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About the IELTS Exam

About the IELTS Exam

 

Latest Update About the IELTS Exam 

 

From March 2023, IELTS will launch “One Skill Retake” in India

IELTS will provide a “One Skill Retake” option where test takers can just show up for the module in which they scored badly. They do not have to retake the IELTS exam’s four modules. In the past, if an IELTS test-taker didn’t achieve the desired score in any modules, they had to retake the entire exam. India’s execution of this update will begin in March 2023.

 

What is the IELTS Test?

  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is the language of communication and instruction.
  • It is a compulsory exam for admission into universities and training programs in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Professional bodies, government agencies and immigration authorities also of these countries recognize the test.
  • IELTS is managed by three reputable, international organizations – British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL).
  • It covers four basic language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking.
  • Administered at centers throughout the world

Did you know that it has become a must if you wish to get a student visa to Australia?

 

How is the IELTS Test Developed?

The IELTS test is developed to provide assessment on the English language proficiency in a fair, accurate and reliable manner. It has rigorous test design, development and validation processes. These processes verify that every version of the test is of a comparable level of difficulty, and that every test around the world provides valid and consistent results.

The test is divided into four categories: speaking, writing, reading, and listening. The IELTS test covers real-world scenarios. Test writers from different English-speaking countries develop IELTS content so it reflects real-life situations around the world and is unbiased and fair to all test takers, whatever their background.

 

Why the IELTS Exam is Required?

In English speaking countries such as Australia, the UK, New Zealand, the USA, and Canada, the IELTS exam is necessary for both academic and immigration purposes. For candidates seeking visas from both inside and outside the UK, the IELTS exam is the only English Language Test approved by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Usually the students get confused about why the IELTS scores are required, the short answer is that foreign institutions of higher learning and agencies in charge of issuing visas must be sure that you won’t experience communication problems while you are there. Your overall IELTS band scores are crucial because you must demonstrate that you have a solid grasp of the English language. Not all universities require IELTS for admission. IELTS scores may not be even necessary for access to many universities. However, keep in mind that if you choose not to take IELTS, your chances of receiving a student visa may decrease because the visa officials might not be satisfied with your English competence in the absence of a score. Therefore, it is safer to take the IELTS and strive for a score of at least 6 overall bands.

IELTS has become a pioneer in the field of international higher education, with the number of examinations rising to a record of 3.5 million in the year 2018. In both the UK and Australia, all universities recognize the IELTS exam.

Additionally, more than 11,000 institutions across more than 140 countries accept it. There are thousands of institutions in English-speaking countries, as well as US institutions.

 

Top Countries Accepting IELTS Score

More than 140 countries consider the IELTS exam results. You can take the IELTS exam and apply to your preferred nation with a decent score, whether it’s for work, study, or immigration. It is essential to check the country’s and the university’s IELTS eligibility criteria before taking the test. Below are the top countries which accepts the IELTS:

 

Top Universities/Colleges Accepting IELTS

The IELTS exam brings up a world of possibilities! IELTS is accepted by more than 11,000 organizations in 140 nations. These consist of academic institutions, businesses, and professional associations. This exam will clearly track how the applicant uses the English language for work and education, providing insight into how the applicant will handle communication when traveling. In fact, more than 3 million IELTS exams are taken annually, making it the most widely used English language test. Below are the top universities/colleges which accepts the IELTS exam:

 

IELTS Eligibility 2024

There is no such eligibility criteria for the IELTS exam. Anyone can take the IELTS exam regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, nationality, or religion, but those under the age of 16 are not advised to take the IELTS exam in 2024. Anyone can take the IELTS IDP exam if they desire to work or study further education overseas. However, applicants should always review the qualifying requirements established by the institution of higher learning or organization to which they are seeking.

 

IELTS Exam Pattern & Syllabus

Candidates who want to perform well on their IELTS test should properly understand the IELTS pattern and syllabus. The four components of the IELTS syllabus are reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Along with receiving a grade on these four components, students also receive an IELTS overall score. The scores in the four skills areas are added together to create the final score. The entire test lasts for two hours and 45 minutes.

IELTS Test Module Time Duration Brief Description
Listening 30 minutes 4 sections, 40 items
Writing 60 minutes 2 writing tasks
Reading 60 minutes 3 sections, 40 questions
Speaking 11 – 14 minutes 3 part one-on-one conversation

 

Formats of the IELTS Test

There are two formats of the test – Academic and General Training.

