What is IELTS ?


IELTS is an English language exam that is required to be taken by international candidates considering studying or working in a country where English is the main language of communication. The full form of IELTS is International English Language Testing System. Most popular countries where IELTS is accepted for university admissions are UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA & Canada. The exam mainly measures the ability of test-takers to communicate in the four basic language skills – listening, reading, speaking, and writing.

Often international students are confused between choosing IELTS or TOEFL, as universities abroad ask for either exam scores. It is up to you as a test taker to decide which of the two exams to take, but remember that IELTS is more preferred in UK, Australia, and New Zealand, while TOEFL is popular among applicants to universities in US and Canada. 

A lot of students get confused about why are the IELTS scores required. The simple answer to this is that foreign universities and visa granting authorities need to be sure that you will not have communication issues while staying in the country. You need to show a good understanding and strong command of the English language and that is why your overall IELTS scores are so important. Another common doubt students have is whether IELTS is a compulsory exam or not. No, IELTS isn’t compulsory in all university admissions. Many universities might even not even require IELTS scores for admission purposes. But remember that if you don’t give IELTS, your chances of getting the student visa might suffer as the visa officers may not be convinced about your English proficiency without IELTS scores. So it is safer to appear for IELTS and aim to score at least 6 bands overall. 


You can take IELTS exam with the British Council or IDP up to once a week (four times a month). The British Council and IDP global schedule for test dates are 48 days per year.


IELTS Eligibility Criteria

IELTS or International English Language Testing System assesses the student’s abilities in all four skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking of the English language in under three hours. Students are required to be above 16 years of age to be able to appear for the IELTS Exam. Students who are applying to study in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia are required to appear for the exam. Medical professionals who are planning to work or pursue further studies in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia are required to take the test. Candidates who are planning to settle down permanently in Canada, Australia or New Zealand are also required to take the test.


Types of IELTS

There are two types of IELTS exam: IELTS Academic and IELTS General. IELTS Academic is for candidates who are interested in applying for higher education or professional registration to countries that use English as their fundamental language of communication. IELTS General Training is for aspirants who are looking to migrate to New Zealand, Australia, Canada, US and the UK or applying for secondary education, training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment. Read more on IELTS Academic vs IELTS General


IELTS Exam Fees

The registration fee for IELTS is Rs. 12, 650


Latest News for IELTS 2019

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) based out of the United Kingdom has recently announced changes to its IELTS requirements for nurses and midwives who wish to work in the United Kingdom. Earlier, all nurses were required to score 7.0 (out of 9) in each of the 4 papers (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking) in the IELTS Academic English test in 1 sitting in order to satisfy NMC criteria. However, under the new changes, 7.0 is still required in the 4 Academic IELTS papers, but can now be taken from 2 separate tests, as long as they are within 6 months of each other, and the test-taker scores a minimum 6.5 in all papers. This means a nurse can score 7.0 in 2 papers in 1 test and then 7.0 in the other 2 papers in a subsequent test.


IELTS Exam Pattern

IELTS Syllabus includes four sections - Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. You get marked on these four sections and you get the IELTS total score as well. The total score is the sum of the scores in the four skill areas.

The total test duration is 2 hours and 45 minutes


IELTS Syllabus 2019

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) generally has two formats- IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. You can opt for either one of them depending upon your requirement or the university/ course you will be applying to.

IELTS Academic is preferred by universities where you are applying for an undergraduate or postgraduate programme or by any professional organization that asks for English language proficiency scores.


 

A lot of students get confused about why are the IELTS scores required. The simple answer to this is that foreign universities and visa granting authorities need to be sure that you will not have communication issues while staying in the country. You need to show a good understanding and strong command of the English language and that is why your overall IELTS scores are so important. Another common doubt students have is whether IELTS is a compulsory exam or not. No, IELTS isn’t compulsory in all university admissions. Many universities might even not even require IELTS scores for admission purposes. But remember that if you don’t give IELTS, your chances of getting the student visa might suffer as the visa officers may not be convinced about your English proficiency without IELTS scores. So it is safer to appear for IELTS and aim to score at least 6 bands overall. 


IELTS Exam Reading Pattern

Academic

This includes three long paragraphs which can be either descriptive, factual or analytical. These paragraphs are basically excerpts taken from newspapers, research works, journals, books, or even magazine. Targeting a non-specialist audience, the texts are ideal for testing higher education aspirants or for professionals seeking work abroad.


General Training

Similar to the academic format, here the excerpts can be passages from advertisements, company guidelines, brochures, and so on. This is relatively easier than the academic format as the selected text are generally something that one encounters on a day-to-day basis.


