The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS is an international standardized test of language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and , and was established in 1989.
IELTS has covered:
As IELTS is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test with more than 2 million tests taken in the year; recognized by more than 9000 organizations in 135 countries for work, study and migration purposes.
The test that’s fairer to you:
IELTS is the only high-stakes English language test where your Speaking test is one-on-one with an examiner in a private room where you will not be interrupted by other test takers. There will be no computers and no distractions.
A better format:
People have different approaches to answering questions and with IELTS you can answer questions within the Reading test or within the Writing test in the order that suits you. You can also make changes to your Reading answers during the hour of the Reading test and adjust your Writing responses during the hour of the Writing test.
IELTS tests are held up to four times a month. Although test dates can vary by test locations. And most IELTS test centers hold the speaking test on a different day to the Listening/Reading/Writing test which many candidates prefer over doing it all on the same day.
Researched and unbiased:
IELTS test content is developed by an international team of experts and undergoes extensive research to ensure the test remains fair for any candidate regardless of nationality, background, gender, lifestyle or location.
The IELTS nine band score system grades scores consistently. It is secure, benchmarked and understood worldwide. Test materials are designed carefully so that every version of the test is of a comparable level of difficulty.
The IELTS Test Format
Two test options: General Training or Academic
The IELTS Test provides two testing options – General Training and Academic. IELTS Academic measures English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher learning environment. IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. Which one you take depends on the requirements of the organization you are applying to.
The IELTS test (whether you take General Training or Academic) comprises four components: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. You will take the Listening, Reading and Writing tests all on the same day, one after the other, with no breaks in between. Depending on your test center, your Speaking test will be on the same day as the other three tests, or up to seven days before or after that. The total test time is 2 hours. And 45 minutes.
You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions.
- Recording 1 – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
- Recording 2 – a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
- Recording 3 – a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.
- Recording 4 – a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.
Assessors will be looking for evidence of your ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of an utterance and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas.
The Reading component consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognizing writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.
IELTS Academic test
This includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.
IELTS General Training test
This includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.
IELTS Academic test
Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. There are two tasks:
- Task 1 – you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe 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.
- Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.
IELTS General Training
Topics are of general interest. There are two tasks:
- Task 1 – you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
- Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.
The speaking component assesses your use of spoken English. Every test is recorded.
- Part 1 – the examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
- Part 2 – you will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
Part 3 – you will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.