IELTS Life Skills test is different from the General Training IELTS and from the Academic IELTS, it only tests two skills, Listening and Speaking. It is intended mainly for people wanting to immigrate to the UK. At the time of writing this (21 February 2015) the new test was announced at the same time as changes to UK immigration requirements and on the official IELTS website it is linked specifically to the UK immigration, but in the future other countries might add the IELTS Life Skills test to their visa requirements.
The test, unlike IELTS, has two levels – A1 and B1 – and assesses only two skills – Speaking and Listening – in a one-to-one sitting with an examiner and another test taker. The range of tasks vary from introducing, arguing, expressing opinions, synergizing, describing, commenting, suggesting, deciding etc. Some other tasks may include comparing, planning, persuading expressing future events etc.
The duration of the test is only maximum 40 minutes – around 22 minutes for A1 and 18 minutes for B1 and you need to take the test with another test taker and one Examiner. Your own performance on both speaking and listening will be assessed during this one session. You cannot take any break during the exam. Test dates are normally available within 6 days and the result is provided within 2 days only.