IELTS Test Information

Comprehensive IELTS Test Information

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam is a standardized exam that tests a candidate's proficiency in the English language. This exam was developed in 1989 by the British Council, in conjunction with IDP and University of Cambridge ESOL Examination. IELTS is conducted all over world at around 800 test centers in more than 130 countries. Thus, it is also the most widely accepted measure of a person's English proficiency, being used by almost all universities and government organizations in order to check the same.

Format of the IELTS Exam

The IELTS exam has two modules - Academic and General Training. The module you have to test in depends on your purpose of visit to that country (a country whose native language is English).

  • If you are appearing for the exam in order to gain migration or for visiting the country to gain work experience, you will be required to appear for the General Training module.
  • If you are seeking admission to a foreign university or applying for professional training in a foreign country, you will be required to appear for the Academic Module.

In order to find out which module you have to appear for, you can log on to http://www.ielts.org. Here you can also find other relevant  information pertaining to the IELTS.

The exam is divided into four sections - Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. The first two sections are slightly varied for the two modules whereas the latter two are the same. In the Academic module, the reading section has three sub-sections which consist of long passages on general academic topics. In the General training module, two of the three sub-sections have short passages on general topics on which questions are based while the last sub-section is a long text on a general topic. Forty questions are based on these passages which are divided into multiple choice questions, yes/no questions and short answer type questions.

The Writing section consists of two tasks in both modules. The first task is a letter in the General Training module whereas it is a descriptive passage in the Academic Training module. The second task is an essay in both modules.

The speaking section consists of a personal interview. In the Listening section, candidates are made to listen to four recorded conversations or speeches on which forty questions are based. These questions are in the same format as those in the Reading section.

Important Dates

There are no fixed deadlines for registering for IELTS as the exam is conducted multiple times throughout the year in all test centers. It is conducted anywhere between 12 to 48 times a year, most centers trying to conduct at least 24 times. Thus, you can give the test whenever it is most suitable for you. It is best to register for the test 15 days in advance to maximize chances of getting a test date and center of your choice. Keep in mind that IELTS scores are valid for a period of two years. To find outinformation regarding testing dates in your region, visit http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/how_do_i_register/test_dates.aspx.

Registering for the Exam

There are a lot of options available to candidates for the purpose of registering for IELTS. The first way to do this is to register online on the website of the test center you have chosen to give your exam in - generally British Council or IDP. Online registrations provide you with the convenience of registering at your own time as well as the added benefit of having your registration processed immediately. You can also register in person by visiting your test center or by mail/post. To register for the exam, you require a filled out application form, two recent passport sized photographs and a copy of your passport or national identity card.