How to apply for ielts
Dates, documents and options
Let’s start with the basics: the IELTS exams you can take, the where and when and which documents you need as proof of identity.
- Academic IELTS: for university study where English is used
- General Training IELTS: for migration and work purposes
- IELTS UKVI (Academic or General Training): for UK visas and immigration
- IELTS Life Skills: for family migrants to the UK
Paper or computer?
From 2106, it is possible to take IELTS Academic and General Training as well as IELTS UKVI either through the traditional paper based exam or online in what is called the computer delivered version. The possible advantages of the latter are first test results are promised within 5-7 days as opposed to 13 in the case of the paper exam. Also, many IELTS candidates may prefer the keyboard and screen to pen and paper.
Of course, both versions are taken at British Council or IDP centres and the Speaking Test in both versions remains face-to-face with an examiner.
However, not all countries and centres offer the computer delivered IELTS test yet so please check to see its availability in your case. (https://www.ielts.org/about-the-test/paper-or-computer)
Covid-19 and IELTS Indicator
- IELTS Indicator is an online test you do at home introduced in March 2020 for those intending to take Academic IELTS but have been unable to do so because Test Centres have been temporarily closed. It gives you the chance to measure your ability while tests are suspended. Results are given in 7 days and can be used to give higher education institutions an official assessment of your English proficiency. For information, go to (https://www.ieltsindicator.com)
- IELTS exams are held up to 48 times a year.
- Not every test centre will necessarily offer all the available dates. It will depend on demand. Your first step is to check with your nearest exam centre.
- IELTS Indicator is offered once a week. Remember this test is only available for a limited time where IELTS testing is currently suspended.
- Proof of identity for IELTS registration and on test days is very important.
- You must choose between your passport and your national identity card.
- But if you present IELTS outside your country, you can only use your passport.
The application process made easy
Here are the steps to take:
- Find your nearest IELTS test location.
With over 1,600 test centres worldwide, there should be no problem in finding one close to where you are.
- Choose the date you want to take the test
Remember, Much depends on demand and test type. Your chosen IELTS test centre will have the available dates online as well as any cutoff date after which the centre will not accept more applications for a particular exam date. These available dates may be for up to 2 or 3 months ahead or only 1 month. The best advice is to make your exam booking one of the first for your chosen date. That way you won’t be disappointed if all the places available are already filled.
Also, select your date thinking carefully about when you will receive the results (a maximum of 13 days after the test date) and how that may affect important deadlines, for example, for visa application or the confirmation of a university place. It is a very good idea, for example, to present IELTS Academic at least six months before the start of the university academic year which is usually September or October.
- Register. You can do this online or download the application either with the British Council or IDP according to the chosen test centre. . Go to the website and follow the instructions.
- Copy your chosen valid ID (passport or national ID card) and have it ready to upload when required.
- Print the downloaded application form if you prefer. Fill it in, attach the copy of your ID and submit it to the British Council or IDP office.
- Pay online using one of the payment options outlined.
- Payment can be made with accepted credit or debit card
- Wait to receive official written confirmation from the test centre.
Important tips for your IELTS registration
- Read the application form and the official confirmation letter very carefully. Both give details of the test’s rules and regulations that you must agree to and comply with. Some of these rules are just the same for any exam, such as arriving at the test centre in good time, Try to be there at least 30-45 minutes before the test begins. Others may include more sensitive issues, such as the need for all IELTS exam candidates to remove any headwear for checks before entering the exam room.
- Bring with you on exam day, the same ID you chose as proof of identity. Your passport or your national identity card. This is extremely important. You would be surprised at how many candidates arrive without their passport, for example. Don’t let that be you.
- Speaking tests are not normally held on the same as the other parts of the test (Listening, Reading and Writing). You will probably take the Speaking part in the days just before the rest, for example an assigned day and time from Monday to Friday before the exam on Saturday. Occasionally, it may take place 2 or 3 days after the main exam. Note your test time and, again, arrive early with your ID document.
- Young IELTS takers, that is, those under 18 years of age, need a parent or a guardian to book the exam.
How much will it cost?
This depends on two things.
- The IELTS that you are taking.
The good news is that IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training cost exactly the same. If you need to take IELTS UKVI, it will cost more but IELTS Life Skills is somewhat cheaper. It’s impossible to give universal precise figures because it depends on ….
- The country where you are presenting the test.
Your local British Council or IDP website or office will have the exact details. There will be variations but don’t expect to pay under US $240 for the regular IELTS exam. To give an example, British Council and IDP India charge, as from April 2020, 14,000 Indian Rupees (INR) for both Academic and General Training IELTS, 15,100 INR for IELTS UKVI and a little less, 13,940 INR, for IELTS Life Skills. Of course, these fees are liable to periodic revision.
- IELTS Indicator costs US $149.
You can download or listen to the audio version here: