The Complete Guide to IELTS in Malaysia
(Updated 2023)

Looking to study overseas? The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the most popular English language proficiency test for international study and is widely accepted among the most prestigious academic institutions. Read our full guide below which include practice questions.

Table of Contents

What is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)?

ielts malaysia guide

IELTS Full Form: International English Language Testing System

The International English Language Testing System, more commonly known as IELTS, is an English proficiency test that is widely accepted around the world. If you’re looking to study or work abroad, you may be required to take the IELTS.

Once you have taken the tests, your results will come in the form of component or section scores and an overall band score. If you’re unhappy with your results, you can retake the IELTS – there are no limits for this, though you will have to pay the full fee each time you resit the test. IELTS scores are valid for two years.

Some countries will require proof of English proficiency to obtain certain types of visas. The following countries are known to accept IELTS for some visas:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

IELTS is also accepted in a number of other countries around the world. Aside from visa applications, English proficiency tests are a common requirement for entry into universities, professional accreditation bodies, and so on.

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Do I have to take IELTS?

Here are some examples of people who might need to take the IELTS:

  • Future undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree outside Malaysia
  • Malaysian university graduate pursuing postgraduate studies in Australia
  • Professional doctor, lawyer or other accredited professional moving to another country
  • A Malaysian who wants to migrate to the UK
  • Someone who has been offered a job in an overseas country

Be sure to check with the university or country’s visa office if proof of English proficiency is required. Some universities will require proof of English proficiency to apply to a programme while some may allow you to take the test after enrolment. However, you may not be given adequate time to study for the IELTS and repeating the exam can be costly.

If you’re a Malaysian and you intend to study, work, or live anywhere abroad, it’s recommended that you take IELTS because it is a common requirement. Malaysia is usually not seen as a majority native-English speaking country which would otherwise allow for exemptions from this requirement.

IELTS Format

You may take the IELTS in two formats – the first is a paper-based test and the second is a computer-delivered test. 

Additionally, there are two types of IELTS tests for English: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The IELTS Academic tests are designed for those pursuing tertiary education while the IELTS General Training paper is adequate for other purposes. According to IELTS, roughly 80% of test-takers sit for IELTS Academic.

The test has four sections:

  1. Listening – 40 questions, 30+10 minutes
  2. Speaking – interview, 15 minutes 
  3. Reading – 60 minutes
  4. Writing – 60 minutes

IELTS Listening Test

This is the first section of the test. You will listen to a number of audio recordings and answer a number of questions based on what you hear. Pay close attention as the recording will only be played once! You are allotted 30 minutes for this section and you are given an extra 10 minutes to write down your answers. Questions in this section have equal weight.

IELTS Speaking Test

The speaking test is conducted as an interview. There are three parts in this test. In the first exercise, you will be asked general questions about a familiar topic. In the following exercises, you will be given questions based on a topic. Be sure to discuss the topic before providing more detailed answers. This section will take about 15 minutes to complete.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

The IELTS Academic and General Training tests differ in the reading and writing sections. In the IELTS Academic reading test, you will be given a number of passages to read and you will answer a total of 40 questions based on these passages. There are many types of questions in this section so your answer may take the form of a short written answer or a multiple choice. You have 60 minutes for this section and all questions in this section have equal weight.

IELTS Academic Writing Test

There are two tasks in this test and they’re timed separately. You are given 20 minutes to complete the first section where you have to write a 150-word descriptive essay. The second section requires you to write a 250-word essay in 40 minutes. Try to do your best in the second section as it has double the weight of the first section. That means that your performance in the second section is more important for your final test score.

IELTS Practice Test

IELTS Listening Test Practice

There are four sections for the listening test. Listen to these audio recordings in the links below and try to answer the questions.

Section 1 – link to audio

There are 10 questions in this section.

Complete the table below.

Write no more than two words and/or a number for each answer.

ielts listening section 1

Section 2 – link to audio

There are 10 questions in this section.

Choose the correct letter, A, B or C.

11. The September Celebration day is held …

A     five times a year to honour the city

B     on the park’s important birthday

C     to remember the history of the park


12. The park was first built in …

A     1955

B     1979

C     the 1990s


13. The park still uses …

A     a children’s play area

B     a petting zoo

C     two of the early rides


14. The Hurricane roller-coaster is …

A     tall and made of wood

B     designed for smaller children

C     very fast and exciting


15. The rides with a height limit are coded …

A     yellow

B     blue

C     black


Section 3 – link to audio (Skip to 3:25)

There are 10 questions in this section.

Complete the summary below.

Write no more than one word for each answer.


