What is IELTS?
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What is IELTS?

If you are new to the world of IELTS it can all be a bit confusing. Today we will try to answer some of your questions.     Listening Practice: Listen to Emma read What is IELTS?     What is IELTS? IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It may be required by immigration authorities as part of the application process.   Which IELTS test should I take? Academic or General Training? IELTS is available in two versions; Academic and General Training. Always check which IELTS test the organisation you are applying to requires so that you don’t waste time and money preparing for/taking the wrong test. Here is a quick overview of the different tests. IELTS Academic is for those applying for higher education. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training. Thousands of education and training providers all over the world use IELTS results to select their students. You can find out which institutions accept IELTS scores on the IELTS website. IELTS Academic may also be a requirement for those applying for professional registration. Many professional registration bodies and employers rely on IELTS as evidence of English language proficiency. IELTS General Training is for those applying for secondary education, training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in a wide variety of social and workplace contexts.  What does IELTS assess? Both versions of IELTS assess the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. All candidates take the same Speaking and Listening tests but the Reading and Writing sections are different.  Double-check which IELTS test you need to take, the Reading and Writing sections are different! How long is the IELTS Test? The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. You will take the first three parts on the same day, in the following order: Listening, Reading and Writing (there are no breaks between these tests). Your Speaking test will be held on either the same day or seven days before or two days after, depending on your local test centre arrangements. The IELTS Speaking test is a face-to-face test with an official IELTS examiner, you take the test by yourself.  How can I prepare for IELTS? We Love IELTS has preparation resources to help you achieve IELTS success, whether you are a first-time test taker or resitting the test. You may want to take a practice test to get an understanding of your current level and your strengths and weaknesses. This will also give you more information on the format of the test. You can find practice tests and materials on our website. If you are not sure which book or resource is best for you then let our Resource Finder guide you. Remember that everyone is different, learns differently and learns at a different pace so don’t put pressure on yourself to prepare in a short period of time. How long will it take me to prepare for IELTS? The length of time it takes to prepare for IELTS depends upon your level of English language proficiency and your target band score. If your English level is already at the standard needed, then you may simply need to learn about the IELTS test format and ensure that you have the exam skills needed. On the other hand, you may find that you need to work on improving your general English before you start working on IELTS specific exam skills, this can take longer.   How is IELTS marked? IELTS is not a pass/fail exam. It is a test to check the level of your English, IELTS is marked using a 9-band scoring system. A score of 1 shows a non-user all the way to a 9 which shows an expert user.  You can also get .5 scores for example 7.5.  You will receive individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking, and an overall band score which is the average score of all the skills. You can find out more about how IELTS is scored on ielts.org.  Qualified examiners mark your work using a fixed set of criteria. Examiners must go through extensive training to become qualified to mark test papers. Your work will be marked by more than one examiner to ensure that marks are consistent and fair no matter where you sit your IELTS test.  What’s the difference between the paper or computer IELTS? The paper-based test requires test takers to sit at a desk with the question and answer sheets for the Reading, Listening and Writing tests in an official IELTS test centre. Test takers will write their answers in either pen or HB-pencil. The Speaking test is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner. The computer-delivered test requires test takers to sit the Reading, Listening and Writing tests in front of a computer with the questions presented on the screen in an official IELTS test centre. The test takers then submit their answers through the computer. The Speaking test is not on computer and is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner. You can find out where computer- delivered IELTS is currently available at: ielts.org.  Get lots of writing practice before the test - you need to build your stamina and ensure your handwriting can be read. If you are taking computer-delivered IELTS make sure you can type quickly and accurately, there is no spell check and typos will be considered spelling errors. I hope i’ve answered some of your questions today. There’s lots of information on the IELTS test on the rest of the website. Good luck with your preparation and remember, we are here to help.  Subscribe to our newsletter to get IELTS activities in your inbox and follow us on social. If you have questions that we haven’t answered here, why not try our FAQs page or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram.  Good luck with your IELTS preparation.  Emma 

Emma Cosgrave

13 October, 2020

What is IELTS?

What is IELTS?

If you are new to the world of IELTS it can all be a bit confusing. Today we will try to answer some of your questions. 

