Prepare for IELTS Life Skills

Prepare for IELTS Life Skills

For the best preparation, we recommend that you familiarise yourself with the format of the IELTS Life Skills test and complete a practice test. Free practise materials are available below.

What level is IELTS Life Skills?

IELTS Life Skills is available at A1, A2 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.

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.

Test format

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 level A and level B, 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 make 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.

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 - A2 Speaking and Listening 20 minutes
  • IELTS Life Skills - B1 Speaking and Listening 22 minutes.

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.

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.

Free support materials

You can download free preparation material below.

Switch to mobile view