The IELTS is an abbreviation of the International English Language Testing System. Simply put, it is an examination that assesses your English language skills in terms of spoken and written English. If you wish to study or work in a country where English is the primary language of communication, mainly Anglophone countries, you need to assure the university admission officers and visa officers that you are proficient in the language.
The IELTS exam measures your skills in listening, reading, writing and speaking through two test formats, namely IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. While IELTS Academic can be taken up by those who wish to go for higher education or professional registration, IELTS General Training is for those who are looking at migrating to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. For academic and work purposes, the US also accepts the same.
The test has been designed and is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.
IELTS Eligibility Criteria
Anyone above the age of 16 years can take the IELTS test. If you wish to study, work or migrate to the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand and study or work in the US, you can take this test.
The IELTS test is divided into four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. All candidates sit the same Listening and Speaking test. However, Academic and General training candidates each sit a different Reading and Writing Test.
LISTENING TEST - 40 MINUTES
READING - 60 MINUTES
WRITING - 60 MINUTES
IELTS Eligibility Criteria
There is no fixed pass mark in IELTS. Candidates are marked on a band scale of 1-9 in each part of the test. The individual module's Band score is considered as per the requirement.
9 Expert User
8 Very Good User
7 Good User
6 Competent User
5 Modest User
4 Limited User
3 Extremely Limited User
2 Intermittent User
1 Non User
0 Did not attempt the test
There will be conversations related to everyday life and in an educational setting. Two of the recordings will be monologues on an academic subject as well as in social context.
Your answers will give away your understanding of the crux of the conversation and detailed factual information, opinions and attitudes of speakers and your ability to follow how the ideas develop in the process.
Around 15 minutes are dedicated to this section wherein the examiner will speak to you on a wide range of topics as work, family, studies, interests, etc.
You will then be given a topic and one minute to prepare to be able to speak on the topic for two minutes. The examiner will ask you more questions on the same topic.
A 60-minute test, it involves reading long texts taken from a number of sources. For IELTS Academic test takers, the text will be descriptive suitable for those wishing to appear for university courses. As for IELTS General Training, you will get to read extracts related to life in general in English speaking environments.
Based on the above, you will be required to answer 40 questions. The purpose of these tests in both the contexts is to evaluate your reading skills and how well are you able to exactly grasp the logical argument and the writers’ opinion.
For both the tests, the assessors will judge you on the basis of your ability to describe/summaries some text, argument, data, figures, graph, and the like depending on what kind of test you are taking.
You will be required to write the same in formal, semi-formal or informal style, depending on the task at hand in 60 minutes.
IELTS Exam Preparation
Passing any examination smoothly requires at least 80% preparation and the remaining 20% should come from putting the same into action. Once you have understood the format for the kind of test you’d want to take, start skimming through practice tests papers and answers.
You can take up these practice tests by factoring in the time you will be given for taking the actual tests. These are available on the IELTS website where you will also get answers to sample questions given. Separately, you can also buy IELTS self-study books and related material that are available at British Council tests centers and selected book stores across the globe. Read more on how to prepare for the IELTS exam.
Best Books For IELTS Preparation
The British Council website has a list of books with brief description that you could refer to while preparing for your IELTS exam. Likewise, if you know any people who have taken the IELTS before you, they can also refer some useful books to you. The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS is one top recommendation by many. It comes with a DVD and has questions for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Another is the IELTS Cambridge Practice Tests Series.
There are several books available online, but if you must buy books and study then rely first on those produced by source, i.e. the British Council, Cambridge IELTS books and the like. For more details on which books to buy, here’s a list of the Best IELTS Books.
Free Online IELTS Study Materials
Thanks to the internet, you have loads of free study material for IELTS preparation available on your fingertips. There are YouTube videos that are especially useful for speaking and listening tests.
The British Council also has an online preparation course designed by its IELTS experts (here’s the link) , but you need to register with them to be able to access it. There are three versions of it, test drive, last minute and full version. See what suits your needs the best.
IELTS Test Centres In India
In India, the British Council and IDP facilitate test centers for candidates. The British Council offers tests in 42 locations across the country, while IDP has presence in 40 cities, including Thimphu in Bhutan.
Once you register on their sites for the exam, you will be asked to select your city and date on which you wish to take the test. Five days prior to your scheduled test date, you will get venue details on email.
IELTS Exam Results: When And How They Are Obtained
Once you take the test, your results will be available 13 days after that in the form of a test report form. These will also be available online or if possible for the test centre, you can also get a preview by SMS alert.
The results will be posted to you. You cannot, however, expect results on phone or fax. Check with your centre if you can collect the results in person. Keep the test report form safe with you. No replacements are given.
Further Details Go Through The Following Website:
Note: Candidates may sit the IELTS test as many times as they wish. When the question is English language ability - IELTS is the answer.