About IELTS – International English Language Testing System

IELTS is one of the major English tests in the world. One needs it in both cases – to study abroad and to work abroad. IELTS is accepted by most Australian, British, Canadian and New Zealand academic institutions, and also by over 3000 academic institutions in the United States. It is also accepted by various professional organisations across the world and is the only secure English Language Test approved by U.K. visas and immigration (UKVI) for visa customers applying both outside and inside the U.K.

IELTS evaluates your level of English by testing you in four skills of the language – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Three of these skills – Listening, Reading and Writing, are tested on the same day without any break. Speaking test is either on the same day or 7 days prior or after.

Why should you take the IELTS exam?

  • It is the world’s most trusted and popular English Exam.
  • It can bring a plethora of opportunities to you.
  • It gives you proof of internationally accepted level of your English language ability.
  • It helps non-native speakers of English to study abroad.
  • It helps non-native speakers of English to work abroad.

IELTS scoring pattern and the 9-BAND scale

There is no minimum score to pass the test. All IELTS takers get an IELTS result or Test Report Form with a score ranging from Band 1 (non user) to Band 9 (expert user). Someone who does not take the test gets Band 0. Band score is given for each sub skill as well as for overall English language competency and institutions are advised not to consider a report older than two years.

What are different Bands in IELTS exam?

Band 9 Excellent 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 and inappropriate words. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
Band 7 Good user Has fully operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate words 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, inappropriate words 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 Academic vs IELTS General: Know which one is right for you.

Take IELTS Academic if you wish to:

  • pursue undergraduate level in an English speaking country
  • go for higher studies, post graduate level, to an English speaking country
  • join a professional organisation in an English speaking country

Take IELTS General if you wish to:

  • emigrate to an English speaking country
  • get work visa to work in an English speaking country
  • Train or study at below degree level

What is the IELTS Exam pattern?

Listening and Speaking test format are same for both IELTS Academic exam and IELTS General exam:

  • Listening – 30 mins, plus 10 mins extra for transferring the answers to the answer sheet. The questions are based on four recorded monologues and conversations.
  • Speaking – 11 to 14 mins. There is a face to face interview which includes short questions, speaking at length about a familiar topic and a structured discussion.

Reading and Writing are different for both versions:

Reading section: (Time: 60 minutes) Academic Reading – three long reading passages which include text ranging from descriptive and factual to discursive and analytical, including non-verbal material such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. General Reading – three sections: Section 1 – two or three short factual texts Section 2 – two short, work related factual texts Section 3 – one longer text on a topic of general interest taken from company handbooks, official documents, books and newspapers.

Writing Section – 60 mins. The writing section has two tasks. Academic Writing (Task 1) – The candidate must summarize, describe or explain a table, graph, chart or diagram in at least 150 words. Academic Writing (Task 2) -The candidate has to write a short essay of at least 250 words. General Writing (Task 1)- The candidate has to write a letter in about 150 words. General Writing (Task 2)- The candidate has to write an essay of at least 250 words on a topic similar to that of Academic writing.

Check the availability of IELTS exam dates when you plan to take it.

There are 48 Academic test dates per year and 24 General test dates per year. Select the date in advance as the availability of the test date may change if you delay selecting one.

What to expect on the exam day?

You will have to adhere to the rules and regulations.

  • You will have to check in and move through the necessary security procedures. So, you must arrive before time.
  • You will be allowed to take the exam only when your identification is correct. You must carry the identification provided in your IELTS form.
  • You will not be allowed to borrow or lend anything.
  • You must stay calm and raise your hand in case you have a problem.
  • You must eat properly before going for the exam because you will not be allowed to eat or smoke in the examination room.
  • You will not be able to leave the room without supervisor’s permission.

What is the Exam fee?

IELTS exam fee varies in different test centres. In India, since 01 April 2018 , the IELTS fee is INR 12,650.