If you’re planning to study or work abroad, you may have heard of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). IELTS is one of the most popular English language proficiency tests in the world, accepted by over 10,000 organizations in 140 countries. It measures your ability to communicate in English in four areas: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
The test is designed to assess your English language skills in a way that reflects real-life situations. For example, in the speaking test, you’ll have a conversation with a certified examiner, who will ask you questions about your life and experiences. In the reading test, you’ll read passages from books, newspapers, and magazines, and answer questions about them. In the listening test, you’ll listen to recordings of conversations and lectures, and answer questions based on what you hear. And in the writing test, you’ll be asked to write essays or letters on a given topic.
Types of IELTS
This test is available in two formats: Academic and General Test.
The Academic test is suitable for those who want to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels in an English-speaking country. The test assesses your ability to understand and use complex academic language and evaluate arguments.
The General Training test is designed for individuals aspiring to work or relocate to an English-speaking country. It evaluates your proficiency in effectively communicating in both everyday scenarios and workplace environments.
The test comprises four sections:
- Writing, and
These sections collectively assess your language skills and aptitude in various practical contexts. The Listening and Speaking sections are the same for both formats, while the Reading and Writing sections differ.
The test score is based on a nine-band scale, with each band corresponding to a level of English proficiency. The higher your score, the more proficient you are in English.
Why Take IELTS?
If you are planning to study, work, or migrate to an English-speaking country, taking the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a must. Here are some reasons why:
It is widely recognized:
IELTS is accepted by universities, governments, and employers. You can prove your English language proficiency to potential recruiters or academic institutions by taking IELTS.
It assesses all language skills:
IELTS measures your ability to listen, read, write, and speak in English. This comprehensive test evaluates your language skills in a real-life context, which is crucial for succeeding in an English-speaking environment.
It offers two types of tests:
IELTS Academic is designed for those who want to study in an English-speaking university or institution, while IELTS General Training is intended for those who want to work or migrate to an English-speaking country. By choosing the right type of test, you can tailor your preparation to your specific goals.
It is fair and unbiased:
IELTS is developed by experts in language assessment and undergoes rigorous quality control procedures. This ensures that the test is reliable, valid, and fair to all test-takers, regardless of their background or nationality.
It is a valuable skill:
Even if you are not planning to study, work, or migrate to an English-speaking country, taking IELTS can still be beneficial. It can improve your English language skills, boost your confidence, and open new opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Where can IELTS take you?
If you are planning to take the IELTS exam, you might be wondering where this certification can take you. Here are some of the places where IELTS can take you:
Universities and Colleges
If you want to study abroad, IELTS is often a requirement for admission to universities and colleges in English-speaking countries such as the UK, the US, Canada, and Australia. Depending on the institution, you may need to achieve a certain score on the IELTS Academic test, which measures your proficiency in academic English.
Many employers worldwide recognize IELTS as a reliable indicator of English language proficiency. If you are applying for a job that requires English language skills, having an IELTS score can give you an edge over other candidates. In some cases, a high score on the IELTS General Training test may be a requirement for certain professions, such as nursing or teaching.
If you are planning to immigrate to an English-speaking country, you may need to take the IELTS test as part of your visa application. Governments use IELTS scores to assess your ability to communicate in English and integrate into the local community. Depending on the country and visa category, you may need to take either the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training test.
Some professional bodies, such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), require candidates to demonstrate their English language proficiency by taking the IELTS test. This is because English is often the language of business and commerce worldwide, and communicating effectively in English is essential for many professions.
Ways to take IELTS
When it comes to taking the IELTS exam, there are different ways to approach it. Here are some options to consider:
1. Paper-based test
The paper-based test is the traditional way of taking the IELTS exam. It is offered in select locations and consists of four sections: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The listening, reading, and writing sections are completed on paper, while the speaking area is conducted face-to-face with an examiner.
2. Computer-delivered test
The computer-delivered test is a newer option that is becoming increasingly popular. It is available in most locations and features the same four sections as the paper-based test. However, the listening, reading, and writing sections are completed on a computer, and the speaking section is conducted face-to-face with an examiner.
