What is IELTS?

IELTS means International English Language Testing System and it is a test of English language proficiency. The test is designed to assess the language ability of non-native speakers of English who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication. It covers all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. The IELTS test focuses on “International English”, which includes British English, American English and other varieties like Australian or South African English

IELTS is jointly managed by the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, British Council and IDP Education Australia. IELTS tests are administered at centers throughout the world – there are currently more than 300 centers, in over 120 countries.

IELTS is accepted by most British, Australian, Canadian, Irish and New Zealand academic institutions for higher and further education. IELTS is increasingly accepted by European academic institutions where the medium of instruction is English. In the United States of America IELTS is gaining recognition as an alternative to TOEFL. However, note that not all academic institutions in the USA are accepting the IELTS score in which case you need to take TOEFL.

Universities typically require a band score of between 6 and 7. However, level depends on the academic institution in which you wish to study and the type of course you will be taking. IELTS is also a mandatory requirement for students of many nationalities to get student visas to Australia (TOEFL exam is not accepted). An IELTS score must be included at the time of application for the student visa. Test older than 2 years are not acceptable.


International English Language Testing System

(Conducted jointly by)

BRITISH COUNCILIDPUniversity of Cambridge

IELTS has two modules


(For students who want to pursue  Further study)


(For Immigration purpose)


Both the modules are the same as far as listening and speaking are concerned but differ in reading and writing Sections.


The IELTS listening test is divided into four sections and the sections get increasingly difficult. You only hear each section one time. The time for the test is 40 minutes. The listening takes 30 minutes, but you then have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to an answer sheet.

Section One

In the first section there is a conversation between two speakers. For example – a conversation about travel arrangements, booking accommodation, or decisions on a night out.

Section Two

The second section is a monologue (a speech by one person). It will be set in an everyday social context. For example – a speech about student services on a University campus or arrangements for meals during a conference.

Section Three

Section three is a conversation between up to four people. For example – a conversation between a tutor and a student about an assignment or between three students planning a research project.

Section Four

The final part is another monologue. It is a lecture or talk of general academic interest such as a university lecture.


Reading is the second part of the IELTS test, and takes 60 minutes. It consists of three or sometimes four reading passages of increasing difficulty, and there is a total of 40 questions to answer. Though you can mark and write on the Question Paper, you must enter your answers on the Reading Answer Sheet, and be aware that no extra time is given for transferring your answers from the
Test booklet to the Reading Answer Sheet.

The Academic and General Training Reading Tests are graded to the same level. However, because the texts in the Academic Reading Test are more challenging overall than those in the General Training Test, more questions need to be answered correctly on a General Training Test to receive the same grade.


The IELTS writing test is the module that many students find the most difficult. This is because in a short space of time (one hour) you have to write an essay and a graph (academic module) or a letter (general training module).

Academic Writing

In Task 1 Candidates are presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and are asked to describe, summarize or explain the information in their own words. They may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
In Task 2 Candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem The issues raised are of general interest to, suitable for and easily understood by candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration Responses to Task 1 and Task 2 should be written in a formal style.

General Training Writing

In Task 1 Candidates are presented with a situation and are asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.

In Task 2 Candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay Topics are of general interest.



In the Speaking test, you have a discussion with a certified Examiner. It is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get.