IELTS – International English Language Testing System

IELTS Exam or the International English Language Testing System is a language proficiency test for persons who desire to study or work in a country where English is the primary language of communication. Therefore, it is a standardized test for non-native English speakers who are planning for higher education studies, working, or migrating abroad. This exam is among the globally accepted English proficiency test. It is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English.

So, now that you know what IELTS is, let us move on to the next question of concern;

Why is IELTS important?

IELTS is trusted by over 11,000 organizations worldwide. Hence, you can be confident that when you take the test, it will be accepted by educational institutions, employers, governments, and professional undertakings all across the world.

The process of IELTS has established the bar for English language assessment for the past 30 years as one of the pioneers in the field. This test is being used by the governments of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom to evaluate immigration applications.

How does IELTS work?

IELTS was created by some of the world’s top language specialists and will examine the full spectrum of English abilities required for success in your new work or study placement abroad.

A Candidate is assessed on the following elements:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking

*IELTS is graded on a scale of 1-9

What are the two basic IELTS Tests?

The Two basic tests available are –

  1. IELTS Academics
  2. IELTS General training

Now, here, you must choose the correct test, which will depend on what you are planning to do.

  1. IELTS Academics – This test determines whether your level of English language proficiency is appropriate for an academic setting. It examines whether you’re ready to begin training or studying by displaying characteristics of academic language.
  2. IELTS General Training – This test assesses English language skills in a real-world setting. Both working and social circumstances are reflected in the tasks and tests.

You will have to take the Academics Test if you want to:

  • Pursue Undergraduate or Post-Graduate level studies anywhere in the world
  • Submit an application for a Student Route visa (Tier 4) at a university in the UK that is a Student Route (Tier 4) Sponsored.
  • Work for a professional organization in an English-speaking country

You will have to take the General Training Test if you want to:

  • Study or train at a lower level than a college degree
  • Work or pursue work-related training in an English speaking country
  • Emigrate to a country where English is the native language

What to do if you are looking forward to work or study in the UK?

If you are looking forward to working or studying in the UK backed by a UK Visa Application, then you may need to take the IELTS for UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) Academic or General Training or the IELTS Life Skills test.

What is IELTS Indicator?

The IELTS Indicator is the latest variant of online tests that aspirants can take from the comfort of their homes. This will assist you in continuing your education during the Covid-19 crisis.

As of now the current schedule of the test is like; it is conducted once a week and covers all four skills; Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Examiners assess the test, which uses live test questions. For more details, you may verify here.

Note: Within seven days of taking the test, you will receive an indicative score for each segment as well as an overall band score. It’s crucial to remember that the IELTS Indicator isn’t a replacement for taking the test in person. Once testing restarts, a test taker may be required to take an in-person test at a test center to meet the requirements of their university or education provider. And, for migration to Australia, Canada, or New Zealand, the IELTS Indicator is not accepted, as of now.

IELTS Indicator Benefits:

  1. For Test Takers:
  • The Indicator test will allow you to assess your listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills.
  • While the testing has been suspended in some locations, you can do the IELTS Indicator at home or online.
  • IELTS Indicator is used by many universities and educational institutions for application purposes.
  1. For Universities and Educational Institutes:
  • It’s an excellent approach to assess their prospective students’ listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills in English.
  • The IELTS Indicator test contains official test questions and is graded by qualified examiners using IELTS test standards.
  • It’s only available for a limited period in places where the testing has been halted due to Covid-19.

Why Take IELTS?

Very important reasons why you should take the IELTS Test:

  • You must be able to demonstrate a high level of English language competence if you want to work, reside, or study in an English-speaking country.
  • With 379 million speakers globally, English is the world’s third most spoken language.
  • The ability to speak in the native language of the nation where you want to work or study offers numerous advantages.

What is the IELTS Score Scale?