Academic – Institutions of Higher and Further Education

  • The Academic format is, broadly speaking, for those who want to study or train in an English-speaking university or Institutions of Higher and Further Education. Admission to undergraduate and postgraduate courses is based on the results of the Academic test.

General Training – for school, work or migration

  • The General Training format focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts. It is typically for those who are going to English-speaking countries to do secondary education, work experience or training programs
  • It should be noted that certain professions require an Academic test result for registration and migration purposes.

The Listening and Speaking modules remain the same in both the formats but have different Reading and Writing modules.

Academic Training General Training
Listening: 4 Sections, 40 questions and 30 minutes Listening: 4 Sections, 40 questions and 30 minutes
Reading: 3 sections, 40 questions and 60 minutes Reading: 3 sections, 40 questions, 60 minutes
Writing: 2 tasks, 60 minutes Writing: 2 tasks, 60 minutes
Speaking: 11-14 minutes Speaking: 11-14 minutes

 

The Listening Test Format for IELTS Exam

  • Multiple choice
  • Sentence completion
  • Matching
  • plan/map/diagram labelling
  • Form /note/ table/ flow chart/ summary completion

 

The Reading Test Format for IELTS Exam

  • Multiple choice
  • Sentence completion
  • Matching
  • diagram label completion
  • Short-answer question

 

The Writing Test Format for IELTS Exam

  • In Academic training writing- Candidates are required to show that they can provide a written description of some visual information (of minimum 150 words in 20 minutes) that can develop their ideas in an essay about a specified topic (of minimum 250 words in 40 minutes).
  • In General training writing- The first writing task given is a familiar task, i.e letter writing, in respect to a scenario. Candidates will be given 20 minutes to write about 150 words. The second task is an essay and it should not be of minimum 250 words and should be done in 40 minutes.

 

The Speaking Test Format for IELTS Exam

It is divided into 3 parts of 11-15minutes.

Part 1: This includes all the verbally asked questions that invite candidates to share a little bit about their life.

Part 2: The part known as “the long turn.” The topic is given to candidates in a written form. They will be allowed to make and use notes so that their thoughts are organised before they speak.

Part 3: It involves a discussion in which the examiner asks various questions to allow candidates to explore the same topic in a bit deeper or more broadly together.

 

IELTS Vocabulary

Vocabulary is the essence of any language. Vocabulary may indeed refer to the collection of words known by an individual or by a large group of people. It comprises 25% marks in IELTS Speaking and Writing which plays a vital role in Listening and Reading tests too. IELTS is an English Language Proficiency Test. Good homework on vocabulary will help in improving the overall score whereas Poor vocabulary makes you repeat words within a passage and run short of words while conversing with your examiner.

 

IELTS Exam Fees

In India, the IELTS exam fee is Rs. 16,250.

  • You will get a refund of less than a 25% administrative fee if you cancel your IELTS registration more than five weeks prior to the test date.
  • You won’t get a refund if you cancel your IELTS exam less than five weeks before the test date.
  • You will also not be eligible for a refund if you don’t take the test. This is regarded as a cancellation as well.
  • Those who can provide a medical certificate within five days of the test date are eligible for reimbursement once the local administrative fee has been deducted.
  • You can request a test day transfer at least five weeks prior to your already scheduled test day, less the cancellation or postponement fee.
  • Ensure that the rescheduled test date must fall three months or less after the original test date.
  • Candidates must pay an administrative charge of INR 2,325 inclusive of all taxes for the change in the test date.

 

IELTS Scholarships

The IELTS exam has provided many students and professionals with opportunities to advance their careers or studies abroad by doing preparation for the writing, reading, listening and speaking section of the exam. Paying tuition fees in foreign currency while covering hefty living costs is one of the major drawback of studying abroad. Because of these factors, many students frequently find themselves stuck with other options rather than being able to study abroad. However, with the availability of various education loans and IELTS scholarships, students can finally follow their dreams of studying abroad. In addition to various fellowships and grants that are often given to worthy students, scholarships are also listed on the official websites of every college. To finance their studies abroad, students may also choose to take out education loans from financial institutions. There are various scholarships available for IELTS:

  • Great Scholarship India
  • Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarships
  • The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Program
  • British Council IELTS Award

 

How Many Times the IELTS Exam is Conducted in a Year?

