The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the most well-recognized systems for demonstrating English proficiency. Businesses, universities, professional organizations, and government bodies accept the qualification as proof of English fluency. But what exactly is the IELTS test? What makes it so valuable?
In this article, we’ll holistically talk about the IELTS exam, looking at eligibility, the registration process, and the best way to prepare for the language test. The various sections of the test and other essential details will also be discussed as well.
Table of contents
What Is IELTS?
IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It is a standardized English language competence test intended for people who wish to study in an English-speaking country like the U.S and U.K but don’t know English as a first language. IELTS is used by students worldwide to apply for jobs, universities, and migration to countries where English is the primary language.
The concept was created in the 1980s by the British Council and Cambridge English Language Assessment, and the certification quickly gained popularity. The IELTS was launched in 1989 after the International Development Program of Australian Universities and Colleges (IDP) joined the founding organizations.
The test has undergone several revisions throughout the years, with the most recent revisions being in 1995, 2001, and 2005. According to ielts.org, nearly 3.5 million people from over 140 countries take the IELTS exam yearly.
IELTS assesses more than simply a basic command of the English language. The framework is intended to allow students to demonstrate their ability to utilize English in various circumstances, including higher education, employment, and everyday life.
Types Of IELTS Exam
The IELTS exam is divided into two categories: Academic and General Training. While both are used to evaluate your English language skills, there are some minor differences: Let’s look at each type of IELTS test individually.
1. IELTS Academic
The IELTS Academic test is for students who intend to study at a university or in an academic setting. This exam focuses on English listening, reading, writing, and speaking. This test is taken by many students who want to study in an English-speaking country.
IELTS Academic test is preferred for the following category of individuals:
- Those that want to study at the undergraduate or postgraduate level in an English-speaking country
- Students who apply for a Route visa (Tier 4) at a university that is a student route (Tier 4) sponsor in the UK.
- Those that want to work in a professional organization in an English-speaking country.
2. IELTS General Test
The IELTS General Training test is appropriate for those applying to study at the undergraduate level. This includes a school or college that is taught in English. It can also be used for work experience or other job-related training.
IELTS General Training is also required for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The test focuses on common English language skills that you will need in social and professional settings.
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What Is The Main Purpose Of The IELTS?
English abilities are in high demand all over the world. Furthermore, it is estimated that around 1.5 billion individuals worldwide are learning English. The IELTS allows students to demonstrate their English competence fairly and accurately.
According to the British Council, the IELTS is used by more than 11,000 organizations worldwide. The qualification confirms to colleges, employers, and professional bodies worldwide that persons who take the tests have English reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.
Eligibility For IELTS | Who Is Eligible For The IELTS Exam?
The IELTS framework was created to provide a fair and accurate evaluation for English learners worldwide. As a result, anyone above 16 can take the IELTS test.
The IELTS test must be taken in person. While several nations ceased testing during the COVID-19 outbreak learners could instead take an online IELTS Indicator test.
Sections Of The IELTS Exam
The IELTS syllabus/exam is divided into four components, each of which tests the learner’s English skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Because the test is unique each time, it’s impossible to predict which topics will be discussed. Education, the environment, society, family, employment, sports, and cuisine are all prevalent themes throughout the four parts. Each section contains themes you encounter in everyday life.
Let’s take a closer look at each section:
This section will assess your ability to interpret spoken English in various situations. It assesses your ability to follow discussions’ ideas, themes, perspectives, and information.
The IELTS test section consists of recordings of native English speakers conversing. After that, you’ll be asked questions based on the tapes. This category contains 40 questions, and it lasts for 30 minutes.
In this section, you’ll have to read a series of texts and react to questions about them in the IELTS reading section. The pattern of questions differs according to the type of IELTS exam you are taking.
This section tests your ability to identify a text’s key ideas, distinguish between details, and comprehend suggested meanings and perspectives. The reading section lasts for 30 minutes and contains 40 questions.
The IELTS writing test assesses your ability to write out your thoughts. This part of the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training varies slightly. In this section, you’re expected to respond appropriately to questions, organize your thoughts, and employ correct grammar.
