Learn about 'IELTS Life Skills'

Learn about 'IELTS Life Skills'

IELTS Life Skills is a new test, approved by UKVI as a Secure English Language Test (SELT). It’s for people who need to show they have speaking and listening skills at Level A1, A2 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Three skill levels

IELTS Life Skills is available at three levels:

  • IELTS Life Skills - A1 Speaking and Listening
  • IELTS Life Skills – A2 Speaking and Listening (offered in the UK only)

  • IELTS Life Skills - B1 Speaking and Listening

At each level, the format of the test is designed to assess whether you can listen and respond, make your meaning clear, and talk with other people.

Important information regarding IELTS Life Skills A2

On 18 January 2016 the government announced a new English language requirement for family route migrants seeking to extend their stay in the UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-a2-english-requirement-in-the-family-route).  After two-and-a half-years in the UK, non-EEA national partners and parents on the family route will need to pass a Speaking and Listening test at A2 level in order to qualify for further leave to remain on the five-year partner or parent route to settlement. 

The government recognises the need to give those affected sufficient time to prepare for the new test.  The timing of implementation and further details will be confirmed by the Home Office in due course and published on the GOV.UK website.  The new A2 English language requirement will not affect those required to apply for further leave to remain in the meantime.

Format of the Speaking and Listening test

You will take the test face-to-face with an examiner, and with one other candidate.

You will participate in a structured conversation listening and responding to a selection of tasks.

The tasks in IELTS Life Skills are designed to reflect the everyday experience of communicating in an English-speaking country. You will be expected to take part in short discussions on everyday subjects including:

  • personal details/experiences
  • family and friends
  • buying goods
  • work
  • health
  • leisure
  • education/training
  • transport
  • housing
  • weather.

The focus and task content for each of the two levels is outlined below:

IELTS Life Skills - A1 Speaking and Listening

The following table shows the focus and indicative tasks that you may be asked to complete:

A1  
Focus:

You will be expected to:

  • listen and respond to spoken language, including simple narratives, statements, questions and single-step instructions
  • communicate basic information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics
  • talk with another person in a familiar situation about familiar topics.

Tasks may include: 

  • describing
  • giving opinions
  • giving personal information
  • stating preferences
  • commenting
  •  asking for information or descriptions
  • agreeing and disagreeing
  • explaining, giving reasons or justifying
  • deciding
  • suggesting
  • selecting.

 

IELTS Life Skills - A2 Speaking and Listening

The following table shows the focus and indicative tasks that you may be asked to complete:

A2  
Focus:
  • listening and responding to spoken language, including straightforward information, short narratives, explanations and instructions
  • communicating information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics
  • talking with one or more people in a familiar situation, to establish shared understanding about familiar topics.

In addition to the A1 tasks shown above, the A2 tasks may include:: 

  • comparing
  • prioritising
  • planning
  • persuading

 

IELTS Life Skills - B1 Speaking and Listening

The following table shows the focus and indicative tasks that you may be asked to complete:

B1  

Focus:

You will be expected to:

  • listen and respond to spoken language, including straightforward information and narratives, and follow straightforward explanations and instructions.
  • communicate information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics, using appropriate formality.
  • talk with one or more people in a familiar situation, making relevant points and responding to what others say to reach a shared understanding about familiar topics.

In addition to the A2 tasks shown above, the B1 tasks may include:

  • showing contrast, cause, reason or purpose
  • narrating
  • asking about past or future events
  • expressing future certainty or possibility

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