IELTS test is conducted upto 4 times in a month making a total of 48 fixed test dates in one calendar year. The availability of IELTS exam dates in India may vary for the Academic and General Training modules.

 

IELTS Exam Dates 2024

In India, the IELTS computer delivered exam is conducted throughout the year except major holidays. However, IELTS Paper based test is available on selected dates only and not ALL centers offer the test on each of these days. Test takers need to check available test centers from the official IELTS website. Before registering for the test, make sure your nearest IELTS test location has the IELTS exam dates and slots available that you are planning to take.

IELTS Registration 2024

Keep in mind that you will need your passport number while registering for the IELTS exam, so keep your passport close to you. You must also bring your passport with you on the day of the exam. Below are the simple steps to register for the IELTS exam.

  • Visit the official website of IELTS IDP.
  • Create an account on the website
  • Find a test center close to your place
  • Register and pay INR 16,250 as an IELTS exam fee.

Anyone under the age of 18 must have their parents or guardian schedule the exam on their behalf. Once you have registered for the IELTS exam, your test center will email you a written confirmation with the date and time of your IELTS exam.

 

IELTS Test Centres

India is home to numerous IELTS test locations. You can take the exam in 78 locations in India. In order to avoid exhausting travel on the day of the exam, you should carefully choose your location. Select an IELTS center with a short commute so that you can arrive at the test feeling rested. It would be easy to find a test center close to your house with so many sites available. Keep in mind that you must reserve the IELTS center in advance according to your convenient time.

 

IELTS Scoring

  • There is no pass or fail in IELTS. You will be graded on your performance using scores from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Your results from the four parts then produce an Overall Band Score.
  • This unique 9-band system measures scores in a consistent manner – wherever and whenever the test is taken. It is internationally recognized and understood, giving you a reliable international currency.

 

The IELTS 9-band scale

  • Each band corresponds to a level of English competence. All parts of the test and the Overall Band Score can be reported in whole and half bands, e.g. 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0.
  • The IELTS Cut Off generally ranges from 7 to 8 from 9-band Scale.

Band Definition

Band 9 Expert User Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
Band 8 Very Good User Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well
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.
Band 6 Competent User Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacy’s and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
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.
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.
Band 3 Extremely Limited User Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
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
Band 1 Non-User Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
Band 0 Did not attempt the test No assessable information provided

 

IELTS Result

If you have taken your IELTS exam online then you will receive your IELTS result within a week. Whereas, if you have taken the IELTS exam offline then you would need to wait 13 calendar days from the test date to view your score online. Also, you will receive an email when your scores will be available. You have to login to your IELTS account on the IELTS results IDP website to check your scores. There is no pass/fail method in the IELTS because the results are based on a system of 9 levels. Each institution or organization chooses the IELTS score to satisfy its particular needs. The IELTS 9 scoring system summarizes each candidate’s exam results. Your IELTS score is valid for two years after you receive your results.

 

IELTS Cut-off

IELTS was created to evaluate students’ English language proficiency at all levels. In this way, students can never fail the exam. On a scale from 1 to 9, the four abilities make up the IELTS score, and students also receive an overall band score. Candidates are reminded that not all universities and programs require applicants to pass the IELTS exam and that the IELTS cut-off score differs for different institutions and programs that students are interested in. If you want to apply to universities, get a job, or immigrate to an English-speaking country, your overall IELTS band score is important.

 

IELTS Preparation

Both self-study and taking coaching classes are viable options for IELTS preparation. It all depends on how comfortable and how well-versed you are in the language. You can study independently for the exam if you already speak English well enough to avoid taking coaching sessions. Only the timing of your IELTS preparation should be determined.

Additionally, self-study is preferable if cost is a major factor. However, keep in mind that you must have access to the most recent study strategies for each IELTS exam area in order to study independently. On the other hand, coaching sessions are an excellent option if you don’t have enough time and requires a professional guidance for exam preparation. Your time will be better handled because consistently attending lessons will become a part of a routine.

 

IELTS Books

The best IELTS books are listed below for applicants planning to take the exam.

  • The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS by Cambridge University Press
  • Cambridge IELTS Academic 14 + 15 + 16 + 17 by Cambridge University Press
  • Road to IELTS (Free online resources) by British Council
  • Official IELTS Practice Materials 2 with DVD by Cambridge ESOL
  • IELTS Superpack by BARRON’S

 

Tips and Tricks for the IELTS Exam

To ace the IELTS exam, there are some tips and tricks which must be followed by the candidate:

How to prepare for IELTS Test –

  • Understand the Test Format.
  • Take a practice test.
  • Study the IELTS syllabus material.
  • Make a study plan.
  • Develop the english capabilities and IELTS strategies.
  • Multi-task when listening in English.
  • Develop a wide range of reading skills.
  • Practice more and more until you feel confident.
  • Register for the Test.

