IELTS Essentials: Complete Guide to The Test (2020)

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The IELTS (International English Language testing System) is one of the most favored tests worldwide to assess the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers.

It is an international standardized test, and therefore provides certification to the candidate which can be used globally.

IELTS is jointly administered by the British Council, IDP Education and Cambridge Assessment English.

Candidates who appear for the IELTS are generally pursuing education, employment opportunities, or want to immigrate to countries where English is the primary language.

  • It tests English language skills across the board that is, speaking, writing, reading and listening skills.
  • It enables candidates to maximize opportunities as most Australian, Canadian, British and New Zealand academic institutions, as well as the ones in the United States give credence to this test. Various professional organizations worldwide also accept IELTS test scores.
  • In case of candidates whose primary motivation is immigration, IELTS is designated as the only “Secure English Language Test” approved by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for visa customers applying both inside and outside the UK. For Australia, New Zealand and Canada, it is one of the accepted tests to verify English language skills.

There are no official eligibility requirements to appear for IELTS.

In either of the above modules, in a total time of two hours and forty five minutes, the candidate is assessed on his/her listening, reading, writing and speaking skills.

Marks are given for each individual test component, which are then averaged and rounded off to produce an overall result.

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The scoring pattern is reflected on a scale of 0 to 9, where 0 indicates that the candidate did not appear for the test, while 9 indicates that the candidate is an expert and has full operational command of the language.

Note: IELTS recommends that organizations consider only a two year validity period for IELTS test results. This is because for non native speakers second language skills decrease with time.

The cost of appearing for the test varies between 215 to 240 USD for candidates applying in the United States depending on the test location.

For international students, the amount varies from country to country. In India, for example, the fee is INR 12,650.

There are 1200 IELTS locations in over 140 countries. The candidate may visit the official website to locate the nearest centre.

An application form may be downloaded, filled and submitted to the local test centre with a valid identity document.

This ID will be required on the test day as well. The test results are available online generally within 28 days from the test date.

Before appearing, judging your level of preparation is crucial. The IELTS offers official study materials, including online support.

The British Council also offers free online resources to students.

Some useful links are:

  • The IELTS Liz YouTube channel –

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