What is IELTS?
The International English Language Testing System abbreviated as IELTS is the world’s most popular English test for international higher education, work or migration.
It is an English proficiency assessment test designed to gauge a wide range of language skills of an individual looking to study or seek employment in or migrate to countries where English is the language of communication. The test has been developed and jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment of the University of Cambridge.
When is it offered?
IELTS is offered up to four times a month in more than 130 countries. You may have to take the test on Thursdays and Saturdays. You can appear for IELTS in over 1,100 test centers around the world.
Test components and duration
IELTS has four papers: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. It has two different modules: Academic and General Training. Here, we look at the test components of IELTS Academic.
If you desire to earn an undergraduate or postgraduate degree abroad or if you are a professional desiring to register in a foreign land, you need to take IELTS Academic.
Components of IELTS Academic
This paper has 40 questions, spread over 3 sections. You will find general topics written in narrative or argumentative style sourced from books, newspapers, journals and online materials. You will be tested for general understanding of the main text and specific grasp of finer points.
Texts may have diagrams, graphs or illustrations too. You will find dictionary definitions for technical words, if any. Marks will be deducted for faulty grammar or spelling. The duration will be 60 minutes including transfer time.
You will have to complete two writing tasks in this paper. Task 1 involves describing some visual information given in a graph, table, chart or diagram; you will write at least 150 words of your own in 20 minutes.
In Task 2, you need to discuss a point of view or problem by writing at least 250 words in 40 minutes. You will be tested for relevance of response to the task and how well you express your ideas in writing.
This paper has four sections each of 10 questions. Sections 1 and 2 focus on everyday social situations. Sections 3 and 4 are set in educational and training contexts. Speakers use different accents including British, New Zealand, Australian and North American.
You listen to the recordings only once. Time allowed is approximately 30 minutes for listening and 10 minutes at the end of the test to transfer your responses to an answer sheet. You will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar.
The IELTS Speaking test is a face-to-face oral interaction between the candidate and the examiner. The test has three parts and will be recorded for later assessment. You will be tested for grammatical accuracy, pronunciation and fluency. Time allotted is 15 minutes.
Test report format
You do not pass or fail in IELTS. Your performance in each test component is graded using scores from 1-9. The unique 9-Band Scale is internationally recognized to assess your performance in a consistent manner, irrespective of when or where you take the test.
IELTS 9-Band Scale
9 Expert user
8 Very good user
7 Good user
6 Competent user
5 Modest user
4 Limited user
3 Extremely limited user
2 Intermittent user
0 Did not attempt the test
If you have an overall half band score, say for instance 7.5, it would mean that you have performed very well within the Band 7 level.
Who Accept IELTS Score?
Several universities and employers accept IELTS scores across the world in countries like Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government outfits also recognize it.
You can learn more about specialized and personalized online IELTS preparation and tutoring at a reputed online tutoring portal.