IELTS Exam 2021

Updated by: Subhashri Roy on Aug. 2, 2021, 4:49 p.m.

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IELTS Full Form - International English Language Testing System

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardised English language test, which is conducted for admission in universities across the world. The test was initially designed in 1989 by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English to judge a person's English language proficiency for study and work purposes. Presently, IELTS is conducted across 1,600 locations worldwide at designated centres. An IELTS test has a nine-band scale to identify the level of proficiency of the candidate. The test is conducted in an unbiased manner and with utmost fairness at all locations and follows the same pattern no matter where the test is conducted. An IELTS test is conducted in two formats i.e. IELTS Computer Based Test (CBT) and IELTS Paper-Based Test (PBT). One can choose to take the test in either of the two formats based on their convenience.

IELTS 2021 Updates 

The College Board has introduced a new format for applicants to take the IELTS test as a response to the Covid-19 situation. Students can now take the test from the comfort of their homes. The new online test at home is named as IELTS Indicator.

Latest Updates on IELTS 2021

British Council Sells IELTS India Business to IDP for £130 Million

The British Council has sold its IELTS India business to IDP Education for £130m, on a debt-free and cash-free basis. IDP has highlighted that while logos and registration process may undergo some changes, the exam structure and the test overall will remain the same.

The move came amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, from the beginning of which the British Council had been facing numerous financial challenges. Interim CEO of British Council, Kate Ewart-Biggs, said this sale would help "British Council improve its financial position".

IELTS Partners Launch New Online Test

IELTS Indicator, the online or at-home version of the IELTS, was launched after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and has been open for bookings since April 22, 2020. It is particularly for students unable to attend an IELTS at the test centre due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Like the test centre version, the IELTS Indicator also assesses the four skills of Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking but can be taken from the comfort of home.

Currently, the IELTS Indicator test is conducted once a week. The option is also available for students taking the test in India. The test covers all four sections Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The IELTS Indicator option is available for a limited time period, especially for areas where the test centres are currently suspended due to COVID-19.

Many universities and educational institutions are currently using scores secured in the IELTS Indicator test for application purposes. However, candidates must note that the IELTS Indicator is not a substitute for the in-person IELTS tests. Candidates may be required to take the in-person IELTS test if needed by the university or institute as and when the test centres are available at a specific location.

IELTS Conducting Body

IELTS is jointly owned and administered by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.

With operations in more than 100 countries, British Council is a public cooperation governed by a Royal Charter. It is an executive non-departmental public body aimed at building connections and trust between people in the UK and other countries. It supports them to learn English, get high-quality education and obtain globally-recognised qualifications.

IDP offers international education services and has an IELTS network that spans more than 450 test locations across over 50 countries. Established in 1969, IDP is 50% owned by universities in Australia.

Lastly, Cambridge Assessment English is one of the main exam boards forming Cambridge Assessment which is a non-teaching department of the University of Cambridge. Apart from the IELTS, it developes and produces Cambridge English qualifications.

Highlights of IELTS Exam

Following are some of the major highlights of the IELTS test:

Conducting Body

British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English

Mode of Test

Computer-Based or Paper Based

Types of Test

IELTS Academic

IELTS General Training

IELTS Indicator (Newly added post-COVID- 19 outbreak)


2 hours 45 minutes


  • Listening

  • Reading

  • Writing

  • Speaking


On a band scale of 1 to 9

Registration Fee

Rs 14,000

Test Centre

IELTS Designated Centres in More than 140 Participating Countries

Types of IELTS Exam

The IELTS test is conducted in two popular types which have been discussed below: 

IELTS Academic

IELTS Academic is designed for students who want to apply for higher education or professional courses at different institutions across the world where the main language of communication and medium of instrucion is English. This test is used to judge the candidates' command over the English language so that they can cope up with the studies at the respectice institutes.

The scorecard of IELTS Academics is widely accepted by universities and colleges across the world. The IELTS academics test has four sections in Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

The Listening and Speaking section is the same as the IELTS General Training but the subject matter of the Reading and Writing sections are different. The total test time for IELST Academic is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

IELTS General Training

The IELTS General Training test is designed for students who visit a country where English is the primary language of communication. The purpose of the visit could be higher education, training programmes or work experience.

Those who wish to migrate to the UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand also need to take the IELTS General Training test. The test is used to judge the basic English language skills of a person for social and professional interaction.

Just like IELTS Academics, the IELTS General Training Test also comprises four sections Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The Listening and speaking section format is the same as IELTS Academic with slight variation in the Reading and Writing sections.

Why Should You Take the IELTS Test?

