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What is IELTS? The International English Language Testing System, IELTS, is a globally recognized English proficiency test to study, work, and migrate internationally. IELTS is jointly conducted by IDP Education Australia, British Council, Cambridge English Language Assessment is recognized in more than 10,000 organizations across 140 countries around the world. The IELTS exam tests the candidate's various English skills in terms of listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Based on your purpose of the test, choose carefully between the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training. In the year 2018, IELTS tests held a record of 3.5 million, which is the highest in the area of the International higher education field. Students planning to study abroad, work abroad, or even planning to immigrate must undertake the IELTS exam.

IELTS is one of the trusted exams when it comes to language proficiency tests and is highly convenient as it provides around four exam dates in a month, which sums up to 48 exams annually. Additionally, it is considered to be the fairest of all tests and is widely recognized by organizations globally, making it an ideal choice for aspiring international candidates.

Major Aspects of IELTS Exam

Name of ExamIELTS
Full-FormInternational English Language Testing System
Exam Conducting BodyThe British Council and International Development Program (IDP) Education
PurposeFor Pursuing Undergraduate and Postgraduate or to migrate abroad as an overseas professional in an English speaking countries.
Accepted ByUS, Canada, Australia, UK, New Zealand
Mode of ExamPaper-Pencil based Written Examination and computer-delivered online test
Sections in ExamFour section
Score RangeBetween 0 to 9 band scores are provided.
Fee for IELTSNR 13,250

Why chose to write IELTS?
The fundamental purpose of taking the IELTS test is to substantiate an individual’s English listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills. In almost every case, this is done to either gain admission into a foreign college/university (in the case of a student) or to acquire a work or residence permit and with it, migrate abroad as an overseas professional. In both these cases, taking the IELTS test is a mandate.
IELTS 2020 exam is required for migration as well as academic purpose 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.

Benefits of IELTS
IELTS is a widely accepted test to study abroad. It is mandatory in specific organizations and countries to ensure that the candidate is comfortable with the language and is qualified to study under them.
==> IELTS helps candidates to improve and polish their English speaking skills. IELTS certificate is proof that you are proficient in English. It helps to build confidence and have a better command over the language.
==> IELTS test is a gateway for people looking to study or settle abroad. It opens up various avenues and is considered to be a benchmark.
==> IELTS is recognized by institutes, professional bodies, employers, and government agencies in the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, USA, New Zealand, etc.
==> IELTS exam is very convenient, fair and flexible
==> IELTS test enables attractive opportunities in MNC’s in your own country.
==> Of all the various English proficiency tests, IELTS is most favored and beneficial.
==> IELTS job opportunities are lucrative, with impressive salary packages.
==> IELTS test facilitates visa approval by government agencies without many struggles
==> Lastly, IELTS can also help in the professional registration process.

IELTS for immigration If you are applying for Skilled Migration, you will need to prove your English language ability. The required level of English depends on the visa subclass you are applying for and there are different levels of English that the language proficiency tests measure. As it can take some time to obtain a booking for a test and to receive the results, you may wish to plan to take the English test well ahead of time.
The IELTS test is the most common way of evidencing English language ability. Either the Academic or General Training versions of the test are acceptable to the Department of Immigration, but some skills assessing authorities require applicants to sit the Academic version. You will need to obtain a minimum score in each band of the IELTS (Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking) in a single sitting. Other acceptable English tests are TOEFL iBT, PTE Academics, Cambridge (CAE) and more.

IELTS for UKVI is a UK government approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). This means that IELTS can be used to prove your English language abilities in support of a UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) application. For many categories of visa, you must submit an English language qualification which is included on the UK Home Office’s list of Secure English Language Tests (SELT tests).

IELTS Life Skills
IELTS life skills is a test designed for immigrants in special cases like
If you’re applying for a ‘family of a settled person’ visa
extension of a ‘family of a settled person’ visa
For indefinite leave to remain or citizenship
IELTS Life Skills is a new test, approved by UKVI as a Secure English Language Test (SELT). It’s for people who need to show they have speaking and listening skills at Level A1, A2 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Below are all the IELTS tests that have been approved for UK Visas and Immigration purposes:

IELTSAcademic**This test is for test takers wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration in the UK
IELTSGeneral trainingThis test is for test takers wishing to migrate to the UK and for those wishing to train or study below degree level.
IELTS Life SkillsA1This test is for those who need to prove their English speaking and listening skills as part of their application to UK Visas and Immigration for ‘family of a settled person’ visas.
IELTS Life SkillsA2*This test is for those who need to prove their English speaking and listening skills as part of their application to UK Visas and Immigration for extension to Family, Spouse or Partner visa.
IELTS Life SkillsB1This test is for those who need to prove their English speaking and listening skills as part of their application to UK Visas and Immigration for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.

Please note: IELTS Life Skills A2 is only available in the UK.

Types of IELTS for studentsThe British Council and International Development Program (IDP) Education are the two providers of IELTS Exams. 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. To know more about the differences in details, go to (Syllabus section).

Exam Pattern

IELTS is most pertinent for would-be under or post-graduates who have either completed higher secondary school and want to pursue under-graduation in a foreign college/university or have completed graduation and want to pursue post-graduation at a college/university abroad. In addition, professionals who want to migrate abroad can take the IELTS exam.

IELTS Exam Pattern
IELTS has four sections: Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing. Following are the number of tasks which you will have to complete in each of the four sections.