Project description:

You need to design a grey-water treatment system to reduce the pressure on the water

25………………….. in a Cameroon village. Grey-water is wastewater from household

26………………….. . The system needs to treat this water to remove bacteria, and recycle it to use for purposes such as watering plants, flushing toilets and doing 27………………….. .


Section 4 – link to audio

There are 10 questions in this section.

Complete the notes below.

Write no more than two words for each answer.


Variation in global diets:

  • Inuit – most calories from 37………………….. foods, e.g. seal meat
  • Jains – vegetarian, but milk is permitted
  • Others – fish, insects

Implications for the caveman diet:

  • Cavemen did not all eat the same diet
  • Diets come from complicated cultural 38…………………..

Problems with caveman diet:

  • Costs a lot of money for lean meat at 39…………………..
  • Too much red meat may be unhealthy
  • Reliance on meat is bad for the 40…………………..

IELTS Speaking Questions

There are three parts to the speaking test. Your interviewer will start with Part 1 with easy questions about common topics such as:

  • Work – What is your job?
  • Study – What is your favourite subject and why?
  • Home – What is your home like?

For Part 2, you will be given a topic and 1 minute to prepare a 1-2 minute talk. In Part 3 of the speaking test, you will be having a 4-5 minute discussion with the examiner. The topics for these two parts will be similar, but the questions for Part 3 will require you to provide more in-depth answers. 

Some common topics for Parts 2 and 3 are:

  • Art
  • Books
  • Internet
  • Music
  • Family
  • Hobby

While preparing for these topics, try to remember the academic writing steps which also apply to speaking – PEEL. Start with a point, elaborate, provide an example, and lastly, make a conclusion. If you’re stuck for ideas, go through the 5 W’s and an H – who, what, when, where, why, and how. For example, if you’re discussing a book you’ve read recently, try to discuss what was in the book, why you liked it, who you liked or disliked in the book, and so on.

IELTS Reading Test

There are three sections to this test. Each section will include a passage and a number of questions that are based on the information in the passage. The following IELTS sample reading test is similar to what you might expect from the IELTS Academic paper. 

Read the passage below and answer the questions that follow.

Extraction and Purification of Drinking Water

Many people prefer bottled drinking water over drinking from the city tap water supply. Typically, bottled water is extracted from underground sources. Water that exists underground has no natural exit points, so bottled water companies may need to drill down through water table wells to extract water from unconfined aquifers. Water is extracted in this manner when the Earth’s water table (the natural water level) is much lower than the surface of the Earth. In some cases, a natural spring may emerge when the water table is higher than the Earth’s surface, such as with a valley or gully on a mountain. While bottling companies may extract water from underground springs through a drilled hole, the composition of the water has to be identical to naturally surfacing water in the region.

From confined aquifers, which are underground cavities of porous rock containing water with a confining layer over it, artesian water is drawn. Companies can access this water if they drill a vertical channel down into the confined aquifer. However, this type of aquifer is pressurised, so the water will often rise and form a flowing artesian well, which is an explosive fountain at the surface of the Earth. This occurs when the surface is lower than the natural water table. Otherwise, if the natural water table is above the surface, the artesian water is drawn using an extraction pump.

Before bottled water is sold, it is subjected to a number of cleansing processes. Reverse osmosis is a common filtering procedure that presses the water through microscopic membranes to filter out larger contaminants. These microscopic membranes can even obstruct germs and it is especially effective against salts, nitrates and limescale, which are highly undesirable. One disadvantage of the reverse osmosis process is that it generates a lot of unusable water as a by-product which has to be discarded.

The water is also treated for pathogens and one of the newer methods for removing them is ultraviolet (UV) light. Powerful UV light has the ability to kill bacteria, and the process simply requires the water to pass through a treatment chamber with sufficient strength of UV light. The UV light works by removing the DNA of harmful germs which removes its ability to replicate. UV light is exceptionally impressive, with the ability to neutralise even viral agents like hepatitis which is highly resistant to treatment.

The effects of UV light treatment are variable, thus, many water treatment processes still rely on chlorination. Not only is chlorine a comprehensive antimicrobial treatment, but it is also inexpensive and is the only antimicrobial treatment that ensures contaminant-free water all the way through the piping system into the taps of domestic homes. However, there are some groups of people who are suspicious about water that has been treated with a harsh chemical. Regardless, the ease of use and low cost of chlorine has ensured that it remains in use, especially in making tainted water supplies safe for use after natural disasters.