Start following the schedule around 3months before the exam, so that you will get the desired results.

Exam day tips –

  • Get enough rest the night before the exam.
  • Wear appropriate and comfortable clothes.
  • Eat a proper meal before an exam.
  • Look for the direction of the test center to reach there before time.
  • Pay attention to punctuation, spelling and word limits.

 

IELTS Sample Papers

You would need to be aware of how far you have come when studying for the exam. You could advance in your preparation by understanding where you stand. Therefore, it is advised that you continue taking the IELTS to practice for test 2023 and IELTS mock exam on occasion. Additionally, you would be better equipped to face and manage the question paper on exam day without becoming anxious.

 

Some IELTS Facts

Why the IELTS test is required?

  • The IELTS test is used for international candidates, considering studying or working in a country where English is the main language of communication. IELTS helps you to study, live or work almost anywhere globally. More than 9,000 organisations worldwide recognise the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) certification, including government, academic and employment institutions.

Why do we have two formats of IELTS?

  • IELTS has two versions – Academic and General Training. The Academic test is for those who want to study at a tertiary level in an English-speaking country. The General Training test is for those who want to do work experience or training programs, secondary school or migrate to an English-speaking country. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests

Is IELTS easy and in which month it is easy to take?

  • IELTS is the world’s leading test of English language proficiency, IELTS is not that difficult in itself. In less than 3 hours, it assesses the abilities of candidates in listening, reading, writing and speaking.

It can’t be definite but it will be good if you plan your exam eight before the topics change i.e. for the end of December, April and August, you will know 99,99% topics and you will have enough time to prepare all of them.

How do I know which should I take?

  • Read the explanation of the Academic and General Training tests and contact the organization or institution to which you are applying to find out what it requires. Note that you must know which version to take when you complete the IELTS Application Form.

How long is the test?

  • The total duration is 2 hours 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are done in one sitting. The Speaking test may be on the same day or up to seven days before or after the other tests.

How much does the test cost?

  • The registration fee for the IELTS stands at INR 16,250.

When will I receive my test results?

  • Your Test Report Form will be posted to you 13 calendar days after your test date. All test centers will post your Test Report Form to you. Keep your Test Report Form in a secure place as you only receive one copy. Some test centers provide SMS alerts and an online results service.

How long are IELTS scores valid?

  • IELTS scores are valid for 2 years.

What is IELTS for immigration?

  • If you are planning to migrate to an English speaking country like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK then you may need the IELTS General Training Test as authorities may ask you to provide evidence of your English language ability.

IELTS vs TOEFL exam

  • The TOEFL test only targets speakers with American accents whereas The IELTS exam features English speakers with different accents. For the writing sections, the TOEFL exam is typed as opposed to the written responses of the IELTS exam. Both tests require the completion of two tasks.

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FAQ's

What is the purpose of the IELTS test?

The purpose of IELTS is to offer a fair and consistent evaluation of English language skills.

What is the difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training?

IELTS Academic testing is typically required for admission to universities. On the other hand, IELTS General Training is used for immigration.

How similar are IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training?

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are similar to each other by about 70%, you could say. This means that on both exams, 70% of the material will be the same. The Writing sections on these two IELTS exams are roughly the same, and Task 2 is the same on both the Academic and General Training versions of the exam in addition to the same Listening and Speaking sections. IELTS Academic Reading and IELTS General Training Reading can be compared to one another as being three-quarters alike. IELTS Academic contains three academic sections that are of the same length; IELTS General Training just has one.

How will I know that I’m ready for the IELTS exam?

If you can pass three consecutive IELTS practice tests with the band score you need, if a CEFR placement test indicates that you are already at the required IELTS level, or if you are already a nearly proficient English speaker and just need a band 6/7, then you are prepared to take the IELTS exam.

Why is IELTS preparation so difficult?

There is a ton of material available, and students are unsure of which source to believe. There is a lot of pressure to obtain an IELTS perfect the first time because it might require months(and even years) of dedicated study in addition to thousands of dollars in tuition and exam costs.

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