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IELTS

TheA�International English Language Testing System orA�IELTS is an internationalA�standardized testA�ofA�English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is jointly managed by theA�British Council,A�IDP: IELTS AustraliaA�andA�Cambridge English Language Assessment and was established in 1989. IELTS is one of the major English-language tests in the world, others being theA�TOEFL,A�TOEIC,A�PTE:AA�and OPI/OPIc.

IELTS is accepted by mostA�Australian,A�British,A�CanadianA�andA�New ZealandA�academic institutions, by over 3,000 academic institutions in theA�United States, and by various professional organisations across the world.

IELTS is the only Secure English Language Test approved byA�UK Visas and ImmigrationA�(UKVI) for visa customers applying both outside and inside the UK. It is also a requirement forA�immigration to AustraliaA�and New Zealand. In Canada, IELTS,A�TEF, orA�CELPIPare accepted by the immigration authority.

No minimum score is required to pass the test. An IELTS result orA�Test Report FormA�is issued to all test takers with a score from “band 1” (“non-user”) to “band 9” (“expert user”) and each institution sets a different threshold. There is also a “band 0” score for those who did not attempt the test. Institutions are advised not to consider a report older than two years to be valid, unless the user proves that they have worked to maintain their level,

In 2016, 3 million tests were taken in more than 140 countries, up from 2 million tests in 2012, 1.7 million tests in 2011 and 1.4 million tests in 2009. In 2007, IELTS administered more than one million tests in a single 12-month period for the first time ever, making it the world's most popular English language test for higher education and immigration.7

IELTS test structure

Modules

There are two modules of the IELTS:

  • Academic ModuleA�and
  • General Training Module

There is also a separate test offered by the IELTS test partners, calledA�IELTS Life Skills:

  • IELTS Academic is intended for those who want to enroll inA�universitiesA�and other institutions ofA�higher educationA�and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study or practise in an English-speaking country.
  • IELTS General Training is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gainA�work experience, or forA�immigrationA�purposes.
  • IELTS Life SkillsA�is intended for those who need to prove their English speaking and listening skills atA�Common European Framework of Reference for LanguagesA�(CEFR) levels A1 or B1 and can be used to apply for a a�?family of a settled persona�� visa, indefinite leave to remain or citizenship in the UK.

The IELTS test has four parts

  • Listening: 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes' transfer time)
  • Reading: 60 minutes
  • Writing: 60 minutes
  • Speaking: 11a��14 minutes

The test total time is:A�2 hours and 55 minutes.

Listening, Reading and Writing are completed in one sitting. The Speaking test may be taken on the same day or up to seven days before or after the other tests.

All test takers take the same Listening and Speaking tests, while the Reading and Writing tests differ depending on whether the test taker is taking theA�AcademicA�orA�General TrainingA�versions of the test.

Listening

The module comprises four sections, with ten questions in each section. It takes 40 minutes: 30 – for testing, plus 10 for transferring the answers to an answer sheet.

Sections 1 and 2 are about everyday, social situations.

  • Section 1 has a conversation between two speakers (for example, a conversation about travel arrangements)
  • Section 2 has one person speaking (for example, a speech about local facilities).

Sections 3 and 4 are about educational and training situations

  • Section 3 is a conversation between two main speakers (for example, a discussion between two university students, perhaps guided by a tutor)
  • Section 4 has one person speaking about an academic subject.

Each section begins with a short introduction telling the test taker about the situation and the speakers. Then they have some time to look through the questions. The questions are in the same order as the information in the recording, so the answer to the first question will be before the answer to the second question, and so on.A�The first three sections have a break in the middle allowing test takers to look at the remaining questions. Each section is heard only once.

At the end of the test students are given 10 minutes to transfer their answers to an answer sheet.Test takers will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar.

Reading

The Reading paper has three sections and texts totaling 2,150-2,750 words. There will be a variety of question types, such as multiple choice, short-answer questions, identifying information, identifying writera��s views, labeling diagrams, completing a summary using words taken from the text and matching information/headings/features in the text/sentence endings. Test takers should be careful when writing down their answers as they will lose marks for incorrect spelling and grammar.

Texts in IELTS Academic

  • Three reading texts, which come from books, journals, magazines, newspapers and online resources written for non-specialist audiences. All the topics are of general interest to students at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

Texts in IELTS General Training

  • Section 1 contains two or three short texts or several shorter texts, which deal with everyday topics. For example, timetables or notices a�� things a person would need to understand when living in an English-speaking country.
  • Section 2 contains two texts, which deal with work. For example, job descriptions, contracts, training materials.
  • Section 3 contains one long text about a topic of general interest. The text is generally descriptive, longer and more complex than the texts in Sections 1 and 2. The text will be taken from a newspaper, magazine, book or online resource.

