IELTS – All About You Need To Know/IELTS is an English language exam that is required to be taken by international candidates considering studying or working in a country where English is the main language of communication. Most popular countries where IELTS is accepted for university admissions are the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Canada. The exam mainly measures the ability of test-takers to communicate in the four basic English language skills – listening, reading, speaking, and writing. IELTS exam is jointly owned and conducted by IDP Education Australia, British Council, and Cambridge English Language Assessment. With the number of IELTS tests grew to a record of 3.5 million in the year 2018, it has become a leader in the area of international higher education. It is accepted in 100% of universities in the UK and Australia. Also, it is accepted in more than 3,400 institutions in the US and thousands of institutions in English speaking countries.
Recent Updates in IELTS
IELTS Test Fee Update: IELTS Test fee is being revised to INR 14,000 for registrations from 1st-April-2020.
CORONAVIRUS ALERT: IELTS Partners has also launched the IELTS Indicator, an online English language test for students who are affected by the COVID-19 and are not able to attend the IELTS test center. IELTS Indicator will assess the student’s English language skills in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Students can take the test online from their homes.
Why IELTS Exam is Required?
IELTS 2020 exam is required for migration as well as academic purposes abroad in English speaking countries like Australia, UK, New Zealand, USA, and Canada. It is the only English Language Test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for visa applicants applying both outside and inside the UK. A lot of students get confused about why are the IELTS scores required. The simple answer to this is that foreign universities and visa granting authorities need to be sure that you will not have communication issues while staying in the country. You need to show a good understanding and strong command of the English language and that is why your overall IELTS scores are so important. Another common doubt students have is whether IELTS is a compulsory exam or not. No, IELTS isn’t compulsory in all university admissions. Many universities might not even require IELTS scores for admission purposes. But remember that if you don’t give IELTS, your chances of getting the student visa might suffer as the visa officers may not be convinced about your English proficiency without IELTS scores. So it is safer to appear for IELTS and aim to score at least 6 bands overall.
You can take the IELTS exam with the British Council or IDP up to once a week (four times a month). The British Council and IDP global schedule for test dates are 48 days per year.
Types of IELTS
There are two types of IELTS exam: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Listening and speaking sections are the same for both these tests, however, the subject matter for the writing and reading sections are different depending on which test one takes. The Reading, Writing and Listening sections of the IELTS tests are completed on the same day of the test with no breaks between them. However, the Speaking section can be completed either a week before or after the other tests date. This information test can be taken from your test centre.
IELTS Academic Test
IELTS Academic is taken by those who apply for higher education or professional registration abroad.
IELTS General Test
IELTS General Test is taken by those who wish to migrate to major English speaking countries like Canada, Australia, and the UK. This test is also taken by those who want to enroll in training programs or secondary education or wants to gain work experience in a country where English is the main language used for communication.
|IELTS full form||International English Language Testing System|
|Most popular for||Study, work, and migration to English speaking countries like Australia, New Zealand, and the UK|
|Also accepted by||Canada and USA|
|Conducted by||British Council and IDP Education Ltd|
|Mode of Exam||Computer and Paper – delivered test|
|IELTS Fee||Rs. 14,000 for registrations from 1st-Apr-2020|
|Score Range||On a scale of 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest)|
|IELTS Contact||British Council
0120-4569000 / 0120-6684353, Mon-Sat 09.00 to 18.00
IELTS vs TOEFL
Often international students are confused between choosing IELTS or TOEFL, as universities abroad ask for either exam scores. It is up to you as a test taker to decide which of the two exams to take, but remember that IELTS is more preferred in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, while TOEFL is popular among applicants to universities in US and Canada.
IELTS can be taken by anyone irrespective of age, gender, race, nationality or religion, however, the IELTS test is not recommended for those under 16 years of age.
What is the age limit to appear for the IELTS exam?
Minimum age requirement is lowered for language requirements for Canadian citizenship: Due to changes in the Citizenship Act in Canada, the minimum age that applicants have to prove their language proficiency for Canadian citizenship has been lowered. From June 2015, applicants between the ages of 14-64 who wish to move to Canada have to meet language requirements set by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
How many attempts can be given for IELTS?
There is no limit set by the conducting bodies of IELTS for taking the IELTS exam. You can take the IELTS test as many times as you want until you get your dream/target score. However, you have to pay the IELTS test fee for every attempt.