This section’s test lasts 60 minutes and consists of two questions. Aspirants must submit short essays of 250 words for this section (minimum). They are given a visual, a table, or data to explain.
The IELTS speaking component will evaluate your ability to communicate in English. You’ll have a dialogue with a qualified examiner that will mirror a real-life situation.
The section aims to gauge your ability to communicate effectively in English in the nation you have applied to travel to. This section lasts between 11-14 minutes.
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IELTS Test Format
Understanding the IELTS exam structure is crucial because it allows you to plan your strategy for the test day. Remember that the Academic and General Training tests differ significantly; the hearing and speaking tests are identical, but the reading and writing tests are not.
You’ll usually do the listening, reading, and writing components on the same day, with no interruptions, while the speaking section can be taken up to a week before or after the others.
The test is divided into four sections that take a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete:
- 30 minutes, 40 questions for the IELTS Listening Test
- 60 minutes, 40 questions for the IELTS Reading Test (Academic or General Training).
- 60 minutes, 2 questions for the IELTS Writing Test (Academic or General Training).
- 11–14 minutes, three parts, IELTS Speaking Test
As mentioned above, each portion is divided into smaller parts and examines various skills.
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How Does IELTS Scoring Work?
An overall band score measures how well each candidate performed on the IELTS tests. The test is rated on a scale of 1 to 9, with whole and half bands available. The average of the four sections is then used to calculate an overall score.
The following is the IELTS scoring breakdown for each section:
- Listening: The test is evaluated on a scale of one to ten, with one point awarded for each correct answer. The IELTS band scale is then transformed from the 40-point scale.
- Reading: The test is graded out of 40 points and translated to a whole or half band once more. The Academic and General Training assessments use the same scale, albeit the conversion of marks differs slightly.
- Writing: This component contains two tasks, and the IELTS evaluation criteria are utilized to obtain a band score. Coherence and cohesion, vocabulary, and the range and precision of grammar are all evaluated in each section.
- Speaking: Examiners issue a band based on assessment criteria once again. Fluency and cohesiveness, vocabulary, grammatical range and accuracy, and pronunciation are used to assign grades.
Should I Take The IELTS?
There are various points to consider if you’re unsure whether the IELTS is best for you. The IELTS is an internationally recognized qualification required by several colleges and migration processes in some English-speaking countries.
It would be best if you also considered which test is best for you. The IELTS Academic is recommended for those applying to higher education or wishing to register with a professional organization in another country. The IELTS General test should suffice if you intend to migrate or get job experience in an English-speaking nation.
Studying for the IELTS can also serve as a means of demonstrating to yourself that you have a specific degree of English ability. There are, of course, different methods for learning and improving your English.
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How Much Does It Cost To Reister For The IELTS Exam?
Another factor to consider when selecting whether to take the IELTS is the price. Fees vary depending on where you are located in the world. In the United Kingdom, for example, the test cost varies between £170 and £195.
We’ve included below some other samples of how much the IELTS test costs. Whether the test is for visas and immigration or not, the range is usually:
● Australia.: $340 AUD.
● Canada: $309 to $319 CAN.
● India: 13250 to 18500 INR.
● Nigeria: 75,00 to 97,000 NGN.
● The Philippines: 10680 to 13885 PHP.
● United States: $215 to $295 USD.
How To Prepare For The IELTS Test?
One of the best ways to prepare for the IELTS exam is by studying with the IELTS prep kit. CLICK HERE to get the updated IELTS study material.
Let’s take a look at some other helpful steps to take to pass the IELTS test:
1. Take a practice test
Begin your preparation by taking a practice test to determine your weaknesses. This is an essential component of your initial preparation because it will help you identify your strengths and limitations. Not only must you work on your weaknesses, but you must also work on your strengths in order to lay a solid foundation for the exam.
2. Understand the test format
Before you start practicing for any exam, you must first understand the test format and know what to expect on the exam day. Ensure you familiarise yourself with the IELTS test by reviewing each question and section.
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3. Learn to manage your time
Exams ultimately test your ability to use the time you have available to show off as much as possible and get as many points as possible. To utilize the time allotted for the exam, you must understand the test structure and prepare under timed conditions.
