IELTS, or the International English Language Testing System, is a standardised test taken on the international level. IELTS is taken to measure the English language proficiency of people who are non-native English language speakers and aspire to study or work in a country where English is used as the primary language of communication. The IELTS exam is managed jointly by IDP: IELTS Australia, the British Council, and Cambridge Assessment English. The establishment of the IELTS exam was done in the year 1989.
IELTS is one of the major and the most widely taken English language tests in the world that is conducted and accepted globally. The IELTS exam uses a nine-band scale to clearly distinguish between and identify levels of proficiency. The IELTS band scale ranges from 1 to 9 where a band score of 1 means the candidate is a non-user of English language and a band score of 9 means that the candidate is an expert in the language.
This article contains all the information about the IELTS exam, IELTS preparation, British Council IELTS, IDP IELTS results etc. Candidates who are looking forward to sit for the exam of IELTS in order to pursue studies or work in a different country will find all the details regarding the IELTS test, IELTS exam pattern, IELTS syllabus, IDP IELTS registration, and IELTS scoring mechanism as well. The full form of IELTS is the International English Language Testing System and the IELTS exam is accepted for admission in the universities of some of the leading countries in the educational sector like the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, Canada, the United States of America (USA), New Zealand, etc. Read further to understand the IELTS test and everything related to it.
Why is the IELTS Exam Required?
The requirement for IELTS exam is for academic as well as migration purpose abroad in countries that are mostly English speaking like the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA. IELTS is the only English Language Test that has received approval of UK Visas and Immigration (abbreviated as UKVI) for visa applicants who are applying both outside and inside the UK. Students often have confusion about why are the IELTS scores required. The IELTS test is taken by millions of candidates every year and the reason for it is unknown to all those who do not. IELTS scores are needed by foreign universities and visa granting authorities as proof of assurance that the candidate will not face challenges in communicating in English and will not have communication issues with the people of the country while staying there. It is important to have a good understanding as well as strong command of the English language which is why the IELTS exam and overall IELTS scores are important.
Students and working professionals prepare for IELTS and also take IELTS practice tests to get a good IELTS band scale. IELTS test is not compulsory for taking admissions in all universities and many universities do not mandate IELTS exam for admitting students. However, a good IELTS score gives a significant boost to the chances of a student visa. Candidates can take the IELTS test with the British Council or IDP up to once a week, which translates to four times a month. The global schedule for the British Council IELTS and IDP IELTS test dates are 48 days per year.
Types of IELTS
There are two kinds of IELTS exams:
- IELTS Academic
- IELTS General Training
The IELTS Academic test is taken by people who are applying either for higher education or for professional registration in an environment that is dominantly English speaking. This exam reflects some features of academic language and also assesses whether the candidate is ready to begin his/ her studying or training. The approach of this IELTS exam is widely supported by all the institutions that recognise and consider IELTS for admissions.
The IELTS General Training exam is taken by those candidates who are moving to English speaking countries for work experience, secondary education, or training programs. This exam is also a requirement for migration to the countries of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. The IELTS General Training test focuses majorly on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.
The listening and speaking sections of these two IELTS exams are the same, however, the subject matter for the reading and writing sections are different and depend on the IELTS test the candidate takes. The Listening, Reading, and Writing sections of the IELTS tests are completed without any breaks on the same day. However, the Speaking section might be completed either a week before or a week after the date of the IELTS test for other sections.
IELTS Registration Process 2019
The registration process of IELTS is quite easy and does not take much time. The steps required for IELTS registration are given below. Candidates can follow these steps and register for IELTS exam successfully.
- To begin with, find the nearest IELTS test location for yourself. There are more than 1,600 IELTS test locations spread across 140 countries, hence, it will be easy for candidates to choose a location that is not too far from where they reside.
- Go to the official website of IELTS.
- You can register for IELTS online and offline both.
- If you choose to register online, fill in all the details and pay through net banking or via a debit/ credit card.
- If you have to register for IELTS offline, download the form from the website and fill in all the details and post the IELTS application form at the specified address.
- The candidates must not that if they are below 18 years of age then they will need their parent or guardian to register for the test for them.
- Once the registration process is complete, you will receive a written confirmation from your test centre and they will inform you about the date and time of your IELTS test.
Also Read: Countries Offering Low-Cost Education Abroad
IELTS Test Structure 2019
The IELTS test comprises four parts. They are:
- IELTS Listening section
- IELTS Reading section
- IELTS Writing section
- IELTS Speaking section
The timings allotted for each section of IELTS are given in the table below.
30 minutes (+ transfer time of 10 minutes)
11 to 14 minutes
Total IELTS test time
2 hours 45 minutes
The sections of Reading, Listening, and Writing are completed in a single sitting. The Speaking test can be taken on the same day or up to a duration of seven days prior to or after the other tests.
IELTS Listening Test
The module of the Listening section consists of four sections and there are ten questions in each section. A total of 40 minutes are given for this section, 30 for testing and an extra 10 for transferring the answers to an answer sheet. The components of IELTS Listening section are given below.
- Parts 1 and 2 are about social situations of every day.
- Part 1 has a conversation between any two speakers.
- Part 2 has one person who is speaking.
- Parts 3 and 4 are about training and educational situations.
- Part 3 is a conversation happening between two main speakers, like a student being guided by a tutor.
- Part 4 has one person who is speaking about an academic subject.
Each part of this section begins with a short introduction that tells the test taker about the speakers and the situation. Then the candidates get some time to look through the questions. The questions asked are in the same order as the information is given in the recording. Candidates can hear each section only once. They also lose marks for incorrect grammar and spelling.
