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What is IELTS?







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What is the IELTS exam?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam can  be taken in over 100 different countries in the world. It is primarily designed to assess the ability and preparedness of candidates who wish to study or train in further or higher education courses held in English at college or university.


How long does it take?

The IELTS exam takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete, and consists of four Sub-tests in the skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking.


How many modules are there in the IELTS exam?

Two. In most countries of the world the most important IELTS exam module is the Academic Module ? the results of which may be used to determine a candidate?s suitability for academic study at degree level in an English-speaking country.

There is also the possibility of taking the General Training Module, which is suitable for candidates wishing to migrate to an English-speaking country ? the Immigration Department of the destination country will require a certain level of English before entry is permitted. Also, the General Training Module is used for those who wish to study at an institution in an English-speaking country but at diploma level only.

The General Training Reading and Writing Sub-tests are less demanding than the corresponding Academic Module Sub-tests, but the Listening and Speaking Sub-tests are the same for both modules of the IELTS exam.


What is tested in the IELTS exam?

It does not matter what subject you are going to study in the future ? or have studied in the past ? all students taking the desired module do the same test. You will not be tested on your specific knowledge of a subject; only your English language skills are assessed.


Where can I apply to take the IELTS exam?

You can apply to take the IELTS exam at any IELTS Administration Centre. For further details of your nearest centre, consult the IELTS official website:


Where do I write the answers to the IELTS exam questions?

You may write on the question papers, but you may not take the question papers from the exam room. All your answers must be written on the Answer Sheet provided.


When do I receive the results of my IELTS exam?

You will usually receive your results within two weeks of the date of your test.


What is the pass mark in the IELTS exam?

You cannot pass or fail the IELTS exam. The university or college that you wish to enter will inform you of the overall IELTS Band Score they require for enrolment in the particular course you wish to study. Note that you may also need to achieve a minimum score in a particular Sub-test (often the Writing Sub-test).


How is the IELTS exam scored?


You will be given a mark between 0 and 9 for each of the 4 Sub-tests (there is now the possibility of overall scores with half marks given in all the Sub-tests – yes, in the Writing and Speaking Sub-tests too). Your Overall Band Score is an average of the 4 Sub-test Band Scores, with fractional scores rounding up or down to the nearest x.0 or x.5 score (with x.25 and x.75 always rounding up.)

Therefore, if you score




in the Listening Sub-test




in the Reading Sub-test




in the Writing Sub-test




in the Speaking Sub-test




Your total score is





    By averaging the scores (dividing the total score 24.5 by 4) in the example above, you would achieve an overall Band Score of 6.0 (which is 6.125 rounded down).


How long must I wait to take the IELTS exam again?

If you want to take the exam again, you do not have to wait ? you can do so at the next test sitting, and there is no limit to the number of times you can sit for the IELTS exam.

(Adapted from 101 Helpful Hints for IELTS.)