Writing: Candidates take academic writing module. Responses to the academic writing module are short essays or general reports, addressed to an educated non-specialist audience. There are two compulsory tasks. Task 1 requires 150 words, and candidates are asked to look at a diagram, table or data and to present the information in their own words. Task 2 requires at least 250 words, and all candidates are presented with a point of view, argument or problem and asked to provide general factual information, present a solution, justify an opinion, evaluate ideas and evidence etc.


Total no. of questions: 2

Total time: 60 minutes 


IELTS Exam Writing Pattern

Academic

It includes two tasks wherein the topics are of general interest and relatable for candidates applying for an undergraduate or postgraduate programme.

For your first task, you will be handed a paper which would contain either a diagram, table or graph. You will be required to recapitulate and define the given data in your own words. You may be asked to explain a certain data entry, process the given information or a flowchart to logically arrive at a conclusion.In the next task, you need to write an essay as a response to your deduction from the given data and support your argument with relevant examples, through the given data. Please note that the writing style should be strictly formal.


General Training

It also includes two tasks, yet, it is much easier than that of the academic format.

You will be asked to write a letter as per the given situation. The letter can be formal, semi-formal or personal depending upon the situation presented. You will be asked to explain, request for something or support your argument to a certain authority.Based on the above viewpoint, you will be asked to draft an essay on the same. The arguments and opinions mentioned here should be supported by relevant instances and the writing style can be a bit personal.

IELTS Syllabus 2019

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) generally has two formats- IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. You can opt for either one of them depending upon your requirement or the university/ course you will be applying to.

IELTS Academic is preferred by universities where you are applying for an undergraduate or postgraduate programme or by any professional organization that asks for English language proficiency scores.

Also read: IELTS Practice Test 

On the other hand, people opt for IELTS General Training when they plan on relocating to another country or move to a new country on a work-visa or for work-related training.

Here is the IELTS exam syllabus covering writing syllabus, reading syllabus, listening syllabus, and speaking syllabus

IELTS Syllabus 2019

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) generally has two formats- IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. You can opt for either one of them depending upon your requirement or the university/ course you will be applying to.

IELTS Academic is preferred by universities where you are applying for an undergraduate or postgraduate programme or by any professional organization that asks for English language proficiency scores.

Also read: IELTS Practice Test 

On the other hand, people opt for IELTS General Training when they plan on relocating to another country or move to a new country on a work-visa or for work-related training.

Here is the IELTS exam syllabus covering writing syllabus, reading syllabus, listening syllabus, and speaking syllabus

IELTS Results and Scores

After the completion of your IELTS exam, you will receive IELTS scores for each for the four sections on a band of 1 – 9. Along with that, you will also get an overall band score. See the scoring pattern below to understand how your IELTS score will be calculated.

Band

Skill Level

Meaning

Band 9

Expert user

Has fully operational command of the language

Band 8

Very good user

Fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies

Band 7

Good user

Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies and misunderstandings in some situations

Band 6

Competent user

Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations

Band 5

Modest user

Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes

Band 4

Limited user

Have frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language

Band 3

Extremely limited user

Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns occur in communication

Band 2

Intermittent user

Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English

Band 1

Non-user

Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words

Band 0

Did not attempt the test

No assessable information provided

 

To calculate your IELTS score you just need to simply take out the mean (average) of all the sections’ score, namely, Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. That is the sum of all the scores divided by four. If average comes out in a decimal point, then it will be rounded off to the nearest half or whole band. For instance, if the average comes out in .25, then it is rounded up to the next half band. So, in this case, if your average score is 6.25, then the final score will be counted as 6.5. In other cases where the average is .75, then it will be rounded off to the next whole band. Therefore, if you get a 6.75 band, the final score will be taken as 7.

IELTS tips

Refer to the following IELTS guides and preparation books to help create a study plan –

Road to IELTS: e-learning and online practice assessment - With over 100 hours of interactive activities, advice videos from British Council experts, hints and tips on question types as well as downloadable practice tests, it is an up-to-date online study material which is aimed precisely at the challenges candidates face.

The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS - This guide is packed with the advice you need to achieve your desired band in IELTS exam. Practical and easy to use, it focusses on the language and skills you need to perform with confidence.

IELTS preparation material free download by IDP – This pack is called the IELTS Essentials Pack by IDP. It includes examiner-approved IELTS test preparation tips which are best suited for your test, prepare for IELTS checklist to help you organize your IELTS journey and detailed information on what to expect on test day.

 

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