The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration, with over 3 million tests taken in the last year.
If you’re looking to work, study or live abroad then taking an IELTS test can help you make that dream come true.
Success starts with IELTS – it’s your end goal that matters. IELTS is accepted as evidence of English language proﬁciency for higher education and global migration.
Trusted for excellence in English language learning
More than 10,000 organisations globally trust IELTS, so when you take the assessment you can be confident that it is recognised by educational institutions, employers, governments and professional bodies around the world.
How does IELTS work?
IELTS has been developed by some of the world’s leading language assessment experts and will test the full range of English skills needed for success in your new job or study placement abroad. You’ll be assessed on the following elements:
There are four sections in the listening test. Each section has 10 questions, making a total of 40 questions. The sections become progressively harder. The answers to the questions come in the same order as the information on the recording. The whole test lasts about 30 minutes, including the instructions, your reading and listening time, and the time allowed for transferring your answers from the questions paper to an answer sheet. The instructions are included on the recording.
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.
IELTS Writing Test lasts for 60 minutes, and you will need to complete two writing tasks, each of which requires different text types (description, report, discussion, argument, opinion text).
IELTS Writing Task 1
In the first part, you are given a task based on some graphic or pictorial information. You are expected to write a descriptive report of at least 150 words on the information provided.
IELTS Writing Task 2
The second task is more demanding. You are expected to produce a written argument on a given topic and to organise your answer clearly, given some examples to support your points. You will have to write at least 250 words and, as Task 2 is longer than Task 1, you are advised to spend approximately 40 minutes on this task and 20 minutes on the first task.
IELTS General Writing
If you are planning to take the GT module, the Writing test is different. You are allowed one hour to complete two tasks, of 150 and 250 words, as in the Academic module. However, Task 1 is always a letter, while Task 2 is an essay based on a given topic.
The test is designed to reflect the sort of language spoken every day in an English-speaking country and even covers variations such as British English, American and Australian English.
Part of the assessment is a real-life conversation that will allow you to communicate effectively with English speakers across the globe.
IELTS Speaking is a one-to-one interaction between the candidate and an examiner. The three parts give the candidate the opportunity to use a range of different speaking skills. IELTS Speaking is recorded.
Choosing the right test
If you’re planning to attend university for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree or you want to work with a professional organisation, you’ll need to take our IELTS Academic test.
IELTS General Training
For studying courses below degree level, work-related training or if you intend to emigrate to an English-speaking country, our IELTS General Training will provide you with the language skills you’ll need to participate fully in your country of choice.
Applying for a UK Visa
IELTS is accepted by the UK Government for UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) applications. Both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training meet the requirements specified by the UK Home Office.
When using IELTS as part of a UKVI application, you’ll need to take the test in a secure IELTS test centre, which has been approved for this purpose by the UK Government.