The international English language testing system (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration, with over 2 million tests taken through more than 800 test centres and locations in over 130 countries last year. IELTS is one of the two major English-language tests in the world, the other being the TOEFL.
IELTS assesses all of your English skills — Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking, and is designed to reflect how you will use English at study, at work, and at play, in your new life abroad.
There are two versions of the IELTS: the Academic Version and the General Training Version.
- The Academic Version is intended for those who want to enroll in universities and other institutions of higher education and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study or practice in an English-speaking country.
- The General Training Version is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience, or for immigration purposes.
You can take either IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training – depending on the organization you are applying to and your plans for the future. Both versions of the test are made up of four parts – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. IELTS results are graded on the unique IELTS 9-band scale.
WHY CHOOSE IELTS EXAM?
IELTS scores are accepted by over 9,000 organizations worldwide, including universities, employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies.
IELTS is designed by experts to fairly assess the language ability of candidates who want to study or work where English is the language of communication.
IELTS recognizes both British and American English in terms of spelling, grammar and choice of words. It also incorporates a mix of native speaker accents from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and US in the Listening component.
The IELTS approach is recognized as being fair, reliable and valid to all candidates, whatever their nationality, cultural background, gender or special needs. The test questions are developed by a network known as the IELTS item writers in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and the US. They are based on real life sources (for example, advertisements, books, newspapers and company policies), so ensuring that they are always fit for purpose.
IELTS has been developed in close consultation with academics, professional bodies and immigration authorities from around the world.
IELTS is owned by a global partnership of education and language experts: the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the Cambridge English Language Assessment. These bodies are dedicated to academic excellence, cultural understanding, student recruitment and creating success worldwide.
Choose from more than 900 locations worldwide
IELTS tests are offered up to four times a month in over 900 test venues in more than 130 countries. The cost of taking the test is set locally and payable in the local currency, making registration convenient. Results are issued 13 calendar days after the test. Official IELTS test centres can send Test Report Forms directly to your organization or institution (provided it has been nominated), either by mail or as an electronic download.
Choosing IELTS enables you to:
- Prove your English Language Skills: Educational institutions, employers and government immigration agencies require proof of English language skills as part of their recruitment or admission procedures. Increasingly, these organizations are choosing IELTS.
- Gain worldwide recognition for Study, Work and Immigration: IELTS is jointly managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment. Last year, over 2 million candidates used IELTS to open doors to the English-speaking world and beyond. IELTS is recognized by more than 8,000 organizations worldwide.
- Decide on a module that matches your goal: You will take a Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking test. You can choose between two IELTS modules in the Reading and Writing tests:
- Academic – if you want to study in English at undergraduate or postgraduate level, or seek professional registration.
- General Training – if you want to migrate to an English-speaking country (e.g. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK), or wish to train or study in English at below degree level.
All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests.
- Get meaningful international result: The IELTS scoring system is recognized globally, giving you a truly international result. You will receive a score of 0–9, with 0 being for those who did not attempt the test and 9 being for those with a high level of English. Most universities accept scores between 6–7 as being suitable for undergraduate study in English.
The IELTS 9-band score system is consistent. It is secure, benchmarked and understood worldwide. Test materials are designed carefully so that every version of the test is the same scale of difficulty.
WHO ACCEPTS IELTS?
The IELTS test is developed by some of the world’s leading experts in language assessment. It has an excellent international reputation, and is accepted by over 8,000 organizations worldwide, including schools, universities, employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies.
IELTS is the most widely accepted English language test that uses a one-on-one speaking test to assess your English communication skills. This means that you are assessed by having a real-life conversation with a real person. This is the most effective and natural way of testing your English conversation skills.
IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration
If the UK visa you are applying for asks you to prove your English language ability, IELTS is on the list of approved secure English Language Tests.
If you are applying for a visa to move to or stay in the UK, you can choose one of the tests below:
IELTS TEST FORMAT
All candidates must complete four Modules - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking - to obtain a band score, which is shown on the IELTS Test Report Form (TRF). All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules, while the Reading and Writing Modules differ depending on whether the candidate is taking the Academic or General Training Versions of the Test
IELTS Listening – Duration 30Minutes
IELTS listening test lasts for about 30 minutes. It consists of four recorded sections, played on cassette tape, in order of increasing difficulty. Each section might be a dialogue or a monologue. These include questions which test your ability to understand main ideas and detailed factual information, ability to understand the opinions and attitudes of speakers, ability to understand the purpose of an utterance and the ability to follow the development of ideas. A variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used and the test is played once only, and the questions for each section must be answered while listening, although time is given for students to check their answers.
IELTS Reading – Duration 60Minutes
Reading is the second part of the IELTS test, and takes 60 minutes. It consists of three or sometimes four reading passages of increasing difficulty, and there are a total of 40 questions to answer. A variety of question types is used in order to test a wide range of reading skills. These including reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument, recognizing writers' opinions, attitudes and purpose. Though you can mark and write on the Question Paper, you must enter your answers on the Reading Answer Sheet, and be aware that no extra time is given for transferring your answers from the test booklet to the Reading Answer Sheet.
IELTS Writing – Duration 60Minutes
IELTS Writing Test lasts for 60 minutes, and you will need to complete two writing tasks, each of which requires different text types (description, report, discussion, argument, opinion text).
IELTS Writing Task 1
In the first part, you are given a task based on some graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarize or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event. You are expected to write a descriptive report of at least 150 words on the information provided.
IELTS Writing Task 2
The second task is more demanding. You are expected to produce a written argument on a given topic and to organize your answer clearly, given some examples to support your points. You will have to write at least 250 words and, as Task 2 is longer than Task 1, you are advised to spend approximately 40 minutes on this task and 20 minutes on the first task. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.
IELTS General Writing
If you are planning to take the GT module, the Writing test is different. You are allowed one hour to complete two tasks, of 150 and 250 words, as in the Academic module. However, Task 1 is always a letter, while Task 2 is an essay based on a given topic
IELTS Speaking – Duration: 11 to 14 Minutes
IELTS Speaking is a one-to-one interaction between the candidate and an examiner. The Speaking section assesses your use of spoke English. The three parts give the candidate the opportunity to use a range of different speaking skills. IELTS Speaking is recorded. The Speaking section is delivered in such a way that it does not allow candidates to rehearse set responses beforehand.
11 – 14 minutes
Candidates are assessed on their performance throughout the test.
No additional time is given for transfer of answers in Reading and Writing modules
The first three modules - Listening, Reading and Writing (always in that order) - are completed in one day, and in fact are taken with no break in between. The Speaking Module may be taken, at the discretion of the test centre, in the period seven days before or after the other Modules.
The tests are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert user.
Whatever your reason for taking IELTS, make the most of your language skills. For more information, see IELTS FAQ page