Band score Skill level Description 
9 Expert user The person taking the test has excellent knowledge of a language. Their English is appropriate, accurate, and conversational, and they demonstrate proper understanding.
8 Very good user The candidate has complete knowledge of the language, with only minor inaccuracies and improper usage. In unfamiliar situations, they may misinterpret some things. They are adept at debating both complex and detailed issues.
7 Good user In other circumstances, the candidate has a functional mastery of the language, yet there are occasional mistakes, incorrect usage, and misunderstandings. They can probably deal with complex sentences and recognize detailed reasoning.
6 Competent user Although there are occasional errors, inappropriate usage, and ambiguities in specific contexts, the candidate has a fundamental mastery of the language. They have a good understanding of precise reasoning and can manage complex language.
5 Modest user The candidate has a basic understanding of English and can deal with overall meaning in most instances, albeit they are likely to make numerous errors. Out of their own domain, they should be ready to manage an effective conversation.
4 Limited user Basic competence is constrained to situations that the candidate is familiar with. They normally show difficulty in understanding and communicating. They are unable to interact in a comprehensive fashion.
3 Extremely limited user In fairly familiar situations, the test taker merely conveys and comprehends basic meaning. Communication is constantly hampered.
2 Intermittent user The candidate has a hard time understanding spoken and written English.
1 Non-user With the exception of a few individual words, the candidate has no ability to use the language.
0 Did not attempt the test The candidate taking the test failed to answer any of the questions.


Now we will discuss the aspects to consider once you have decided to take the IELTS Test:

IELTS Exam Eligibility:

To take the IELTS Test you can be from any gender, ethnicity, nationality, or religion, except for the age which is recommended to be above 16, as recommended by the authorities. Though if they want they can take the Test. Therefore, the authorities have not marked any minimum eligibility criteria. Hence, any aspiring candidate looking forward to higher education or professional growth in a foreign country can take this Exam in Academic or General Training respectively. For more institution-specific or organization-specific eligibility criteria, the candidate has to check with the particular institute or organization for their parameters. There is no limit to the number of attempts, therefore, you can take the IELTS exam as many times as you wish, provided you have to pay the fees for every attempt.

When is the IELTS Exam conducted?

The IELTS exam is conducted multiple times during a year, thereby providing aspirants to appear for the exam whenever they are ready to take the test.

IELTS Registration:

The Registration procedure for this exam is very easy:

  • Step 1 – Drop into the official registration page of the British Council
  • Step 2 – Sign up for an account
  • Step 3 – Lookup for the nearest Test center
  • Step 4 – Register for the IELTS Test and pay for it online

 IELTS Exam Pattern and Mode of Conduct:

By now, as we have come to understand that there are two different test types for IELTS;

  1. Academic &
  2. General Training.

So now, we will understand the variations in the exam pattern for both types of IELTS. The IELTS Exam Pattern Details contains intricate tasks which have to be completed during the test. For both the Test Types the candidates have to take the

  1. Listening
  2. Speaking
  3. Reading, and
  4. Writing Test

The candidates taking the test for Academics and General Training, the Listening and Speaking test are the same for both types, there are variations in the Reading and Writing test. Therefore, it is important you prepare for the correct test type following the correct exam pattern.

Highlights of IELTS Test with the description of each section:

Section Description Questions Duration
Listening This section consists of two recorded monologues and two conversations. 4 30 minutes
Reading There are three long reading portions with tasks in each:
Texts span from descriptive to factual to discursive, and non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs, and drawings are included in analytical texts. the texts are genuine (taken from books, journals, and newspapers)
General Training
Topics like Social survival, Workplace survival, and general reading including writings from newspapers, magazines, etc.
40 60 minutes
Writing AcademicsA 150-word writing work in which the candidate must summarise, describe, or explain a table, graph, chart, or diagram, and a 250-word short essay task.
General Training
Letter writing and Essay writing
2 60 minutes
Speaking Short inquiries, lengthy speaking on a familiar topic, and a structured discussion are all part of the face-to-face interview in this section. 3 11 to 14 minutes


IELTS Exam Syllabus

The IELTS Syllabus is easy to handle if you prepare yourself well. Section-wise IELTS Syllabus will help you to get the intricate details of all the aspects dealt with in the test. So, you must be well aware of the syllabus.