 

Listening Icon Listening Practice: Listen to Emma read What is IELTS?

 

 

What is IELTS?

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It may be required by immigration authorities as part of the application process.  

Which IELTS test should I take? Academic or General Training?

IELTS is available in two versions; Academic and General Training. Always check which IELTS test the organisation you are applying to requires so that you don’t waste time and money preparing for/taking the wrong test. Here is a quick overview of the different tests.

  • IELTS Academic is for those applying for higher education. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training. Thousands of education and training providers all over the world use IELTS results to select their students. You can find out which institutions accept IELTS scores on the IELTS website.
  • IELTS Academic may also be a requirement for those applying for professional registration. Many professional registration bodies and employers rely on IELTS as evidence of English language proficiency.
  • IELTS General Training is for those applying for secondary education, training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in a wide variety of social and workplace contexts. 

What does IELTS assess?

Both versions of IELTS assess the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. All candidates take the same Speaking and Listening tests but the Reading and Writing sections are different. 

top-tip

Double-check which IELTS test you need to take, the Reading and Writing sections are different!

How long is the IELTS Test?

The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. You will take the first three parts on the same day, in the following order: Listening, Reading and Writing (there are no breaks between these tests). Your Speaking test will be held on either the same day or seven days before or two days after, depending on your local test centre arrangements. The IELTS Speaking test is a face-to-face test with an official IELTS examiner, you take the test by yourself. 

How can I prepare for IELTS?

We Love IELTS has preparation resources to help you achieve IELTS success, whether you are a first-time test taker or resitting the test. You may want to take a practice test to get an understanding of your current level and your strengths and weaknesses. This will also give you more information on the format of the test. You can find practice tests and materials on our website. If you are not sure which book or resource is best for you then let our Resource Finder guide you.

top-tip

Remember that everyone is different, learns differently and learns at a different pace so don’t put pressure on yourself to prepare in a short period of time.

How long will it take me to prepare for IELTS?

The length of time it takes to prepare for IELTS depends upon your level of English language proficiency and your target band score. If your English level is already at the standard needed, then you may simply need to learn about the IELTS test format and ensure that you have the exam skills needed. On the other hand, you may find that you need to work on improving your general English before you start working on IELTS specific exam skills, this can take longer.  

How is IELTS marked?

IELTS is not a pass/fail exam. It is a test to check the level of your English, IELTS is marked using a 9-band scoring system. A score of 1 shows a non-user all the way to a 9 which shows an expert user.  You can also get .5 scores for example 7.5. 

You will receive individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking, and an overall band score which is the average score of all the skills. You can find out more about how IELTS is scored on ielts.org

Qualified examiners mark your work using a fixed set of criteria. Examiners must go through extensive training to become qualified to mark test papers. Your work will be marked by more than one examiner to ensure that marks are consistent and fair no matter where you sit your IELTS test. 

What’s the difference between the paper or computer IELTS?

The paper-based test requires test takers to sit at a desk with the question and answer sheets for the Reading, Listening and Writing tests in an official IELTS test centre. Test takers will write their answers in either pen or HB-pencil. The Speaking test is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner.

The computer-delivered test requires test takers to sit the Reading, Listening and Writing tests in front of a computer with the questions presented on the screen in an official IELTS test centre. The test takers then submit their answers through the computer. The Speaking test is not on computer and is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner. You can find out where computer- delivered IELTS is currently available at: ielts.org

top-tip

Get lots of writing practice before the test - you need to build your stamina and ensure your handwriting can be read. If you are taking computer-delivered IELTS make sure you can type quickly and accurately, there is no spell check and typos will be considered spelling errors.

I hope i’ve answered some of your questions today. There’s lots of information on the IELTS test on the rest of the website. Good luck with your preparation and remember, we are here to help. 

Subscribe to our newsletter to get IELTS activities in your inbox and follow us on social.

If you have questions that we haven’t answered here, why not try our FAQs page or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram. 

Good luck with your IELTS preparation. 

Emma 

Emma Cosgrave

Emma has been teaching IELTS for 20 years. She enjoys helping people to develop both their language skills and confidence.

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