IELTS is one of the most popular English Language proficiency test that is widely accepted by universities and organisations across 140 countries for various purposes. Here are some of the reasons why taking IELTS will be the right choice for you:

  • An IELTS test score can be used for multiple purposes like getting accepted into a university for higher education, moving and settling abroad, getting a job or even completing a short term course in a foreign nation.

  • An IELTS test score is accepted by over 10,000 universities and organisations across 140 countries.

  • The IELTS test evaluates your level of proficiency in the English language which is required for both academic and career purposes. 

  • You must take the IELTS Academics Test if you want to study undergraduate or postgraduate programmes or wish to apply for a Student Route Visa in the UK or work in a professional organisation in an English-speaking country.

  • You must take the IELTS General Training Test if you want to study course lower than a degree in a foreign country or work/undertake training in an English-speaking country. The test is also applicable for those looking to migrate to an English-speaking country.

Stages Involved in IELTS Test

From IELTS registration to downloading the IELTS test score, the test is divided into various stages which all applicants must know to complete the process on time before the deadlines for admission at universities arrive.

The various stages of an IELTS test have been highlighted below:

Stage 1: Know about the IELTS Test

The first step involved with IELTS is to know all about the exam such as its test pattern, registration process, preparation strategies, the list of universities accepting IELTS scorecards etc.

Step 2: Registering for an IELTS Test

Once you have decided to attempt the test, you must complete the registration process of an IELTS test and schedule an appropriate time to attempt it. You need to pay a minimum registration fee each time you wish to register for the IELTS test.

Step 3: Select the Date, Time and Test Centre

Once the registration process is complete, select the most appropriate date, time and IELTS test centre. The slot must be booked early to get the most suitable date, time and test centre for your IELTS test. 

Step 4: Appear in IELTS Test

Once the IELTS admit card has been released, download it from the official website and appear for the test as per the details mentioned on the admit card. Strictly follow the instructions mentioned on the admit card to avoid any confusion on the day of the test.

Step 5: Wait for the Official IELTS Test Score

If you have taken the IELTS PBT test, you can expect the test report within 13 days after taking the test. The result of IELTS CBT is usually released within 3 to 5 days after taking the test. Results can be checked online at one of the following websites:

  • British Council network of test centres
  • IDP IELTS Australia network of test centres
  • IELTS USA network of test centres

You must have a valid ID number and candidate number to login to the account and access the result. 

Note: The IELTS results are available to view online only for a span of 28 days.

FAQs about IELTS

1. What is IELTS?

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the most popular English language proficiency test conducted to analyse the proficiency of a candidate in the English language. It is used for purposes of admission to universities abroad as well as immigration and work purposes.

2. Who conducts IELTS?

IELTS is jointly conducted by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.

3. Why should I take IELTS?

IELTS can be taken for purposes of enrolling at universities abroad. Universities in countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand accept IELTS scores to ensure that the candidate has a good command of English to study at the university. IELTS can also be helpful for those looking to build a career or settle down in one of the English-speaking countries.

4. Is IELTS a paper-based test?

Yes, IELTS is conducted as a paper-based test, alongside being conducted as a Computer-Based test. Currently, the IELTS test is also conducted online as a result of the pandemic. Applicants can attempt the test from the comfort of their homes, for a limited time period.

5. What are the types of IELTS?

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are the two major types of IELTS currently conducted across the globe.

6. Is IELTS an online exam?

IELTS is conducted in both online and offline mode. Currently, as a result of pandemic, the applicants will be able to appear for the test from the comfort and safety of their homes.

7. Should I take IELTS CBT or IELTS PBT?

You can choose to take the IELTS test in either of the two formats, i.e. CBT and PBT, based on your convenience. Ensure to check the availability of the test centre as the IELTS PBT test is conducted at limited centres.

8. What is the difference between IELTS academics and IELTS general training test?

The IELTS Academic Test is designed for students applying for higher education or professional courses whereas the IELTS General Training is beneficial for those applying for immigration, work experience or training in a country where the medium of communication is English.

9. Is IELTS conducted in India?

Yes, IELTS is conducted across different IELTS Test centres situated in the country. There are several test centres in many of the major cities in India where candidates can appear for IELTS such as Delhi, Amritsar, Sangrur, Gurdaspur, Jaipur, Ludhiana, Karnal and more.

10. Is there any fee to appear in IELTS?

Yes, all interested applicants are required to pay a registration fee to appear in IELTS, which should be paid at the time of registration. The one time IELTS registration fee in India is Rs 14,000.

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Admission 2021

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