3. IELTS for UKVI
If you plan to study or work in the UK, you may need to take the IELTS for UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration). This version of the exam is designed specifically for visa purposes and has slightly different requirements than the standard IELTS exam.
4. IELTS on the computer for UKVI
Similar to the computer-delivered test, the IELTS on the computer for UKVI is a computer-based version of the exam that is designed specifically for visa purposes. It is available in select locations and features the same four sections as the standard IELTS exam.
5. IELTS Indicator
The IELTS Indicator is an online test that was introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is designed to allow test takers to take the exam from the comfort of their own homes. However, it is not accepted by all institutions and should only be used as a last resort.
Who Accepts IELTS Scores?
IELTS is recognized by universities, employers, immigration authorities, and professional bodies.
Many universities in English-speaking countries require IELTS scores as part of their admissions process. For example, universities such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford in the United States accept IELTS scores. In the United Kingdom, universities like Oxford, Cambridge, and Imperial College London also accept IELTS scores. In Canada, universities such as the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia accept IELTS scores.
Employers in English-speaking countries may also require IELTS scores as proof of your language proficiency. For example, if you want to work as a nurse in the United States, you may need to take the IELTS exam to demonstrate your English language skills. Similarly, if you want to work in Australia, you may need to take the IELTS exam to apply for a skilled worker visa.
Immigration authorities in English-speaking countries may also require IELTS scores as part of their visa application process. For example, if you want to immigrate to Canada, you may need to take the IELTS exam to demonstrate your English language proficiency. Similarly, if you want to study in the United Kingdom, you may need to take the IELTS exam to apply for a student visa.
Professional bodies in English-speaking countries may also require IELTS scores as part of their certification process. For example, if you want to become a nurse in the United Kingdom, you may need to take the IELTS exam to demonstrate your English language skills. Similarly, if you want to become a lawyer in Australia, you may need to take the IELTS exam to demonstrate your English language proficiency.
Why Test Takers Choose IELTS
If you’re considering taking an English language proficiency test, you’re probably wondering which one to choose. There are several options available, but many test takers choose IELTS for the following reasons:
1. Widely Recognized
If you take the IELTS, your results will be accepted by a wide range of institutions and employers, giving you more options for your future.
2. Two Test Formats
It is divided into Academic and General Tests. The Academic format is designed for those who want to study at a university or other higher education institution. The General Training format is designed for those who want to work, train, or study at a secondary school level or below, or for immigration purposes.
3. Fair and Reliable
IELTS is designed to be fair and reliable. The test is developed by experts in language assessment and is regularly reviewed to ensure that it remains up-to-date and relevant. The test is also marked by trained examiners who follow strict guidelines to ensure consistency and accuracy.
4. Test Security
IELTS takes test security very seriously. Measures are in place to ensure that the test is taken under strict conditions and that the results are valid and reliable. This means that you can be confident that your results accurately reflect your English language proficiency.
5. Test Availability
IELTS is available in over 140 countries, with test dates available throughout the year. This means that you can choose a test date and location that is convenient for you.
Why Organisations Accept IELTS Score
But why do organizations accept IELTS scores?
Firstly, IELTS is a reliable and well-established test. It started in 1989. The test is designed by experts in the field of language assessment and is regularly reviewed to ensure it remains up-to-date and relevant.
Secondly, IELTS is a fair and objective test. It assesses all four language skills – listening, reading, writing, and speaking – in a balanced way, and uses a variety of task types to ensure that candidates are tested on a range of abilities. The test is also marked by trained and certified examiners, who follow strict guidelines to ensure consistency and accuracy.
Finally, IELTS is a global test. It is recognized by universities, employers, immigration authorities, and professional bodies worldwide. This means that if you take the IELTS test, your score will be accepted by a wide range of organizations, making it a flexible and convenient choice for anyone who needs to prove their English language proficiency.