IELTS tests are held in over 500 centres with tests up to four times a month. IELTS respects international diversity and is fair to anyone who sits the test, regardless of nationality. You can choose from two types of IELTS test: Academic or General Training, depending on whether you want to study, work or migrate. Both modules are made up of four parts Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. IELTS results are graded on the unique IELTS 9-band scale.
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 practise 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.
The test covers the full range of ability from non-user to expert user. You are not limited in how many times you can sit the test. You can trust the quality and security of IELTS because it is managed by three reputable, international organisations: British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL). IELTS tests all four language skills Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The Speaking test is a face-to-face interview with a certified Examiner. It is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get.
The speaking module is a key component of IELTS. It is conducted in the form of a one-to-one interview with an examiner. The examiner assesses the candidate as he or she is speaking, but the speaking session is also recorded for monitoring as well as re-marking in case of an appeal against the banding given.
The module comprises four sections of increasing difficulty. Each section, which can be either a monologue or dialogue, begins with a short introduction telling the candidates about the situation and the speakers. Then they have some time to look through questions. The first three sections have a break in the middle allowing candidates to look at the remaining questions. Each section is heard only once.
In the academic module the reading test comprises three sections, with 3 texts normally followed by 13 or 14 questions for a total of 40 questions overall. The General test also has 3 sections. However the texts are shorter, so there can be up to 5 texts to read.3
In the Academic module, there are two tasks: in Task 1 candidates describe a diagram, graph, process or chart, and in Task 2 they respond to an argument. In the General Training module, there are also two tasks: in Task 1 candidates write a letter or explain a situation, and in Task 2 they write an essay.
The level of the test
IELTS is designed to assess English language skills at all levels. There is no such thing as a pass or fail in IELTS. Results are reported as band scores on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest). Band scores are used for each language sub-skill (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking). The Band Scale ranges from 0 (“Did not attempt the test”) to 9 (“Expert User”).
The IELTS Band Score Scale
9 Expert user
8 Very good user
7 Good user
6 Competent user
5 Modest user
4 Limited user
3 Extremely limited user
2 Intermittent user
1 Non user
0 Did not attempt the test
Research shows that IELTS motivates test-takers to develop real and well-rounded English rather than learning by rote. This means your understanding of English is improved and valid for real life in an English-speaking country. More than 6000 organisations, including many government departments and universities, rely on IELTS. The IELTS scoring system is recognised globally, giving you a truly international result.
When can I take the test?
Arrange with your closest test centre. There are frequent dates, usually on Thursdays or Saturdays.