Another method of cleansing water is distillation. Untreated water is boiled until it turns into steam, which goes through a cooling tube and condenses into clean water. This process removes toxic compounds and other impurities such as heavy metals, so the treated water is cleaner. However, the distillation process also removes beneficial minerals that occur naturally in water. As a result, those who only consume distilled water may require mineral supplements.

All forms of drinking water are typically subjected to stringent quality control processes in developed countries. Therefore, there is little evidence that spending a significant expense on important bottled water is any safer or healthier than regular tap water that comes from the municipal drinking supply. Tap water and bottled water are both tested rigorously for pathogens and contaminants. Aside from certain isolated cases related to old or faulty plumbing, tap water is harmless. Nevertheless, consumers of bottled water often justify their choice on the reasonable basis that the chlorination process tap water goes through produces an unpleasant aftertaste.

Questions 6-11

Classify the following statements as referring to:

A.    reverse osmosis
B.    UV light treatment
C.    chlorination
D.    distillation

Write the correct letter, A, B, C or D, in boxes 6-11 in your answer sheet. You may use any letter more than once.

  1.     It protects water continuously as it is being transported.
  2.     It is especially useful in emergency situations.
  3.     It separates unwanted matter from water using a physical barrier.
  4.     It stops bacteria from reproducing
  5.     It removes minerals from water.
  6.     It produces wastewater as a by-product.

IELTS Writing Task 1

The bar chart below is an example of what you may have to describe in your first writing task. Aside from bar charts, you may be given diagrams such as maps, pie charts, graphs, and so on. What you need to do in this section is to describe the data in the diagram accurately and concisely. It’s recommended that you write at least 150 words for this section. This writing task is worth 33% of your total writing marks.

ielts writing task 1 bar chart

IELTS Writing Task 1 Sample Essay

The bar chart illustrates the expenditure on five consumer goods (cosmetics, laptops, watches, smartphones and clothing) in the UK and Luxembourg in 2022. Units in the chart are measured in pounds sterling.

Overall, Luxembourg spent more money on consumer goods than the UK in 2022. Residents of the UK and Luxembourg spent most of their money on cosmetics whereas the least amount of money was spent on smartphones in Luxembourg compared to clothing in the UK. Furthermore, clothing had the most significant difference in expenditure between the two countries.

Additionally, people in the UK spent just under £400,000 on laptops while people in Luxembourg spent a little over £300,000. Neither of the countries spent much on smartphones which accounted for just under £200,000 of expenditure in the UK and around £120,000 in Luxembourg.

On the other hand, the amount of money spent on the remaining goods was higher in Luxembourg. Around £450,000 was spent by people in Luxembourg on cosmetics which was slightly more than the British who spent around £420,000. Exactly £400,000 was spent by Luxembourgers on watches which is more than the British who spent £300,000. The people of Luxembourg spent twice as much on clothing as the British did, with over £350,000 spent in Luxembourg and £150,000 spent in the UK.

IELTS Writing Task 2

You are required to write a formal essay for this second writing task. Some common types of essay you may be asked to write include: opinion, discussion, advantage/disadvantage, direct questions, and solutions. For this section, it is recommended that you write at least 250 words. This writing task is worth 66% of your total writing marks.

IELTS Writing Task 2 Example Question

In recent years, paper books have seen a decline in popularity while e-books have become more popular. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this trend?

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Essay

With the rise of digital technology, many physical items have become obsolete, replaced with digital copies and new gadgets. In my opinion, while paper books allow for a tactile reading experience, e-books are more portable and offer invaluable tools such as search and dictionary functions.

One advantage that paper books offer is tactility, which means that the physical form of the book and the sense of touch are part of the reading experience. Opening and closing the book, flipping through the pages, and even having them on display on a shelf are all part of the reading experience for some readers. Additionally, some may read more paper books more effectively than e-books as they are more used to reading this way.

There are several advantages to e-books as well. E-books are far more portable than books are. Hundreds of e-books can fit into a reading tablet while books take up a lot of space and are heavy. Another advantage of e-books is the functions that reading devices offer. It is easy to look up the meaning of a word using the dictionary function and to jump to another section of the book by using the search function.

However, there are some disadvantages to e-books. The blue light from digital reading devices may strain the eyes or disrupt sleep. While e-books may save paper, reading devices such as e-readers have a short lifespan and create electronic waste. Finally, reading devices may require an internet connection for readers to be able to access their books.

In conclusion, while some readers may prefer a paper book, e-books offer readers superior portability and convenience.

(270 words)

IELTS Writing Task 2 Guide

Be sure to use the basic PEEL steps in writing: Point, Elaborate, Example, and Link (or Lastly). Start off each paragraph with your point. Then, follow the opening sentence with an elaboration that supports your point. Provide some examples and build on your argument. End the paragraph with a sentence that reiterates your point by linking back to the point you have made in that paragraph.

