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IELTS Life Skills preparation FAQs



1. How will I be assessed in the test?

You will be assessed on your ability in four key areas:

  • obtaining information
  • conveying information
  • speaking to communicate
  • engaging in discussion.

At times during the test, you will be allowed to take notes to prepare your answers. The examiner will not mark your notes – only your speaking and listening skills are marked during the test.

2. At what level is IELTS Life Skills?

IELTS Life Skills is available at A1 and B1 levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This is an international standard used around the world to describe learners’ language skills.

3. How long is the test?

For IELTS Life Skills you only need to attend one short session to complete the test. 

The times allowed for each level are:

  • IELTS Life Skills – A1 Speaking and Listening 16–18 minutes
  • IELTS Life Skills – B1 Speaking and Listening 22 minutes.

4. What happens during the test?

There are two main parts to IELTS Life Skills:

In the first part, you are expected to ask and answer questions on familiar topics.

The second part is a combined listening and speaking task.

  • At A1 and B1 level, you will listen to a task played on a CD.
  • Completing the task allows you to show your ability to listen for both the general meaning and detail.
  • You will say your answers, although you can makes notes on paper while you listen to the CD.
  • There will then be a discussion on a theme related to what you have listened to on the CD. 
  • Additionally at B1 level, there is also a task where you plan an activity with the other candidate.

5. Why do I take the test with another candidate?

IELTS Life Skills tests how well you can communicate with other people in everyday English. The best way to test these skills is to pair candidates at a similar level of ability, so you can show how well you can speak English to communicate and engage in discussion with others.