International English Language Testing System

IELTS is an internationally accepted English language proficiency test designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work, where English is used as the language  of communication. IELTS stands for the “International English Language Testing System” . It is recognized by various immigration authorities, governments of various countries, universities, and institutes as an eligibility criterion.A candidate appearing for an IELTS exam must have passed senior secondary school. The minimum age requirement to appear for the IELTS exam is 16 years.

IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. You can choose to give IELTS in pen and paper or a computerized test depending on your convenience.

The IELTS has two versions of the exam:

IELTS opens doors to studying, living, or working anywhere around the world. It accurately accesses your English language skills that are an eligibility criterion for the following:

The IELTS Academic exam is intended for people who wish to pursue an undergraduate or postgraduate degree from an institution that offers the curriculum in English language.

The IELTS test is evidence of English language proficiency for many visas, including skilled workers, investors, and entrepreneurs. It is a professional recognition requirement for some organizations and accrediting bodies.

The IELTS General training exam is accepted by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for immigration to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Test Pattern

The total duration for the IELTS exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes. It consists of 4 modules, namely, Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. The candidate is required to attempt each module.

  • There are a total of 40 questions in the listening module.
  • The recording for the listening module is played for 30 to 35 minutes.
  • At the end of the recording, the candidate gets 10 minutes to transfer answers on an answer sheet provided before the commencement of the module.
  • The recording is played only once.
  • The module has multiple-choice, sentence completion, short answer, and table/ chart based questions.
  • There are a total of 40 questions in the reading module as well.
  • The candidate gets 60 minutes to answer these questions.
  • The module has multiple choice, fill in the blanks, summary completion, True/False/Not Given, Yes/No/Not given, matching lists or endings, choosing a heading, and labeling a diagram, etcetera.
  • No transfer time is given at the end of the reading module to transfer the answers to the answer sheet.
  • There are two tasks in the writing module.
  • The time allotted for attempting the writing module is 60 minutes.
  • Task 1 is a report writing for the academic version while a student has to write a letter for general training version.
  • Task 2 is an essay for both the versions.
  • There are three parts to the speaking module.
  • The duration of the oral interview is 11-14 minutes.
  • The speaking module consists of one-on-one interaction with an examiner.
  • The first part consists of introductory questions; the second part consists of a cue card, while the third part consists of topic-specific discussion based on the cue card in the second part of the speaking module.

Marking Criteria

There are different marking criteria for each module. The Reading and the Listening module has 40 questions. For each correct answer, the candidate scores one mark, and the total score corresponds to a band score. For the writing module, the test taker is marked on Task Achievement, Coherence, and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range, and Accuracy. The criteria for assessing the Speaking module are Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy, Pronunciation. A band score is assigned, keeping the above marking criteria in mind for the Writing and Speaking module.

Band Scale Description

There is no pass or fail in this exam as IELTS results depend on a Nine-Band Scale. In this, each band corresponds to a specific competency in the English language. The score and its interpretation are given as follows:

9 Expert user The candidate has a fully operational command of the language with complete understanding.
8 Very good user The user makes only occasional inaccuracies, however, can handle complex argumentation well.
7 Good user Can speak fluently with the help of complex sentence structures with misunderstanding in some situations.
6 Competent user The candidate uses fairly complex sentence structures in familiar events. There is an occasional use of inappropriate vocabulary.
5 Modest user Has only partial command of the language with meaning conveyed in most of the situations.
4 Limited user Does not use complex sentences showing basic competence in familiar situations.
3 Extremely limited user Conveys and understands the general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
2 Intermittent user No real communication is possible except for the necessary information using isolated words in familiar situations to meet immediate needs.
1 Non user Essentially cannot use the language.
0 Did not attempt the test No assessable information provided.

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