Writing

The Writing paper has two tasks which must both be completed. In task 1 test takers write at least 150 words in about 20 minutes. In task 2 test takers write at least 250 words in about 40 minutes. Test takers will be penalised if their answer is too short or does not relate to the topic. Answers should be written in full sentences (test takers must not use notes or bullet points).

IELTS Academic

  • Task 1: test takers describe a graph, table, chart or diagram in their own words.
  • Task 2: test takers discuss a point of view, argument or problem. Depending on the task, test takers may be required to present a solution to a problem, present and justify an opinion, compare and contrast evidence, opinions and implications, and evaluate and challenge ideas, evidence or an argument.

IELTS General Training

  • Task 1: test takers write a letter in response to a given everyday situation. For example, writing to an accommodation officer about problems with your accommodation, writing to a new employer about problems managing your time, writing to a local newspaper about a plan to develop a local airport.
  • Task 2: test takers write an essay about a topic of general interests. For example, whether smoking should be banned in public places, whether childrena��s leisure activities should be educational, how environmental problems can be solved.

Speaking

The speaking test is a face-to-face interview between the test taker and an examiner.

The speaking test contains three sections.

  • Section 1: introduction and interview (4a��5 minutes). Test takers may be asked about their home, family, work, studies, hobbies, interests, reasons for taking IELTS exam as well as other general topics such as clothing, free time, computers and the internet.
  • Section 2: long turn (3a��4 minutes). Test takers are given a task card about a particular topic. Test takers have one minute to prepare to talk about this topic. The task card states the points that should be included in the talk and one aspect of the topic which must be explained during the talk. Test takers are then expected to talk about the topic for 2 minutes, after which the examiner may ask one or two questions.
  • Section 3: discussions (4a��5 minutes). The third section involves a discussion between the examiner and the test taker, generally on questions relating to the theme which they have already spoken about in Section 2.

Scoring

Test takers receive a score for each test component a�� Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The individual scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an Overall Band Score.

Band scale

There is no pass or fail.A�IELTS is scored on a nine-band scale, with each band corresponding to a specified competence in English. Overall Band Scores are reported to the nearest half band.

The following rounding convention applies: if the average across the four skills ends in .25, it is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in 5.75, it is rounded up to the next whole band.

The nine bands are described as follows:

9 Expert User Has full operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
8 Very Good User Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
7 Good User Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriateness and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
6 Competent User Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 Modest user Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
4 Limited User Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
3 Extremely Limited User Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
2 Intermittent User No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1 Non User Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
0 Did not attempt the test No assessable information provided at all.

Conversion table

This table can be used to convert raw scores (out of 40) to band scores (out of 9). This helps test takers understand how many correct answers they need to achieve a particular band score. This chart is a guide only because sometimes the scores adjust slightly depending on how difficult the test is.

Band Score 9.0 8.5 8.0 7.5 7.0 6.5 6.0 5.5 5.0 4.5 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5
Listening raw score (Academic and General Training) 39a��40 37a��38 35a��36 32a��34 30a��31 26a��29 23a��25 18a��22 16a��17 13a��15 10a��12 8a��9 6a��7 4a��5
Reading raw score (Academic) 39a��40 37a��38 35a��36 33a��34 30a��32 27a��29 23a��26 19a��22 15a��18 13a��14 10a��12 8a��9 6a��7 4a��5
Reading raw score (General Training) 40 39 37a��38 36 34a��35 32a��33 30a��31 27a��29 23a��26 19a��22 15a��18 12a��14 9a��11 6a��8

Results

A Test Report Form is posted to test takers 13 days after their test. It shows:

  • An Overall Band Score (from 1-9)
  • A band score (from 1-9) for each section of the test (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking)
  • Whether IELTS Academic or General Training was completed
  • The test takera��s photo, nationality, first language and date of birth.

Test takers receive one copy of their Test Report Form, apart from test takers who are applying to theA�Department of Citizenship and Immigration CanadaA�(CIC) orA�UK Visas and ImmigrationA�(UKVI) who receive two copies.

Test Report Forms are valid for two years.

Locations and test dates

Test takers can take IELTS in more than 140 countries and in over 1,000 locations.

There are up to 48 test dates available per year. Each test centre offers tests up to four times a month depending on local demand. The Academic version is available on all 48 dates per year and the General Training version is available on 24 dates.

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Get in Touch

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Phone: +977 1 4104336
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Email: info@vedinternational.com

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