Top Marks English IELTS level test instructions & tips


Taking the IELTS Level Test


The test you are about to do might be the first contact you have had with IELTS. The format of the exam might be unfamiliar, but do not panic. The fact that you have been entered in the selection process means you have more or less the level required by the employer, so just relax as much as you can and answer the questions to the best of your abilities.


There are three parts to the exam, but if one part does not go well, please remember that each part will be marked separately and that your score in one section does not affect your score in another.


The first part is the Listening, the second is the Reading and the final part is the Writing. Just follow the online instructions. You will need to download a Reading text, but all the rest of the test is online.


You have a total of an hour and fifteen minutes to take the test, so you should divide this into 15 minutes for the Listening, 20 for Reading and 40 for Writing.  Again, if you feel tense after any section, just take a deep breath, look away for a minute or so and then return fresh to the next section, where you have a new opportunity to get the best possible mark. Here we have attached some tips for each section:




In the listening exam, you will hear each part only once, so it’s incredibly important that you read the questions thoroughly first, in order to get some understanding of the context. It is false economy of time to not do this.


It is a good idea to take some paper and note down key words in the questions so that you can listen out for particular information.


When you realise that they are talking about something related to one of the questions, make sure you quickly write down an answer (or two if you’re not sure) and then continue listening.  You will have time at the end to look at your answers and copy them onto the page, choosing the more appropriate answer if need be, so the note you make while listening doesn’t need to be complete.


If you find that you have missed the answer to a question or that they are talking about something related to a different question to what you were expecting, just carry on where they are.  It is better to just miss one question than to miss several more by trying to go back while the recording continues.




We suggest you first read the IELTS reading text fairly quickly, but not too quickly.  Imagine how you read a newspaper article at first to see if it interests you or not – going through it in not much detail in order to get the overall feeling and maybe noticing some interesting points.


When you then read the questions you should know more or less where to look for the specific details needed to answer.


It is usually a good idea to go with your instinct and once you have put your first answer, to move on to the next question.  As long as you try to do the question you will be fine.  Do not worry about it once you have finished it.




This is probably the most important part for recruitment, so don’t worry if the other parts were difficult.  Here you can express yourself in your own words and show that you can express yourself well in English.  If you are good enough to pass a spoken interview, you are certainly good enough to write a clear essay.

We must stress that it is important that you write this essay yourself. Do not use the internet for ´reference´ or `ideas`.


*All essays are checked for plagiarism and anybody caught copying will be withdrawn from the interview process.  



How to score well on the IELTS test – Writing Test Tips

¨The key to IELTS Writing Task 2 success is to give the examiner exactly what they want and nothing else¨

  • ALWAYS make a plan (We have given one below)
  • Ensure you ANSWER ALL PARTS OF THE QUESTION and clearly state your opinion (for opinion based questions) “I strongly/totally/partially agree or disagree that X is the case”
  • Follow the 4 paragraph structure.
  • Ensure the points you make in your main body paragraphs are supported and extended.
  • Make sure your examples are appropriate. NO WAFFLING!!!
  • Introduce your conclusion with academic terminology such as “In conclusion” or “To conclude”
  • Plan your time so that you leave 5 minutes at the end of the test to check your work.
  • Take particular note to check spelling and grammar.



Paragraph 1- Introduction         

  • Paraphrase the question
  • Briefly indicate the path that your essay will take
  • Inclusion of some opinion (if the question is an opinion question)

Paragraph 2 – Viewpoint number 1 / argument number 1

  • At least 2 developed arguments
  •  Examples

Paragraph 3 – Viewpoint number 2 / argument number 2

  • At least 2 developed arguments
  • Examples

Paragraph 4 – Conclusion

  • Sum up the essay
  • Use appropriate academic terminology to introduce it –

In   conclusion / to conclude/ to sum up

  • Include your opinion (if the question is an opinion question)



CLICK HERE to watch a video that will help you approach Task 2.  You only need to watch the first ten minutes.  The second part (about Task 1) is not necessary for this test.



Quick Checklist for the Test


Find a place where you have a good internet connection and quiet surroundingsHave other Windows browsers open at the same time
Read the Listening questions before you startAsk friends for help.  This is a test to see YOUR level.
Make short notesCopy anything from the internet or from another student.
Skim through the Reading textWorry if you miss the answer to a question – there are 8 more
Make sure you start the Writing after maximum 35 minutesPanic if one section is difficult. Each section is completely separate and different.
Read the Writing question carefully and answer all partsTry to explain over-complicated concepts.
Keep it clear
Check your grammar


Good luck in the test!  Please remember that this is just a way for us to know which stage you are at in the IELTS process.  If it is your first time, don’t panic.  Just do the best you can. If you experience any technical problems which have affected your ability to complete the test, please contact your agency and your test will be reviewed.