Remember that the IELTS test has a time limit, and you will only have the time allotted for each module. If you are unable to complete the courses within the time allotted or if you are unable to concentrate due to time constraints.
3. Improve your English capabilities
To pass the IELTS exam, you need to improve your English capabilities. This can be achieved through constant practice beyond studying to pass the exam and learning to master the language. Therefore, we recommend enrolling in an IELTS study center to assist you in your English development.
4. Learn to multitask when listening
It’s no secret that the IELTS exam is complex, and the listening module is no exception. You will be required to answer 40 questions throughout four recordings. The recordings will only be played once. The most common types of questions are sentence completion, summary completion, form completion, and multiple choice.
Owing to the fast nature of the listening section, it is easy for you to get lost in the conversation. What usually makes the difference is your ability to recover and continue with the following question; this requires focus and understanding.
5. Develop a wide range of reading skills
If you want to score high in the IELTS reading section, you need to master the act of reading fast. The reading section of the IELTS exam tests your reading skill and how it applies to your understanding and logical ability. To be better equipped for the reading section, you must practice a wide variety of reading questions to get acquainted with each question type.
In the reading module, time is of the essence, and you will not have the time to read the materials numerous times. Therefore, you need to learn how to scan the module and focus on the information that matters most.
6. Speak with fluency or coherence in direct communication
The speaking part of the IELTS is less than 15 minutes long and is divided into three parts. The first 5 minutes if meant for introduction and general topics; the second part evaluates the student’s ability to speak about the random topic assigned, while the last part is an addition to the second part. In the last stage, the examiner pays keen attention to fluency, lexical resource, and pronunciation.
To excel in this section, you need to test your natural communication abilities by practicing how to speak correctly and effortlessly n English.
Remember, persistence is the key to success during the preparatory phase of the examination.
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How To Prepare For IELTS At Home
You may be wondering how to prepare for the IELTS test if you plan to take it soon. Thankfully, many simple tips and methods are at your disposal. We’ve listed a few of the ways you can study for the IELTS exam below:
1. Take some sample test questions
The official IELTS website has several sample test questions that will help you determine your current proficiency level. You can also study with our IELTS STUDY GUIDE.
2. Record yourself
It can be beneficial to record and listen to your efforts while working through the speaking section of the test. You can also use recordings to work on specific grammar and vocabulary topics.
● Improve your IELTS speaking score: This course will teach you the skills and tactics you’ll need to excel on the IELTS speaking test.
● Learn through the media: Watching English-language television can help you improve your conversational English. Learn English Through TV Drama Series is a program that can help you enhance your English skills while watching a series.
● Work on your pronunciation: Because there are so many various English dialects, learning to recognize them while honing your own talents will help you improve your English.
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TOEFL vs IELTS
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is another standard English competency test. The TOEFL and IELTS are pretty similar in that they are both internationally recognized and test reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.
One of the most notable differences between the two tests is that TOEFL is primarily focused on American English, whereas IELTS is not. On the IELTS, you’ll likely hear a variety of English accents and will have to communicate with an examiner face to face.
In the end, the decision between IELTS and TOEFL is a personal one. It all depends on the format you choose and how you want to use the qualification.
For many English learners, the IELTS is an essential qualification. It can demonstrate your proficiency in all aspects of the English language, whether you’re intending to migrate, study, or work overseas.
To pass the IELTS, you need to expose yourself to practical learning and do things that will improve your reading, listening, writing and speaking skills.
Frequently Asked Questions On IELTS
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a system for assessing English This indicates that it is concerned with worldwide English rather than British English.
It certainly does. It’s an English proficiency test that’s taken all over the world. Most examiners talk with an English or Australian accent in the speaking examination, however, you can have mixed pronunciation. In the writing test, however, you must pick between US and UK spelling – you cannot mix the two.
Before the exam, you should call your IELTS test center to let them know. In the test, they will adjust any color pages or illustrations for you.
It is possible to take it as many times as you wish. There are no boundaries. There is also no time limit for waiting between testing.
You can get the updated version of the IELTS study guide at mystudentkit.com/ielts
The minimum age required to take the IELTS exam is 16 years.
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