Everything you need to know about IELTS

What is IELTS?
» IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. IELTS exam is designed to assess the readiness of candidates to study or train in further or higher education courses held in English at a college or university level. People take the IELTS exam for immigration purposes also. IELTS score indicates a candidate's ability to handle the language in general.

Who owns the IELTS test?
» IELTS is jointly owned, managed and administered by 3 organisations:
British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia & Cambridge English Language Assessment.

British Council website IDP websiteCambridge site Logo

Which countries accept the IELTS score?
» IELTS has been accepted as the standard international testing system for English language proficiency by a whole range of institutions. These include the majority of all education establishments operating in English in Australia, Canada, the UK and New Zealand. US educational institutions are also now starting to use it. Many international immigration services also use the IELTS as well as various professional organisations including the British and Australian Medical Councils and the UK Ministry of Defense.

What are the two types of IELTS?
» Two types of IELTS are- Academic Version and the General Training Version. Academic Module is suitable for those who are going to apply for further studies and professional registration. The General Training Module is appropriate for those who are going to English-speaking countries to complete work experience and training programs or for immigration purposes.

What are the 4 sections of IELTS?
» There are 4 sections or modules in IELTS: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests, but Reading and Writing tests vary depending on whether a candidate is taking the Academic IELTS test or the General Training IELTS test.

Sections of IETLS

What is the minimum age requirement for IELTS?
» IELTS is recommended for candidates over the age of 16.

What are the differences between Academic and GT version of IELTS?
» The Academic Version of IELTS is designed and therefore intended for those who want to get themselves admitted in universities or any other higher educational institutes and for professionals who want to study or practice in an English-speaking country. The General Training (GT) IELTS is intended for those who are willing to gain work experience, undertake non-academic training or for immigration purposes.

GT or Academic IELTS

What is the computer-based IELTS test?
» The computer-based version of IELTS is an alternative to the paper-based IELTS exam. You can sit for any of the two exam types. However, computer-based IELTS is not available in all test centres. To learn more about Computer Based IELTS please contact the local IELTS exam authority.

Where can I take the IELTS Exam?
» More than 1100 test centres around the world administer IELTS exam and those test centres are in more than 140 countries. You can find an IELTS test centre in your country (in major cities) and register for the test. The IELTS test centres are administered by British Council, IELTS Australia and other qualified and permitted organisations. Contact to the local IELTS examination centre for more details. Alternatively, you can find the details of the test centre from the URL:  www.ielts.org/test_centre_search/search_results.aspx

How IELTS is scored?
» IELTS result is prepared on a nine-band scale. In addition to the score for overall language ability, IELTS provides a score in the form of a profile for each of the four skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking).These scores are also reported on a nine-band scale. Each Overall Band Score corresponds to a descriptive statement which gives a summary of the English language ability of a candidate classified at that level. The nine bands and their descriptive statements are as follows:

9 Expert User
Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
8 Very Good User
Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
7 Good User
Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
6 Competent User
Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 Modest User
Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
4 Limited User
Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
3 Extremely Limited User
Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
2 Intermittent User
No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1 Non User
Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
0 Did not Attempt The test
No accessible information provided.

Is there any special consideration in IELTS for the disable candidates or another condition which might require special arrangements?
» IELTS aims to assess the English language communication skills of all test takers fairly and objectively. The IELTS test centres can make arrangements to accommodate special circumstances or requirements to enable test takers to attend a test centre, and to understand questions and tasks and give their answers. Test centres require three months’ notice to put special arrangements in place. Generally, some special circumstances are considered like Visual difficulties, Hearing difficulties, Illness. If you are genuinely ill on the day of the exam or during the test you should let the test supervisor know. Special consideration may be given to test takers who report their illness on the day of the test.

In which Countries IELTS exam is taken?
» The IELTS test is taken every year across 140 countries and the number is increasing. To find the complete list or to search if your country is listed, click on IELTS CENTERS. It is one of the fastest growing English language tests in the world and sets the standard in integrity, research and innovation. Changes are brought into this exam to make it more efficient.

