The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency, from non-user (band score 1) through to expert (band score 9).
IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training
IELTS is available in two test versions: Academic - for people applying for higher education or professional registration, and General Training for those migrating to Australia, Canada and the UK, or applying for secondary education, training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment. Both versions provide a valid and accurate assessment of the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking environment. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training.
This approach is widely supported by the institutions that recognise IELTS.
The IELTS General test is for those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.
Test format – Listening 30 minutes
You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions.
Assessors will be looking for evidence of your ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of an utterance and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas.
Test format – Reading 60 minutes
The Reading component consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers' opinions, attitudes and purpose.
IELTS Academic test - this includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.
IELTS General Training test - this includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.
Test format – Academic Writing 60 minutes
IELTS Academic test
Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. There are two tasks:
IELTS General Training
Topics are of general interest. There are two tasks:
Test format – Speaking
The speaking component assesses your use of spoken English. Every test is recorded.
Part 1 - the examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
Part 2 - you will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
Part 3 - you will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.
The test taker has fully operational command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.
Very good user
The test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.
The test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
The test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
The test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes. They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.
The test taker's basic competence is limited to familiar situations. They frequently show problems in understanding and expression. They are not able to use complex language.
Extremely limited user
The test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
The test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
The test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
Did not attempt the test
The test taker did not answer the questions.