You are given ample time to write this section. 40 minutes is more than enough for this writing task. It is recommended that you spend around 15 minutes to draft an outline before you start writing the essay. Do not try to write an essay that is too long – anywhere between 250-300 words will be sufficient! Writing more will not earn you a higher band for your test. Instead, you should work on presenting a solid argument and using good vocabulary.

IELTS Vocabulary List

Vocabulary accounts for 25% of your marks in the writing and speaking portions of the test. You need to demonstrate that you understand these words and are capable of using them where appropriate. We’ve compiled a list of vocabulary you should try to use when you’re sitting for the IELTS!

  • Conversely, contrarily, in contrast
  • Variables, aspects
  • Affect, impact
  • Demonstrate, reveal, show, display
  • Phenomenon, trend
  • Eliminate, eradicate, reduce
  • Exacerbate, worsen
  • Besides, moreover, additionally, aside from that
  • Continual growth, dominance, steady decline

- The Scoring Structure -

IELTS Band Score

You will receive individual section scores as well as an overall score. These scores go from 0-9 in .5 point increments. 9 is the highest score while 0 is the lowest possible score. The score of 9 is considered an expert level score by IELTS. UK universities will usually require a minimum overall score of 6.5, up to 7.5 for certain sections.


IELTS Band Score



Expert level, complete understanding of the language


Very good, fully operational command of the language


Good, effective command of the language with occasional misunderstandings


Competent with some misunderstandings




Extremely limited


Did not attempt to answer the test or non-user of the language

IELTS Reading and Listening Score​

This section has 40 questions and one mark is awarded for each correct answer. Your score, out of 40, will be converted to a band, which goes from 0-9. Your final score for this section will be between bands 0-9.

- Other Key Information -

IELTS 2024 Exam Dates In Malaysia

IELTS is available three or four times a month. This means that it’s possible to sit for the test on any given week. However, IELTS is very popular so it’s recommended that you register a few weeks before you intend to sit for the test.

Where To Take IELTS Test In Malaysia?

You can sit for IELTS at any official test centre which are available in the following locations:

  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Petaling Jaya
  • Subang Jaya
  • TTDI
  • Johor Bahru
  • Penang
  • Melaka
  • Ipoh
  • Kota Kinabalu
  • Kuching
  • Miri
  • Sibu

IELTS Registration In Kuala Lumpur

There are a few methods to register for IELTS in Kuala Lumpur:

  1. Book in person at a British Council office. There are British Council branches in Kuala Lumpur and Mutiara Damansara, you can find their contact details here.
  2. Register online on the official website here.
  3. Contact us and we can get you registered for the test. Get in touch with us via WhatsApp, email or a phone call. You can also fill in our contact form and one of our consultants will be in touch with you.

There’s usually a high demand for IELTS, so we recommend that you register a few weeks before you intend to sit for the test.

What is the IELTS Fee In Malaysia?

Here are the latest IELTS fees in Malaysia, as of 2024/2025. To make payment, you can contact us here and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Test TypeTest fee with effect from January 1, 2023
Regular IELTS on computerRM 835
UKVI IELTS on ComputerRM 935
IELTS (Life skills)RM 792

IELTS Practice Test and Preparation

We strongly recommend that you do a few practice tests before you sit for the real thing. Being familiar with the test format will help you know what to expect 

You could practice for the IELTS on a number of websites online before you sit for the real test. Here are some recommendations:

IELTS Liz – Liz is an IELTS teacher who has compiled a list of free practice tests and resources on their website here.

British Council Practice Tests – These are the practice tests provided by British Council.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your results will only be available on the 13th day after your written test. This applies to both the paper and computer tests.

If you took a paper test, you can collect your results in person. If you took a computer-delivered test, you can check your results on IELTS’ website here. IELTS will only keep your results for 90 days on their website, so you should save your results.

Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, only offers an academic paper while IELTS has an Academic test and a General Training test. TOEFL only has multiple-choice questions while IELTS test questions have many formats including multiple-choice and fill in the blank questions.

There is no age limit for sitting for IELTS, but it is recommended for those who are aged 16 and above.

Most UK universities require a minimum overall score of 6.5 and a minimum of 6.0 in all sections, but this will vary depending on the university and course. Some programmes may require a minimum of 7.5 for certain sections of the IELTS test.

IELTS Registration -
Take IELTS Exam In Malaysia Now

If you would like to register to take the IELTS, contact us immediately or visit us at our office in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. Book an appointment with us now!