IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It is the world’s number one English language test, taken by over 1 million people every year from across the world.
Since 1989, IELTS has been proven and trusted worldwide to provide a secure, global, authentic and customer-focused test which is a reliable indicator of a candidate’s ability to communicate in English.
IELTS has been developed by the British Council in partnership with IELTS Australia and Cambridge ESOL on the strength of forty years of research.
There are two versions of the IELTS test:
IELTS Academic Module
The academic module of IELTS is for students seeking entry to a university or institution of higher education offering degree and diploma courses.
IELTS General Training Module
The General Training Module of IELTS is for students seeking entry to a secondary school or to vocational training courses. This module is also for the candidates who want to apply for the immigration of Australia, New Zealand or United Kingdom under HSMP.
All candidates must take the IELTS test for each of the four skills:
listening, reading, writing and speaking.
All IELTS candidates take the same Listening and Speaking modules but may choose between the IELTS Academic or General Training versions of the Reading and Writing sections of the test. You should seek advice from a teacher or a student adviser if you are in any doubt about whether to sit for the Academic modules or the General Training modules.
These two do not carry the same weight and are not interchangeable.
Test format of the IELTS test
IELTS listening test lasts for about 30 minutes. It consists of four sections, played on cassette tape, in order of increasing difficulty. Each section might be a dialogue or a monologue. The test is played once only, and the questions for each section must be answered while listening, although time is given for IELTS students to check their answers.
4 sections, around 40 questions 30 minutes + transfer time
IELTS Reading test lasts for 60 minutes. Students are given an IELTS Academic Reading test, or an IELTS General Training Reading test. Both tests consist of three sections, and in both tests the sections are in order of increasing difficulty.
3 sections, around 40 questions 60 minutes.
IELTS Writing test also lasts for 60 minutes. Again, students take either an IELTS Academic test, or an IELTS General Training test. Students must perform two writing tasks, which require different styles of writing. There is no choice of IELTS question topics.
2 tasks 60 minutes.
IELTS Speaking test consists of a one-to-one interview with a specially trained examiner. The ELTS examiner will lead the candidate through the three parts of the test:
An introduction and interview, an individual long turn where the candidate speaks for one or two minutes on a particular topic, and a two-way discussion thematically linked to the individual long turn. This interview will last for approximately 11-14 minutes.
Total IELTS test time 2 hours 45 minutes IELTS Band Scales
IELTS Band Scales
IELTS exam tests your ability to use English. Score in each of the subtests and an overall (average) score is recorded as levels of ability, called Bands. Highest : 9 bands for each of the four language macro skills - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The above information is listed on the Test Report Form. The nine bands of language ability are described in general terms as follows:
IELTS Band 9 Expert User
Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
IELTS Band 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.
IELTS Band 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.
IELTS Band 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.
IELTS Band 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.
IELTS Band 4 Limited User
Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
IELTS Band 3 Extremly Limited User
Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
IELTS Band 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.
IELTS Band 1 Non User
Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.