What is the IELTS Test ?
Introduction to IELTS
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a language proficiency test used for entrance into higher education institutions, professional training, and migration to English-speaking countries. Over two million IELTS tests were taken in the last year.
The IELTS test assesses your ability to speak, listen, read, and write in English, and is designed to reflect real-life situations you may encounter in an English-speaking environment.
IELTS General Training or IELTS Academic ?
People have different reasons for wanting to learn English, and to reflect this there are two versions of the IELTS test: the General Training Test and the Academic Test. People who wish to study at undergraduate degree level or higher, or wish to join an English speaking professional organisation, should take the IELTS academic test; people who wish to work in an English speaking country, take work-related training in an English speaking country, or emigrate to an English speaking country should take the IELTS General Training.
The IELTS Test
The IELTS is an approximately three hour exam that assesses your ability to speak, listen, read, and write in English. The IELTS listening, reading, and IELTS writing tests are all done on the same day, with no breaks between them. The IELTS speaking test may take place on the same day, or may take place within seven days of the other tests. This depends on your testing centre.
The listening and speaking sections for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are the same. The reading and writing sections have different types of question and content, depending on which IELTS test you take.
For each of the sections – reading, writing, speaking, and listening – you will receive a score of between 1 and 9. You will also receive an overall score of between 1 and 9. A score of 1 represents a very basic ability to use and understand English; a score of 9 indicates near-native fluency. For each part of the test, and for your overall score you can receive a whole number score (i.e. 1, 4, 7, etc) or a half number score (i.e. 4.5, 6.5, 8.5, etc).
Universities, professional institutions, and immigration authorities are responsible for deciding what IELTS score they need from you, and this will vary from place to place depending on what you need the IELTS test for.