International English Language Testing System
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. The IELTS is one of the major English-language tests in the world. It is a test that measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work in environments where English is used as a language of communication.
The IELTS is accepted for study, work and migration in more countries than any other test. No minimum score is required to pass the test. An IELTS result is issued to all test takers with a score from “band 1” to “band 9” (expert) and each institution set a different threshold. It is one of the world’s most popular English language tests for higher education and immigration.
IELTS Academic and the International English Language Testing System General Training are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert user. The Academic version is for test takers who want to study at tertiary level in an English-speaking country seek professional registration. The General Training version is for test takers who want to work, train, study at a secondary school or migrate to an English-speaking country.
The difference between the Academic and General Training versions is the content, context and purpose of the tasks. All other features, such as timing allocation, length of written responses and reporting of scores, are the same.
There are three IELTS tests:
- Academic Module
- General Training Module
- IELTS Life Skills (offered by test partners only)
International English Language Testing System – Academic
This is intended for those who want to enrol 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.
International English Language Testing System – General
This is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience, or for immigration purposes.
International English Language Testing System – Life Skills
This is intended for those who need to prove their English speaking and listening skills at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels A1 or B1 and can be used to apply for a ‘family of a settled person’ visa, indefinite leave to remain or citizenship in the UK
Test structure of the IELTS
- Listening: 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes’ transfer time)
- Reading: 60 minutes
- Writing: 60 minutes
- Speaking: 11–14 minutes
The test total time is 2 hours and 55 minutes.
Listening, Reading and Writing are completed in one sitting. The Speaking test may be taken on the same day or up to seven days before or after the other tests.
All test takers take the same Listening and Speaking tests, while the Reading and Writing tests differ depending on whether the test taker is taking the Academic or General Training versions of the test.
What is involved?
To do well in the International English Language Testing System, you should:
- familiarise yourself with the four papers that make up the IELTS test
- develop the study and language skills required to earn a top score
- have the opportunity to write practice answers while learning necessary grammar and vocabulary
- Understand the test format and mark scheme
- preparing notes before making a speech
- speaking on general topics at length
- discussing abstract issues related to a topic
- listening for general understanding and for details
- interpreting and presenting information
- presenting and justifying an opinion
- analysing and assessing a problem
- summarising and paraphrasing
- skimming a text for general meaning
- scanning a text for specific information
- completing tasks within time limits
- completing answer sheets
A typical course
A typical course develops your English and exam skills at the same time. A course during the normal academic year should be at least sixteen weeks in duration. Classes can be held once (1×180 minutes) or twice a week (2×90 minutes). A typical semester course consists of 62 tuition hours (Friday or Saturday classes – 64 hours).
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