The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS for short, is the go to test for English as a secondary language (ESL) students and professionals wishing to study in or migrate to countries, where English is the chief means of communication. IELTS scores are accepted by a significantly large and growing number of educational institutions and countries as a proof of competency in the English language. Australia, Canada, UK, New Zealand and South Africa are some of the major countries that accept IELTS scores as proof of proficiency in English.
The IELTS Academic exam and the IELTS general training exam: The IELTS exams are of two types, the IELTS academic exam and the IELTS general training exam. The IELTS Academic exam is aimed at test takers who want to study at universities and other third level education institutions in English speaking countries. The Academic exam assesses the candidate’s general language skills as well as their competency in academic English, 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. For both versions, the candidate is assessed on his ability listen, read, write and speak in English and a score is assigned to each category. The IELTS scores range from a band of 1-9 with 1 indicating least competency or non-speaker and 9 indicating expert speaker. There is no minimum pass marks for IELTS, every country sets its own minimum acceptable threshold for each category for the IELTS score. For example the minimum IELTS score for immigration to Canada is widely believed to be an overall score of 6.0 across all categories.
The IELTS exam locations and dates: The IELTS can be taken at more than 1,100 locations in 140 countries worldwide. In India, the IELTS is administered by the British council, and is available at 42 locations across the country. The candidate can choose from any one of the 48 IELTS exam dates in a year. The candidate needs to apply for the test dates in advance.
The IELTS Modules: is broadly divided into four modules; listening, speaking, reading and writing. For the listening module, the candidate taking the test is expected to listen to a recording, which comprises of a variety of vocal examples including, monologues, conversations of different types and academic discourses, delivered in a range of accents including Canadian, British, American and Australian.
The IELTS reading modules different for the IELTS academic and IELTS general training test. The IELTS academic reading test comprises of three reading passages followed by a variety of questions, which can be classified under various task types like multiple choice, identify information, choose the following and match the following among others. The IELTS academic reading passages are taken from various media such as books, journals, magazines and newspapers, and cater to a general audience. The IELTS academic reading passages are typically written in a wide variety of styles, examples of which include descriptive, logical, argumentative and non-verbal texts such as charts and diagrams.
The IELTS general training reading module is divided into three sections, via ‘social survival’, ‘workplace survival’ and ‘general reading’. The IELTS general training reading passages are selected from newspapers, magazines and books which are of general interest to a wide range of users.
For the IELTS speaking module test, the candidate is engaged in a conversation with the examiner, where the examiner asks him some questions about himself and his personal life and interests, including his home, family, work etc. The examiner assesses the candidate on his ability to understand and respond to the examiners questions appropriately. The examiner further asks the candidate to elaborate on a given topic for one to two minutes and encourages the candidate to answer a few questions about the topic.
The IELTS writing module too varies for the two test types. For the IELTS academic writing test, the candidate is expected to complete two mandatory writing tasks, both of which are mandatory. The test takers are asked to look at visual information and describe it in their own words for the first task. For the second task candidates are asked to respond to an argument or problem. The IELTS general training writing, also, consists of two mandatory writing tasks. However the general training writing test differs from the academic test, in the nature of the material expected to be written. Here the candidate is asked to write a letter in response to a situation for the first task, and is required to write an essay in the second.
The IELTS test results are typically provided 13 days after completion of the test. The test results are generally posted, but may also be personally picked up if so desired
The IELTS test score validity period is two years. However some countries may accept test scores that are older for specific categories of visas. For example Australia considers a three year old test score as valid for its general skilled migration category
Below are the useful IELTS exam reference links
IELTS Exam References:
IELTS Exams Centre And Slot Booking:
Free Online IELTS Practice Test: