IELTS – International English Language Testing System

IELTSis the International English Language Testing Systemthat is used for assessing proficiency in the English language. IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL).

About the test:

The IELTS test consists of two versions, namely Academic and General Training.

Academic, as the name suggests, is used as an assessment for entry into universities or other educational institutions and for professionals such as doctors, nurses who want to study and practice in an English-speaking country.

The General training version is generally used for the purposes of non-academic training or immigration.

The test consists of 4 parts- Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The Reading and Writing modules differ depending on whether it is the Academic or General training version.

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This section includes a brief introduction providing candidates with information about the situation and the speakers. The candidates will have to then answer questions based on the listening piece.


Academic: In this version, there are 3 sections with each section comprising of a text followed by questions (a total of 40 questions overall) General Training: This version also has 3 sections but as the texts are shorter there may be more than 3, usually up to 5, texts to read.


Academic: In this version, the first task involves describing a diagram, graph, process or chart. In the second task, candidates write in response to an argument.

General Training: In the first task, the candidate is required to write a letter or explain a situation and in the second task they write an essay.


This module comprises of three sections:

  • This section involves an interview where candidates are asked questions related to their hobbies, interests, reasons for taking IELTS exam. They include other general topics as well such as recreation, sport or family.
  • In this section, candidates are given a topic on which they have to speak for 1 min. They have a minute to think and prepare before they speak.
  • In the last section the examiner and the candidate carry out a discussion, generally on questions relating to the topic given in the previous section.


Candidates are assessed on a scale of 1-9 (using a nine-band scale) with 1 for Non-user (no knowledge) and 9 for Expert user (full command) of the English language.

The IELTS test has been rapidly gaining popularity and is now available in more than 500 locations across 121 countries. The test has a global acceptance and is recognized as a valid and reliable assessment of English language skills required for education, professional training and immigration.

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