How much does it cost to take IELTS?
» The cost of the IELTS exam is not fixed. It is set by test centres. Fees may vary depending on the countries and test centres. On an average, the cost is approximately GBP 160. Generally, the GT IELTS and Academic IELTS cost same. To find out more about the cost or availability of the exam schedule visit http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/how_do_i_register/test_fees.aspx

Can IELTS be an alternative to TOEFL?
» The answer is YES and NO! Over 800 US institutions recognise IELTS and accept either IELTS or TOEFL for admission purposes. However, there are still some institutes and universities who prefer TOEFL. Please contact the University or educational institute you are intending to study or to the immigration centre of the country where you are planning to migrate to find out their preference.

How IELTS differ from the TOEFL or TOEIC test?
» TOEIC and TOEFL exams have many multiple-choice questions while IELTS have very minimum of it and only in the reading section. IELTS test is offered more regularly than these two tests. TOEFL and TOEIC are more common for the USA while IELTS is common for the rest of the world.

For how long the IELTS test result is valid?
» Generally, a Test Report Form (TRF) or IELTS result is valid for 2 years. However, there are other factors to determine the validity period.

Can a native English speaker take the IELTS exam?
» Yes, a candidate who speaks English as the primary language can sit for the IELTS exam.

How long does the IELTS exam take?
» The examination takes approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete. The time schedules for the reading, writing and listening sections are fixed but for the speaking section, this may vary.

IELTS Test length

What is the purpose of the IELTS?
» The purpose of the IELTS exam is to test the candidates' ability to handle the English language who want to study or work in a country where English is the language of communication. IELTS result is also necessary for the immigration purposes.

Where are the IELTS test centres?
» For a comprehensive and most recent list of the IELTS test centres go to the page www.ielts.org

What is the pass/ fail mark in IELTS?
» In IELTS exam there is no pass or fail. IELTS result is prepared on a nine-band scale. In addition to the score for overall language ability, IELTS provides a score in the form of a profile for each of the four skills i.e. Listening, Reading, Writing and speaking.

What should I bring to do the IELTS registration?
» You will need the following things to register yourself for the IELTS exam:
Registration fee, Valid Passport, Two copy colour passport size photographs, Country and Language code. (Don't worry if you do not know the Country and Language code. You can find it on the help desk of the test centre.)

What happens if I am unable to appear for the IELTS test?
» If you fail to appear for the IELTS test, you will be treated as a 'No Show' candidate. No refunds will be possible for a 'no shows' candidate. However, there are some special circumstances under which your application may be considered with some conditions. Acceptance of your form is subject to approval by the test centre.


What things I am allowed to take with me in IELTS exam room?
» You are allowed to take pencil and erasers (rubbers) only with you while you sit for your IELTS exam. The test centre will arrange a designated area where you can put your personal belongings like a mobile phone, bag, pager etc. You are not permitted to keep any electronic devices like mobile phone, pager, calculator etc. with you during the test. On a paper-based test, write your answers for the reading and listening module using a pencil and NOT a pen. You are not allowed to even borrow or lend anything in the test room so take extra pencil and erasers with you. It usually kills time to sharpen or cut the pencil and it is advised to use lead-pencil or taking multiple shaped pencils to save the time.

What can I do if I am not satisfied with my results?
» You might apply for an inquiry on results (EoR) procedure within six weeks from the date you took the IELTS exam, using a prescribed form, which must be paid prior to the processing of the appeal. The fees may vary depending on the countries and IELTScentress. Then your result will be re-examined and if necessary will be corrected.

Should I take the IELTS Academic Module or the IELTS General Module exam?
» The IELTS Academic Module exam is intended for those who want to study in an English-speaking country or where the medium of communication is English, as well as for medical professionals who want to practice abroad. The General Module exam is for those who want to emigrate to Australia, Canada or New Zealand, undergo practical vocational training, or do a work placement. Before you register we strongly advise you to check directly with the institution you are doing the test for. It is your responsibility to choose the module that suits your purpose. To find out more visit Academic or General Training IELTS?