Listening: Four recordings involving two conversations and two monologues, which you have to listen to and answer the questions that follow, make up this section of IELTS.
Reading: The Reading section of the IELTS Exam includes 40 questions that thoroughly test an individual’s English reading skill.
Writing: A writing task of 150 words. Candidates must summarize, describe or explain table, graph, chart or diagram, and another short essay task of at least 250 words testing writing skills of the candidate.
Speaking: The Speaking section in IELTS has three tasks, the first of which is a personal introduction, the second being an extempore and third being a question and answer task.

IELTS scoring pattern
IELTS scores are awarded on a 9-band scale with a whole band being 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, etc. and a half band being 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, etc. If an individual accrues a band score of 5.25, for example, in any of the four sections, then his/her score would be rounded off to a half band (5.5). On the flip side, the band score of a candidate who accrues 5.75 or 6.75, for example, in an IELTS section, will have his score rounded off to whole band (6.0or7.0).
IELTS does not involve negative marking; however, as a rule of thumb, you must ensure that you have attended all the questions, even if you are a little uncertain about oneortwo.
The table below provides the correlation between your IELTS band score and your level of English:

Band 9Expert userAspirant has fully operational command of the language.
Band 8Good UserHas operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations.
Band 6Competent userCan use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
Band 5Modest userHas partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes.
Band 4Limited userHave frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
Band 3Extremely limited userConveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
Band 2Intermittent userHas great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
Band 1Non-userEssentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
Band 0Did not attempt the test No assessable information provided.

There is no pass or fail in IELTS exams. Every university has its own benchmark for getting admission through IELTS scores and various eligibility criteria, which candidates need to fulfill apart from other eligibility criteria specified for the university where the candidate is willing to enroll.

IELTS results and how to view
Your IELTS Exam result can be viewed online 13 days after you complete the test. However, you must note that this must not be deemed as either an official confirmation or the final result of your performance. Rather, the results link provided by your IELTS Exam Center should be used as the guide for checking your final IELTS score. This score will be accessible online for four weeks (28 days). Note: You will need to produce your passport or test number, to know your IELTS Exam results.

Reappearing for the IELTS Exam

You can reappear for multiple IELTS exams attempts, provided the gap between the each exam is 15 days.

IELTS Exam Eligibility Criteria The International English Language Testing System is designed to assess the ability of candidates to communicate in English who need to study or work in an English speaking country. It covers four necessary language skills, mainly speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The medium of teaching in a majority of the colleges, universities and educational institutions in the major English speaking countries is English language only. So, the candidates should have a basic understanding of the language in order to pursue their higher studies successfully.

For taking the IELTS Exam, your minimum age should be at least 16 years & you must have a valid passport.

You will be eligible to take the exam if you fall into one of the categories:

Planning to study in UK/Australia/Canada/New Zealand/USA.
Being a medical professional, planning to work or study further in UK/Australia/USA.
Planning to emigrate to Canada/Australia/New Zealand.

The IELTS exam is conducted in two formats, IELTS Academics and IETLS General training test. IELTS academics is given by candidates pursuing higher studies in English speaking countries whereas, General training test is given by those who want to pursue secondary education or gain work.

The minimum age for giving IELTS exam?
The minimum age to give IELTS exam is 16 years for undergraduate programs in a foreign university. Exceptions can be made where schools require IELTS scores for admission. The IELTS has set no maximum age limit, preferably above 16 years is eligible to write IELTS exams of all format.

What is the minimum educational qualification for the IELTS exam?
The basic eligibility criteria is that you should be a minimum of 16 years of age and should have a valid passport. You are eligible to take the IELTS exam if you are planning to study a professional or a higher degree abroad (UK/ USA/ Canada/ Australia/ New Zealand), or If you want to go on a work visa in a foreign country, or if you want to go abroad on immigration. Depending on which course you want to take up and for what purpose you want to travel abroad, your minimum educational qualification will differ to take the IELTS exam. There is no specific qualification asked to be eligible to write IELTS exam but it is obvious for candidates to have decent knowledge of the English language.

Exam Pattern
The International English Language Testing System tests candidates based on four sections, Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The exam is in two formats, namely academics and IELTS General Training Test, and different universities and institute values each, so check the requirements in advance.

IELTS General Training is for candidates planning to migrate to a significant English speaking nation. Professional organizations are also offering employment to candidates whose native language is not English through IELTS. Before preparing for the test, always check for the latest exam pattern for IELTS Exam 2020. This exam is conducted by ETS, Education Testing Service, across the world and is accepted by more than 10,000 educational institutes in more than 150 countries.

>11 to 14 min
SectionDurationIELTS Academic No. of Questions per section
Listening30 minIt comprehends four recorded monologue and conversations 4
Reading60 minThree long reading passages with questions. Texts range from descriptive and factual to discursive, and analytical includes non-verbal material like diagrams, graphs, and illustrations texts are authentic (taken from books, journals, and newspapers)40
Writing60 minA writing task of 150 words. Candidates must summarize, describe or explain table, graph, chart or diagram, and another short essay task of at least 250 words3
SpeakingThe face-to-face interview includes short questions, speaking at length about a familiar topic and a structured discussion4

The complete test duration for the IELTS exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes, which includes all the four sections, Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
Listening- You will be given a total of 30 minutes to finish this section, which is divided into four parts. Candidates have to listen to different pieces of audio recording and answer based on it.
Reading- The reading section encompasses three sections of general interest that deals with issues that relate to candidates pursuing postgraduate or undergraduate program. A total of 30 minutes will be provided for 40 questions in this section.
Writing- In this section, candidates have to explain given data, table, or charts in their own words and are expected to write essay type 2 questions of about 250 words. The total time allotted for this section is 60 minutes.
Speaking- The total time given for this section varies from 11 to 14 minutes, and candidates also have to attend a face-to-face interview. Candidates will be assessed on their ability to communicate effectively in the country where they have applied