About the IELTS Test



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.

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.


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?


Top Countries Accepting IELTS Score

  • United Kingdom (UK)
  • United States of America (USA)
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Germany


Top Universities/colleges for IELTS

  • University of Toronto
  • McGill University
  • The University of British Columbia
  • University of Brimingham
  • The University of Manchester
  • The University of chicago
  • The University of Warwick
  • Northwestern University


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.


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 dates in India may vary for the Academic and General Training modules


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 Scholarship

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. 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


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 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.


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 12,650* with effect from 01 April, 2018.

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.


  • 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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