IELTS Reading Test
The IELTS Reading paper has three sections and texts which come to a total of 2,150 to 2,750 words. There are a variety of question types like multiple choice type questions (MCQs), identifying information, short-answer questions, labelling diagrams, identifying writer’s views, completing a summary using words that are taken from the text and matching headings/ information/ features in the endings of text/ sentence.
IELTS Academic Reading Texts
- There are three reading texts that are given from books, magazines, journals, newspapers and some online resources that are written for non-specialist audiences. The topics of the reading section are of general interest to students who are at the undergraduate or postgraduate level.
IELTS General Training Reading Texts
- Part 1 can consist of either two-three short texts or several shorter texts that deal with everyday topics. An example can be notices or timetables, the basic things a person will have to understand when he/ she is living in an English-speaking country.
- Part 2 contains two texts and both of them deal with work. They can be on the topics of contracts, job descriptions, training materials etc.
- Part 3 comprises one long text about a topic that is of general interest. generally, the text is descriptive, much longer and a little more complex than the texts given in Parts 1 and 2. This text will is taken from a magazine, newspaper, book or any online resource.
IELTS Writing Test
The Writing paper of the International English Language Testing System exam has two tasks which are to be completed by the candidate. In task 1, the candidate will have to write at least 150 words in a duration of 20 minutes while in task 2, he/ she will be required to write at least 250 words in 40 minutes. The candidates will be penalised if their answers do not relate to the topic or are too short. The answers are to be written in full sentences.
IELTS Academic Writing Test
- Task 1: In this, the candidates have to describe a table, graph, diagram, or chart in their own words.
- Task 2: In task 2, the candidates are to discuss an argument, a point of view, or a problem. As per the task, the candidates may also be required to present a solution to a problem, compare and contrast opinions, evidence, implications, present and justify an opinion, and challenge and evaluate evidence, ideas, or an argument.
IELTS General Training Writing Test
- Task 1: The candidates have to write a letter, responding to a given everyday situation. It can include writing to an accommodation officer regarding problems with your accommodation, writing to a local newspaper and telling about a plan to develop a local airport, writing to a new employer in context to problems in managing your time, etc.
- Task 2: The test takers have to write an essay about a given topic which will be of general interests. Examples can be if smoking should be banned in public places, how environmental issues can be solved, whether the leisure activities of children should be educational etc.
IELTS Speaking Test
The speaking test of IELTS is a face-to-face interview between the candidate and an examiner. It contains three parts.
- Part 1: Introduction and Interview (duration will be 4 to 5 minutes). The candidate can be asked about their family, home, studies, work, interests, hobbies, reasons for taking the IELTS exam as well as some other general topics.
- Part 2: Long Turn (duration will be 3 to 4 minutes). Candidates are given a task card about a specific topic and they have one minute to prepare and then talk about this topic. The task card will state all the points that should be included in the extempore and one aspect of the topic which has to be explained during the talk. Candidates are expected to talk about the topic for two minutes after taking that one minute to prepare. The examiner may ask a few questions after they are done with their speech.
- Part 3: Discussions (duration will be 4 to 5 minutes). The third part of the IELTS speaking test involves a discussion between the candidate and the examiner. The discussion is generally on questions that are related to the theme on which the candidate has already spoken about in Part 2.
IELTS Band Scale
The band scale of IELTS determines the expertise of the candidate in the English language. IELTS Band scale is given in the table below along with the meaning of each score.
|Band Scale Score||Expertise Level||Details|
|9||Expert User||Has complete operational command of the language; is accurate, appropriate, and fluent with full understanding.|
|8||Very Good User||Has fully operational command on the English language and only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies. Misunderstandings might occur in some unfamiliar situations. Can handle complex detailed argumentation well.|
|7||Good User||Possesses operational command on English, though with occasional inaccuracies and misunderstandings in some situations. Can handle complex language well generally and understands detailed reasoning.|
|6||Competent User||Possesses generally effective command on English despite some misunderstandings and inaccuracies. Can understand and use fairly complex language, especially in familiar situations.|
|5||Modest user||Has partial command on English, can cope with overall meaning in most situations. Is likely to make many mistakes and should be able to manage basic communication in own field.|
|4||Limited User||Basic competence is mostly limited to familiar situations. Frequently faces problems in understanding and expression. Unable to use complex language.|
|3||Extremely Limited User||Understands and conveys only the general meaning in very familiar situations. Occurrence of frequent breakdowns in communication.|
|2||Intermittent User||No real communication can be possible except for the most basic information by the use of short formulae or isolated words in familiar situations and for meeting immediate needs. Has great difficulty in understanding spoken and written English.|
|1||Non User||Essentially possess no ability to use the English language beyond possibly a few isolated words.|
|0||Did not attempt the test||No information provided for assessment at all.|
Also Read: Everything That You Need to Know About TOEFL
IELTS Fees 2019
The registration fee a candidate has to submit for taking the IELTS test is Rs. 13,250. In case a candidate wishes to cancel his/ her registration, he/ she can do that but a certain amount will be deducted as per the refund policy.
- If a candidate cancels the IELTS application more than five weeks before his/ her test date, he/ she will receive the refund but 25% administrative fee will be deducted from it.
- If a candidate cancels the IELTS application less than five weeks prior to the test date, he/ she will not receive any refund.
- In case a candidate fails to appear for the test, he/ she will not receive any refund.
- The candidates who can produce a medical certificate within a span 5 days of the test date will get the refund after the deduction of the local administrative cost.
IELTS helps many students in fulfilling their dream of studying abroad. It opens new avenues and opportunities for students to pursue education abroad after class 12th. Stay tuned to CollegeDekho for more information about IELTS and other exams.