All you need to know about IELTS

IELTSThe International English Language Testing System (IELTS) tests you on your fluency in English. Initiated in the year 1980, it is an international standardized test of English language conducted to assess the efficiency of non-native English speakers. One of the chief English language tests, IELTS is held by the British Council in collaboration with IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

A person who appears for IELTS is given a score from Band 1 to Band 9 wherein the former is regarded as a non-user and latter is said to be an expert user.


There are basically two types of International English Language Testing System. These are IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The purpose, content as well as context of these tests is different from each other. Here is a brief look at both these tests:

IELTS Academic: This test is conducted for those who seek higher education or professional registration at tertiary level in an English speaking nation.

IELTS General Training: This test is conducted for those who want to work, study or train at a secondary school in an English speaking nation or want to migrate to an English speaking nation.

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International English Language Testing System Features

Both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training include the following features:

  • They assess your efficiency to read, write, listen and speak in English language.
  • While testing the listening skills, the candidates are made to listen to recordings with different English accents used in Britain, New Zealand, Australia and America.
  • The major part of IELTS is the speaking module. A one-to-one interview of the candidate is conducted with the examiner to test the former’s English speaking ability. The test taker is assessed on his fluency in English as he speaks the language during the one-to-one session. The session is also recorded so that the examiner can listen to it again and mark the candidate on the same.
  • For each language sub-skill, the examiners use band scores. These range from Band 0 to Band 9.
  • It is conducted for duration of 2 hours and 55 minutes.

International English Language Testing System Pattern

As already mentioned, IELTS has four parts – speaking, listening, writing and reading. Here is a brief look at all these parts.

  • Speaking: The speaking test is for 11- 14 minutes.
  • Listening: The listening test is for a total of 30 minutes. In addition to this around 10 minutes are set for the transfer time.
  • Writing: The writing test is for duration of 60 minutes.
  • Reading: The reading test is also for 60 minutes.

While the reading, writing and listening part are completed in a single sitting, a separate session is arranged for the speaking part. Sometimes, it is held on the same day while at times it is conducted seven days prior to or after the other tests. The speaking and listening tests for both Academic ILETS and General Training ILETS is the same. However, reading and writing tests vary.

The test is accepted by most of the academic institutions and professional organizations based in United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

It is the only English language test approved by the UK Visas and Immigration Authority for those applying visa both outside and inside UK. It is also a mandate for immigration to Australia and New Zealand.

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