IELTS (International English Language Testing System)


Educational institutions, along with employers and government immigration agencies, require proof of English language skills as part of their recruitment or admittance procedures. Increasingly, these organisations are using IELTS.

IELTS is owned by Cambridge ESOL, the British Council and IDP: IELTS Australia. More than 700,000 people a year are now using IELTS to open doors throughout the English-speaking world and beyond. IELTS is recognised by more than 4,500 organisations in more than 120 countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. The tests are available in more than 100 countries in over 300 centres, with test dates available up to four times a month.

Academic or General Training

The IELTS tests come in two formats:

  • Academic – tests a person’s ability to study in English at undergraduate or postgraduate level

  • General Training – this module is suitable for people who are going to an English-speaking country to work or train at below undergraduate level. It is also used for immigration purposes to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The test


All candidates are tested in Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests. There is a choice between Academic and General Training in the Reading and Writing tests.

The total test time is around 2 hours 45 minutes. The first three tests – Listening, Reading and Writing – must be completed in one day. The Speaking test may be taken, at the discretion of the test centre, in the period seven days before or after the other tests.

IELTS scores

The tests are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert user. Test takers receive a score of 0—9, with 0 being for those who did not attempt the test, and 9 being for the most proficient users. Most universities accept scores between 6—7 as being suitable for undergraduate study in English.