What is the educational eligibility to give IELTS exam?
As such, there are no minimum eligibility criteria for IELTS set by the conducting bodies of IELTS. Anyone who wishes to pursue higher studies abroad or want to work abroad can attempt the IELTS exam (both Academic and General Training). However, candidates should always check the eligibility criteria set by the educational institution or organization where they are applying.
How does IELTS work?
IELTS test has been developed to assess the English language skills of an individual. The individuals are assessed on the bases of their Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking skills.
- IELTS for Study – Choosing IELTS for study can be of huge advantage for candidates as IELTS is accepted by more than 10,000 education institutions globally.
- IELTS for Work – Various professional organizations, and employers across the world accept IELTS to select the right candidate. The importance of communication felt at the time of working. There are many industries which accept the IELTS test for testing the language proficiency of the candidates.
- IELTS for immigration – Every country has its own set of guidelines for IELTS. Like in Australia it is accepted for permanent residency and various Visa categories. Those applying to Canada for a work visa, permanent residency or professional purpose are required to take IELTS General Test.
Who Conducts IELTS?
IELTS test is jointly owned by:
- British Council
- IDP IELTS Australia (International Development Program)
- Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
Candidates have this doubt about who is best for IELTS, British Council or IDP? Where they should take the IELTS test? However, there is no difference between both the agencies, whether you take IELTS from British Council or IDP. So, you can take the IELTS exam conducted by any of the agency.
Make sure to keep your passport handy at the time of registration as you need passport number at the time of registration. Apart from this, you also need to carry your passport on the test day. IELTS Registration can be done in easy steps:
- First, you need to visit the official British Council registration page.
- Create an account with the British Council.
- Find your nearest test center.
- Register for the IELTS test and pay online.
Those below 18 years of age need their parent or guardian to book the test for them. Once the registration is complete, your test center will send a written confirmation to you informing about the date and time of your IELTS test.
IELTS Exam Fees
The registration fee for IELTS is Rs. 14,000 for registrations from 1st-Apr-2020.
What is IELTS Cancellation Fees?
- If you cancel your IELTS application more than five weeks before the test date, you will receive the refund minus 25% administrative fee.
- If you cancel the IELTS exam less than five weeks ahead of the test date, you will receive no refund.
- In case you fail to appear for the test, then also you will not receive any refund. This is also considered as a cancelation.
Those who can produce a medical certificate within 5 days of the test date can receive the refund after deducting the local administrative cost.
What is IELTS Rescheduling Fees?
If you want to change your test date, then you can request for a test day transfer at least five weeks before your already booked test date after deducting your cancellation/postponement fee. Also, make sure the new test date must be within three months of the original test date. Candidates need to pay an administrative charge of INR 3,300 inclusive of all taxes for transfer of test date.
One of the biggest drawbacks about studying abroad is having to pay tuition fees in foreign currency clubbed with high living expenses. Due to such reasons, a lot of times, many sections of students are unavailable to go abroad and end up settling down for other alternatives. However, with the availability of various IELTS Scholarships and education loans, students can finally make their dream come true. Scholarships are available on the official website of every college along with other fellowships and grants that are awarded to deserving students on a regular basis. Students can also opt for education loan from financial institutions for studying abroad.
IELTS Important Dates
British Council and IDP IELTS are the two official conducting bodies of the IELTS Exam. The IELTS test is available multiple times throughout the year. Candidates are advised to book an IELTS Test Date that is most convenient to them, keeping in mind the university admission timeline. Students looking to appear for the IELTS test are advised to choose an exam date 3-4 months before their application deadline, to avoid any last minute error. The IELTS test is available across various major cities in India.
IELTS Exam Pattern and Syllabus
It is important for candidates looking to score well in their IELTS Test to understand the IELTS Exam Pattern and Syllabus in detail. IELTS Syllabus includes four sections, Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. You get marked on these four sections and you get the IELTS total score as well. The total score is the sum of the scores in the four skill areas. The total test duration is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Here is the IELTS paper pattern – At a Glance
The IELTS Exam consists of four sections:
- IELTS Listening section
- IELTS Reading section
- IELTS Writing section
- IELTS Speaking section
How is IELTS Scored?
