Reading Now – Understanding the IELTS: Techniques for English language Test
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency, from non-user (band score 1) through to expert (band score 9).
There are 2 types
1. IELTS Academic
2. IELTS General Training
The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English-speaking environment. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training. This approach is widely supported by the institutions that recognize IELTS.
The IELTS test assesses your abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking – in less than three hours. Listening and Speaking are the same for both Academic and General Training tests, but the subject matter of the Reading and Writing sections differs depending on which test you take.
The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them.
The Speaking section, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. Your test center will advise.
The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
IELTS General Training
The IELTS General Training test is for those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.
How IELTS is scored
IELTS results are reported on a 9-band scale
IELTS results are designed to be simple and easy to understand. They are reported as band scores on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest).
The IELTS scale
9 – Expert user The test taker has fully operational command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.
8 – Very good user The test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.
7 – Good user The test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
6 – Competent user The test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 – Modest user The test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes. They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.
4 – Limited user The test taker’s basic competence is limited to familiar situations. They frequently show problems in understanding and expression. They are not able to use complex language.
3 – Extremely limited user The test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
2 – Intermittent user The test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1 – Non-user The test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
0 – Did not attempt the test The test taker did not answer the questions.
Calculating the overall band score
A score is given for each test component – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. These individual scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an overall band score.
IELTS results validity period
- While it is up to each organization to set a validity period that works for their purposes, the IELTS partners recommend a 2-year validity period for IELTS test results based upon the well-documented phenomenon of second language loss or ‘attrition’.
How do I register?
- Find your nearest IELTS test location
With more than 1,600 IELTS test locations in over 140 countries, there is bound to be one near you. Find the nearest center.
- Register for your IELTS test
You can register and pay online or download an application form to print, complete and submit to your local test center. Don’t forget to provide a copy of your valid identity document. You will also need to present the same identity document on the day of the test.
- Your IELTS test is booked
Once your application has been processed, the center will send you a written confirmation of the date and time of your test. The Speaking and Writing tests typically take place on the same day. If this is not possible, the tests will take place within seven days of each other.
For further information, contact your local IELTS test center or download our Information for Candidates booklet