IELTS is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English, and was established in 1989. IELTS is one of the major English-language tests in the world, others being the TOEFL, TOEIC, PTE:A, and OPI/OPIc.
IELTS is accepted by most Australian, British, Canadian, Irish and New Zealand academic institutions, by over 3,000 academic institutions in the United States, and by various professional organisations across the world.
IELTS is the only Secure English Language Test approved by UK Visas and Immigration for visa customers applying both outside and inside the UK. It also meets requirements for immigration to Australia, where Pearson Test of English Academic are also accepted, and New Zealand. In Canada, IELTS, TEF, or CELPIP are accepted by the immigration authority.
No minimum score is required to pass the test. An IELTS result or Test Report Form is issued to all test takers with a score from “band 1” (“non-user”) to “band 9” (“expert user”) and each institution sets a different threshold. There is also a “band 0” score for those who did not attempt the test. Institutions are advised not to consider a report older than two years to be valid, unless the user proves that they have worked to maintain their level.
In 2017, over 3 million tests were taken in more than 140 countries, up from 2 million tests in 2012, 1.7 million tests in 2011 and 1.4 million tests in 2009. In 2007, IELTS administered more than one million tests in a single 12-month period for the first time ever, making it the world’s most popular English language test for higher education and immigration.
The Ielts Test Format
The Test consists of four modules, i.e. Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Listening and speaking modules are common for all IELTS candidates, but it is necessary to choose an option between academic and general training for reading and writing modules.
4 Sections, 40 items
3 Sections, 40 items
3 Sections, 40 items
2 tasks (150 and 250 words)
2 Tasks (150 and 250 words)
11 to 14 Minutes
Test Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes
The first three modules, i.e. reading, listening and writing, are completed in one day. However, speaking modules can be taken at the discretion of the testing center on the same day or within the 7 days before or after the schedule of other modules. The tests are designed to cover the full range of capabilities from expert user to non-user.