Can I use a driving license or student ID card as a proof of my identity?
» No, driving licenses and student identity cards are not acceptable forms of identification. Candidates must have a valid passport or identity card to register for the IELTS exam. The ID document specified on the application form has to be brought along on the test day. Non-EU nationals must carry their passport.

What can I do if I want to postpone or cancel my application?
» If you request a postponement or cancellation of your IELTS test within 5 weeks of the test date, you'll  normally be charged the full fee unless you are able to provide appropriate medical evidence to support your request within 5 days of the test date.

Can I get a better score at some IELTS testing centres than at others?
» Absolutely NOT. IELTS officials use many means to ensure standardisation of Band Scores throughout the world. Of course, it could be true that taking IELTS in an English speaking country is beneficial, but only because you are being exposed to English every day.

When will I get my IELTS result?
» The IELTS test centre will produce the result after 13 days of the test. At some centres, candidates may collect their results on the 13th day from the test centres or it is mailed to candidates on the 13th day. Most candidates now collect their IELTS result from the internet. However, test centres do not give results to the candidates over the phone or by fax or e-mail.

Can I leave the Exam room during my IELTS examination?
» No, you are not permitted to leave the test room during the examination in normal circumstances.

How soon can I repeat the test?
» From 1st May 2006, the policy on candidates re-taking IELTS has been amended. The restriction on re-taking IELTS within 90 days has been removed and candidates are able to repeat the test whenever they wish. Candidates will still be asked to indicate on their application form whether they have taken the test before. This information will appear on the Test Report Form and will only be used for monitoring purposes. So you can take the IELTS exam whenever you wish.

What if I become ill during the test?
» If you are seriously ill during the test, you should report it to the test supervisor. Then the test centre will take special care of the situation and might give special consideration. No consideration or favour is possible if it is not brought to the attention of the test supervisor.

What happens if a candidate is absent on the day of the test without giving prior notice?
» The candidate will normally lose their full test fee unless s/he provides appropriate medical evidence to the centre to explain the absence. Medical evidence must be provided within 5 days of the test.

Can I take the IELTS exam more than once?
» Yes, you can take the IELTS exam as many times as you want.

If I've already taken IELTS exam, will my previous score/scores affect(s) my new score?
» No, your previous IELTS score will not affect your new score.

How quickly can I increase my level of English to get a higher band Score in IELTS?
» It depends on how you use your study time and how willing you are to improve your English. In general, you should count on having to study for 3 months (the time varies depending on your foundation and calibre) to improve your level.

If I get a good IELTS score, can I use it as proof of my ability at any time in the future?
» There is a time limit on the usefulness of the Test Report Form which you receive after having taken the IELTS test. This period is about two years, provided you can prove that you have maintained your English.

Does the IELTS test differ in various parts of the world?
» IELTS is a global standard test. It does not assess candidates from different geographical location differently. However, the questions may vary depending on the test locations or centres.

Do I need a passport to attend the IELTS test?
» Basically, the passport is a compulsory requirement for the IELTS test in many countries because it serves as identity/ address proof. In many countries, it is not a mandatory requirement because there are alternative ways to prove the identity there. So it is advisable to contact the test centre first to be sure whether a passport is required or not.

Will I get 10 minutes at the end of the Reading test to transfer my answers to the answer sheet?
» No. The Reading test gives you total one hour, and you must write all your answers on the answer sheet in this time. Like the listening test, you won't have any extra time in the Reading test to transfer the answers to the answer sheet.

Can I make some notes on the Listening and Reading question paper?
» Yes, you can. The examiner will not see your question paper.


1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 2.44 (9 Votes)

Skills in IELTS is very important to pass this test.
Thanks for providing the information. It is very useful for IELTS students.