IELTS Exam Syllabus for the Listening Section

The Listening Syllabus is the same for both the IELTS Exam Types – Academic and General Training.

  • Recording 1 –  A conversation of two people set in an everyday social context and scenario
  • Recording 2 – A monologue on an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local happening, etc.
  • Recording 3 – A conversation set between up to four people in an educational or training context)
  • Recording 4 – A monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture, etc.

IELTS Exam Syllabus for the Speaking Section

The Speaking Syllabus is the same for both the IELTS Exam Types – Academic and General Training.

  • Task 1 – Ask general questions about you, such as about your family, work, studies, house, and hobbies. This section lasts approximately 4-5 minutes.
  • Part 2 – You will choose a card with a topic and will discuss it. Before speaking for up to two minutes, you will have one minute to prepare. The examiner will then ask you 2-3 questions on the same theme.
  • Part 3 – You will be asked more questions on the same topic as in assignment 2. These will allow you to talk about more abstract concepts and issues. This task will take the same amount of time as the first.

 IELTS Exam Syllabus for the Reading Section:

The Reading Test varies for Academic and General Training.

Reading Test – IELTS Academic

This section has 3 lengthy paragraphs that can be descriptive, factual, or analytical in nature. These paragraphs are essential extracts from newspapers, research papers, journals, books, and magazines. The texts are appropriate for evaluating higher education applicants or professionals seeking work overseas because they are written for a non-specialist audience.

Reading Test – IELTS General Training

The extracts can include sections from ads, company rules, brochures, and other sources, similar to its academic Test type format. This is a less difficult format than the academic one because the chosen text is usually something that one sees on a daily basis.

IELTS Exam Syllabus for the Writing Section:

The Writing Test syllabus also will vary for both Academic and General Training tests.

Writing Test – IELTS Academic

  1. It consists of two exercises on subjects that are of wide interest and relevant to individuals seeking undergraduate or postgraduate courses.
  2. You will be given a sheet of paper with a diagram, table, or graph as your first task. You’ll have to summarize and define the supplied information in your own language. You may be required to explain a specific data entry, process the information provided, or create a flowchart to arrive at a logical conclusion.
  3. The next job requires you to compose an essay in response to your deduction from the provided data and to back up your statement with appropriate examples based on the provided data. Please keep in mind that the writing style should be formal.

Writing Test – IELTS General Training

  • It also has two tasks, although they are simpler than those in the academic format.
  • You will be required to write a letter in response to the given circumstances. Depending on the situation, the letter can be formal, semi-formal, or intimate. You will be asked to explain yourself, make a request, or defend your position to a higher authority.
  • You will be required to write an essay based on the aforementioned views. The arguments and viewpoints expressed here should be backed up with relevant examples, and the writing style might be rather personal.

FAQ’s related to IELTS

What is the basic difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training Exams?

Those who intend to enroll in a college or university to complete their education take the IELTS academic test. IELTS General Training, on the other hand, is given by those candidates who aspire to work in a foreign nation.

What types of questions are asked in the IELTS Exam?

Candidates must cover a list of topics for each module of the IELTS test in order to prepare for the test. There are some topics in each section that you should thoroughly prepare for. The IELTS Syllabus will help you make a list of all the topics you need to cover in order to prepare for the IELTS.

Which is the most difficult section in the IELTS?

There is no standard answer to this because, according to a few surveys, the Writing part of the IELTS is difficult and challenging. The writing module score ranges from 5 to 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. In this module, candidates are evaluated on a variety of elements in addition to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Is the IELTS Exam tough to crack?

The IELTS test will assess how well you communicate in English. It evaluates the candidate’s ability to read, write, listen, and talk. The exam has to solve its purpose; therefore, there is no way out, but to prepare well. To take the IELTS test, candidates must prepare properly.

What is asked in the IELTS Academic Writing Section?

In the Writing segment, there are two tasks to complete, and test takers must complete both. You must describe some visual information in your own words in the first challenge. The second task, on the other hand, will provide you an argument, a topic, or a point of view to discuss.

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