IELTS is designed to assess English language skills at all levels. Your total IELTS score will be a combination of the band scores from the four sections. You will receive IELTS scores based on each of the four skills on a band of 1 – 9, and you will also be awarded an overall band score. You can score whole (example 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half (example 5.5, 6.5, 7.5) bands in each part of the test. You need to have some idea about how the scoring pattern works to better understand how your IELTS score will be calculated.
How to get your IELTS Exam Result?
Once you are done with the IELTS, then comes your wait for the result. The good thing about these exams is that the results are usually declared within a fortnight. In this case, if you have given the computer-based exam, your results will be declared within 5-7 days or within a week.
- Offline Mode: For offline or paper-based test, you will receive your results within 13 calendar day from the day of your exam.
- Online Mode: On the day of your result, you will receive an intimation from your Test Centre about the results. You can simply login with your ID, password, passport number, and test date information to view your result. From the time of declaration of result, your results will be available online for the next 28 days
IELTS Band Scale
|Band 9||Expert user||Has fully operational command of the language|
|Band 8||Very good user||Fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies|
|Band 7||Good user||Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies and misunderstandings in some situations|
|Band 6||Competent user||Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations|
|Band 5||Modest user||Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes|
|Band 4||Limited user||Have frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language|
|Band 3||Extremely limited user||Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns occur in communication|
|Band 2||Intermittent user||Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English|
|Band 1||Non-user||Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words|
|Band 0||Did not attempt the test||No assessable information provided|
IELTS Score validity period
From the time you obtain your IELTS results, your IELTS score is valid for two years.
You do not have long to wait for your results as IELTS test results are released within a week (online) or 13 calendar days (offline) after you sit for the test. You will receive an email when your scores are available. You can log into your IELTS account on the IELTS Results website to see your scores.
IELTS has been designed to assess the English language skills of students at all levels. Hence, students can never fail the test. The IELTS score is based on each of the four skills on a scale of 1 – 9, and students would also be awarded an overall band score. Candidates are reminded that the IELTS cut-off score varies for different colleges and programmes that students are interested in and not all universities and programmes require candidates to qualify for the IELTS exam. Your overall IELTS band score is important if you intend to apply for university, take up a job or immigrate to an English-speaking country.
Colleges Accepting IELTS
Taking the IELTS exam opens doors of opportunities! More than 10,000 organizations across 140 countries accept IELTS. These include professional organizations, schools, colleges, and universities. This test will clearly monitor the use of the English language of the aspirant at work, study, which reflects how the aspirant will manage communication abroad. It is the most popular English language test with more than 3 million IELTS exams are taken every year.
Countries Accepting IELTS Score
IELTS exam score is accepted in more than 140 countries including UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Canada. Whether it is for study, work or immigration, you can sit for IELTS and with a good score apply to your favourite country. It is advisable to check the university/country requirements for IELTS before sitting for the exam.
IELTS 2020 Preparation Tips
There are two ways to prepare for IELTS: one was is self-study and another is attending coaching classes. Which way you will choose depends on your language proficiency and comfort level. If you are already fluent in English, you need not attend coaching classes, you can prepare for the exam on your own. You just need to figure out when to start preparing for IELTS.
Also, if money is an important consideration, then self-study is a better option. However, remember that in order to study on your own, you need the latest preparation tips dedicated for each section of IELTS exam.
On the other hand, if you do not have enough time and you need professional supervision for the exam preparation then coaching classes are a good option. Since regularly attending classes will become part of your routine, your time will be better managed.
What are the best books for IELTS Exam 2020?
Apart from good command over the English language, you need to have clarity on what to prepare and how to prepare it. Since there is no fixed syllabus like there used to be in schools with specific chapters and grammar sections, you need to know how to score well in every section.
Whether you prepare on your own or you choose a coaching center to study, you need to have the appropriate study material to get started with. Coaching centers would often help you with the exact kind of books you need to prepare. However, in the case of self-study, you need to look for the study material on your own.
IELTS Exam day tips
Each exam has its own preparation technique, which also changes the treatment of exam day. Planning your exam day and preparing for strategies to crack the question paper is equally essential as studying for the exam is. Therefore, it is as important to be exam-day ready as it is to be prepared with its syllabus.
IELTS Question/ Sample Paper
While preparing for the exam, you would need to know how far you have reached. Knowing where you stand would help you move further with your preparation. Hence, it is suggested that you keep on taking up the IELTS practice tests every now and then. It would also help in preparing you for facing and handling the question paper well, without panicking on the day of the exam.