The IELTS exam is the International English Language Testing System test taken to prove your IELTS proficiency. It is one of the most widely known and used English exams in the world. There are about 1000 IELTS testing centres in most countries.
The purpose of the IELTS test is to provide proof of their English skills either for immigration or academic purposes where English is the native language. A huge number of post-secondary institutions, governmental bodies and private corporations recognize IELTS results as confirmation of English proficiency level for countries like New Zealand, USA, Canada and Australia. It is the only English Language Test approved by UK Visas and Immigration for applications outside and inside of the UK.
It is very important for you as a test taker to study in depth in order to excel at this exam.
You should do practice tests or take private lessons because the IELTS testing process is quite challenging and the results decide a lot in the test candidate’s life.
Most importantly, you can prepare for all the parts and types of the IELTS test using the lessons, blog posts and tutorials on our website and the courses we offer.
*Recent updates about the IELTS exam
As a result of the ongoing pandemic worldwide, IELTS organisations have launched the IELTS Indicator exam to help students who are unable to take the IELTS test at an exam centre. The IELTS indicator has a similar format to the usual test and will asses a students skills in Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking. Please check with the institution that you are applying to whether they accept the IELTS Indicator results. Find out more about the IELTS Indicator here.
How many types of IELTS tests are there? Which one should I take?
There are two types of IELTS exams:
How many sections does IELTS have?
Both IELTS General Training and Academic have 4 sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
All exam sections are always taken in the same location, which is the same testing centre.
You will always do the Listening, Reading, and Writing sections on the same day, without any breaks between them.
The IELTS Speaking exam may be scheduled either on the same day, after the rest of the parts, or even before or after the other test segments (up to 7 days).
Your test centre will let you know about the exact dates.
2 hours 45 minutes.
The time is split as follows:
IELTS can be taken in two formats:
However, IELTS Speaking is always taken with a real person, no matter which format you choose to take.
Remember, IELTS Academic is not only required in countries which have English as the official language. For example, if you apply for a program taught in English in Switzerland, you may have to submit an IELTS certificate. This test will be taken by applicants who want to apply for higher education or professional registration abroad.
Make sure that you always check your post-secondary institution’s (college or university) website whether they can accept an IELTS Academic certificate before you book your exam or sign up for prep classes.
What is IELTS General Training for?
Who accepts IELTS General Training results?
A huge number of private corporations, from the smallest to the largest, and certainly all medical institutions accept GT IELTS certificates.
They require a GT IELTS band score because it serves as a trustworthy, internationally recognized proof for professionals from abroad of appropriate language skills proficiency for employment.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) accepts GT IELTS as proof of language proficiency with applications for work visas when registering for a certain profession, obtaining permanent residence, or finalizing a citizenship application.
Similarly, the Australian Citizenship and Immigration requires GT IELTS for the same purposes as Canada.
If you intend to apply for UK citizenship, the IELTS Life Skills exam is one of the tests that is accepted.
However, band score requirements are different for various countries and purposes.
Which exam is more difficult: General IELTS or Academic IELTS?
There is no difference between General Training and Academic IELTS in the Speaking and Listening sections.
The only difference between GT and Academic IELTS is in the Reading and Writing parts.
IELTS Academic is thought to be somewhat more challenging, especially Writing. But in Reading, you will need fewer correct answers to get a higher band score. For example: 32 marks = Band 7.0.
On the other hand, IELTS general is believed to be a bit easier, but certain sections will need more marks to achieve a better result. For example: 32 marks = Band 6.5.
How to best prepare for the IELTS exam
There is no perfect answer to this. Some students choose to use books and do tests on paper on their own, others pay for one-on-one classes with an instructor, and finally, some others enroll in online courses, with lectures, extensive speaking and writing practice and essay feedback from exam experts.
All of these approaches are effective only if you are focused on your goal and ready to work hard. No doubt, it is slightly easier to work when there is structure, direction and constructive feedback. And It is more challenging to motivate yourself when you are completely on your own, without any help from outside or anyone to ask a question.
Yet, if you sign up for a well-structured course, with an experienced teacher as a guide, you may be ready for the IELTS exam in as short as one or two weeks.
It is completely your choice which path to choose, as long as you realize the importance of the goal in front of you: your IELTS score may play a decisive role in your education, work and immigration plans.
Make sure that you study for the IELTS Exam and practice doing sample tests using official IELTS practice materials, which you can find and purchase either online from official IELTS websites or from your test centre. Such preparation books are published by either Cambridge University Press, British Council or IDP.
It is important to make using official IELTS materials a priority because they are the closest version of what the real IELTS test format looks and feels like because they are carefully designed by actual IELTS test creators.
Which is the secret to getting the desired band score?
Our website has a lot of free IELTS preparation materials to help you start your preparation:
Can your IELTS test be postponed or cancelled?
What if I miss the IELTS exam because I am sick?
How many test dates are there for the IELTS exam?
How much does the IELTS exam cost?
Who administers the IELTS exam?
IELTS test is jointly owned by:
Many students wonder who is best for taking their IELTS exam and where they should take the test. There is no difference between IDP and British council, read more here.
IELTS in India
In July 2021, IELTS IDP bought the rights to administer the IELTS test in India. They bought them from the British Council. Full story here.
How soon can I retake the IELTS exam?
Should I retake the IELTS exam?
What if I don’t like my IELTS results, can they be changed?
The IELTS Podcast team wish you all the best of luck in your International English Language Testing Exam and hope our materials, advice and tips will help you achieve your desired band scores that will get you one step closer to your dream.
Video-Call Speaking (VCS) is now being introduced in certain test centres alongside the
traditional speaking test format. Candidates still have to go to the test centre venue but will
talk to an examiner through a zoom video link. The examiner is remote; the test taker is not.
Why is it being promoted?
Covid-19 has obviously been a key factor but VCS is not simply a response to it. Over the
last ten years or so, the various bodies that organize IELTS (Cambridge Assessment
English, the British Council, IDP and IELTS Australia) have been working on the idea of
making IELTS more available by offering the test to candidates living in remote areas or in
conflict zones. The events since early 2020 have helped speed up this process. The
cancellation of exams has led to a backlog of test-takers in 2021 as centres begin to open up
Examiners, all experienced in traditional in-person interviews, will be testing from their
own homes as long as their equipment for doing so is up to standard. They will be
organized regionally to thus avoid problems with time zones. Examiners might have
interviews with candidates from the country where they are based or from neighbouring