What is IELTS?
IELTS is the International English Language Testing System, which tests English proficiency across all levels. It is run by Cambridge ESOL, IDP Education Australia and the British Council. The exam includes Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
Candidates can usually prepare for IELTS at two different levels:
|Course Entry||Requirement||Leading Towards|
|General training (IELTS Foundation or Introduction to IELTS)||B1 Intermediate||B2 Upper Intermediate|
|Academic training||B2 Upper Intermediate||C1 Advanced|
Who is the IELTS preparation course for?
|General IELTS||Academic IELTS|
|The General Training test is for those who want to gain work experience or join training programs, secondary school, further education or migrate to an English-speaking country.||The Academic test is for those who want to study at a tertiary level in an English-speaking country, but is also a requirement for certain professions such as medical workers.|
Why choose IELTS?
IELTS is internationally recognised as an entry requirement by British, Australian, New Zealand, United States and Canadian universities.
Which organisations accept IELTS?
IELTS is accepted by more than 6000 organisations worldwide. These include universities, immigration departments, government agencies, professional bodies and multinational companies. To search for a recognising institution, use the IELTS Global Recognition System.
How long is an IELTS certificate valid for?
IELTS results are valid for 2 years.
What are the parts of the exam?
Listening Exam (Click to Learn More)
Timing: Approximately 30 minutes
Test parts: 4 sections
A variety of question types is used, chosen from the following: multiple choice, matching, plan/map/diagram labelling, form completion, note completion, table completion, flow-chart completion, summary completion, sentence completion and short-answer questions.
Reading Exam (Click to Learn More)
Timing: 60 minutes
Test parts: 3 sections
A variety of question types is used, chosen from the following: multiple choice, identifying information (True/False/Not Given), identifying writer’s views/claims (Yes/No/Not Given), matching information, matching headings, matching features, matching sentence endings, sentence completion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, flowchart completion, diagram label completion, short-answer questions.
Each section contains one long text. Texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been written for a non-specialist audience and are on academic topics of general interest. Texts are appropriate to, and accessible to, candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses or seeking professional registration. Texts range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. If texts contain technical terms, then a simple glossary is provided.
- Section 1 contains two or three short factual texts, one of which may be composite (consisting of 6-8 short texts related by topic, e.g. hotel advertisements). Topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country.
- Section 2 contains two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues (e.g. applying for jobs, company policies, pay and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training).
- Section 3 contains one longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest.
Texts are authentic and are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers.
Writing Exam (Click to Learn More)
Timing: 60 minutes
Test parts: 2
Candidates are required to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2.
- In Task 1, candidates are presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and are asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in their own words. They may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
- In Task 2, candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The issues raised are of general interest to, suitable for and easily understood by candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration.
Responses to Task 1 and Task 2 should be written in a formal style.
- In Task 1, candidates are presented with a situation and are asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
- In Task 2, candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay. Topics are of general interest.
Speaking Exam (Click to Learn More)
Timing: 11-14 minutes
Tasks/parts: 3 parts of face-to-face oral interview with an examiner
- Part 1 Introduction and interview (4-5 minutes) The examiner introduces him/herself and asks the candidate to introduce him/herself and confirm his/her identity. The examiner asks the candidate general questions on familiar topics, e.g. home, family, work, studies and interests.
- Part 2 Individual long turn (3-4 minutes) The examiner gives the candidate a task card which asks the candidate to talk about a particular topic and which includes points which the candidate can cover in their talk. The candidate is given 1 minute to prepare their talk, and is given a pencil and paper to make notes. The candidate talks for 1-2 minutes on the topic. The examiner then asks the candidate one or two questions on the same topic.
- Part 3 Two-way discussion (4-5 minutes) The examiner asks further questions which are connected to the topic of Part 2. These questions give the candidate an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas.
Where and when can I take the exam?
You can take the IELTS exam every month at a designated IELTS test centre.
When do I get the results?
Results are normally issued within two weeks of taking the exam. Candidates receive a Test Report Form containing scores for each of the four sections according to the IELTS bands.
The IELTS Band Score Scale
- 9 Expert user
- 8 Very good user
- 7 Good user
- 6 Competent user
- 5 Modest user
- 4 Limited user
- 3 Extremely limited user
- 2 Intermittent user
- 1 Non user
- 0 Did not attempt the test
Comparison of CEFR levels, IELTS Band Scores and Cambridge Main Suite exams:
|IELTS Score||CEFR Level||Cambridge Test|
|1.0-2.5||A1||No Cambridge Equivalent|
|3.0||A2||KET (Key English Test)|
|3.5-4.5||B1||PET (Preliminary English Test)|
|5.0-6.0||B2||FCE (First Certificate in English)|
|6.5-8.0||C1||CAE (Certificate of Advanced English)|
|8.5-9.0||C2||CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English)|
These links will help you find out even more about IELTS: