The world’s most popular English test for higher education and global migration
It is International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Educational institutions, employers, professional registration bodies and government immigration agencies often require proof of English language skills as part of their recruitment or admission procedures. IELTS is widely accepted for these purposes.
IELTS is designed to test the language ability of people who want to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. Over 2.5 million tests are taken each year.
In IELTS, there are four papers: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. There are two different IELTS modules:Academic and General Training. The Speaking and Listening tests are the same in both modules, but the Reading and Writing tests are different.
Choose this if you wish to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, or if you are seeking professional registration, e.g. doctors and nurses. Find out what’s in the IELTS Academic module.
General Training module
Choose this if you wish to migrate to an English-speaking country, (e.g. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK) or if you wish to train or study at below degree level. Find out what’s in the IELTS General Training module.
What’s in the exam?
||Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes’ transfer time)
Find out how IELTS fits onto the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
There is no pass or fail in IELTS. You are graded on your performance in the test, using scores from 1–9 for each part of the test: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Your results from the four parts then produce an overall score.
The unique 9-band scoring system measures performance in a consistent manner, wherever and whenever the test is taken. It is internationally recognised and understood.
The IELTS 9-band scale
Each band corresponds to a level of English competence. All parts of the test and the overall band score can be reported in whole and half bands, e.g. 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0.
|Band 9: Expert user
||Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
|Band 8: Very good user
||Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
|Band 7: Good user
||Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
|Band 6: Competent user
||Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. 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. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
|Band 4: Limited user
||Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has 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 in communication occur.
|Band 2: Intermittent user
||No real communication is possible, except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. 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.
A half band score indicates a strong performance at a particular band level. For example, if you score an overall band score of 6.5, you have performed strongly within the Band 6 level.
For more information, download the Information for Candidates booklet.
How can institutions verify my results?
IELTS Test Report Form Verification Service for institutions
Employers, universities or other organisations can check your results for themselves by registering with ourTest Report Form Verification Service.
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