check within a limited span of time. The IELTS Reading test also places immense importance on timing. The test taker should first skim the text to arrive at a general understanding, read the questions, scan the text for apt answers and then re-read the text carefully to confirm the answer.

To conclude, every IELTS aspirant should understand dynamics of the test, choose the appropriate test and work hard at it.