IELTS Exam and Training overview.

  • October 27, 2018
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The International English Language Testing System, commonly known as IELTS, is a standardized English language proficiency exam designed to assess the language skills of individuals who want to study, work, or immigrate to English-speaking countries. It is recognized and accepted by over 10,000 institutions and organizations worldwide, including universities, immigration authorities, employers, and professional bodies.

IELTS is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. The test evaluates the four key language skills necessary for communication: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

Why Take The IELTS Exam?

IELTS holds immense importance globally for several reasons. It is crucial for students seeking to study abroad, as universities often require IELTS scores for admission. Additionally, many employers demand IELTS scores from job applicants to ensure effective workplace communication.

Governments of English-speaking countries use IELTS scores as part of immigration and visa applications. The test’s wide recognition by institutions and organizations worldwide makes it a preferred language assessment tool. Moreover, achieving a good IELTS score enhances personal language development, enabling better communication in a globalized world.

The certification obtained from IELTS can be advantageous for scholarships, internships, and professional opportunities. Lastly, the fair and standardized evaluation process ensures an unbiased measure of language proficiency, making IELTS a reliable and accessible choice for language testing.

The exam is available in two versions: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.

  1. IELTS Academic: This version is suitable for individuals applying to study at universities and other higher education institutions in English-speaking countries. It assesses the language abilities needed for academic purposes, such as lectures, seminars, research, and academic writing.
  2. IELTS General Training: This version is designed for individuals seeking to migrate to English-speaking countries for work experience, training programs, secondary education, or immigration purposes. It evaluates everyday language skills for social and workplace contexts.

IELTS Scoring and Bands

IELTS scoring is based on a nine-band scale, with each band representing a different level of English proficiency. Below is a table explaining the IELTS scoring system:

IELTS Score and Band - bafel
IELTs Exam Format -

IELTS Test Format

The IELTS test is a comprehensive assessment that evaluates the four key language skills essential for successful communication in English: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

  1. Listening: This component assesses a candidate’s ability to understand spoken English in different contexts. Test-takers listen to a range of audio recordings, such as conversations, lectures, and monologues. The test challenges them to extract relevant information, grasp main ideas, and identify specific details accurately. Active listening skills are crucial to follow the audio closely and respond to questions effectively. The duration of the IELTS Listening Test is approximately 30 minutes, including the time provided for transferring answers to the answer sheet.


  • Reading: The reading section evaluates a candidate’s proficiency in comprehending written English. Test-takers encounter diverse texts, including academic articles, newspaper articles, and general interest passages. They must read these texts and answer questions that require them to grasp the main message, infer meaning, and analyze the information presented. Strong reading skills enable candidates to navigate through complex texts efficiently and find answers with precision. The IELTS Reading Test lasts for 60 minutes.


  • Writing: In this segment, candidates demonstrate their ability to communicate in written English. The writing section includes two tasks. Task 1 (for Academic) requires candidates to interpret visual information, such as graphs or charts, and present the data in a structured manner. For General Training candidates, Task 1 involves writing a formal letter. Task 2 is common for both versions, where candidates must write an essay on a given topic. Strong writing skills involve organizing thoughts logically, using appropriate vocabulary and grammar, and presenting coherent arguments. The IELTS Writing Test lasts for 60 minutes.


  • Speaking: The speaking component assesses a candidate’s ability to communicate orally in English. It consists of a face-to-face interview with an examiner. The test is divided into three parts: an introduction and interview, a short speech on a given topic, and a discussion. Candidates are evaluated based on their fluency, coherence, lexical resource, grammatical range, and pronunciation. Confidence and the ability to express ideas clearly are vital for success in this section. The IELTS Speaking Test typically lasts for 11-14 minutes.

IELTS Eligibility

There are no specific eligibility criteria for IELTS. Anyone above the age of 16 can take the test, regardless of educational background or English proficiency level. Candidates can choose between IELTS Academic or General Training based on their goals. Preparation is recommended for better results, and IELTS scores are typically valid for two years.

Mode of IELTS Exam

There are two modes of the IELTS exam:

  • Paper-based IELTS (PBT): In this traditional mode, test-takers receive physical question booklets and answer sheets. The Listening, Reading, and Writing sections are completed using paper materials, and the Speaking section is conducted face-to-face with an examiner.
  • Computer-delivered IELTS (CD IELTS): In this mode, the Listening, Reading, and Writing sections are taken on a computer. Test-takers interact with the test questions on a computer screen and input their answers using a keyboard. The Speaking section is still conducted face-to-face with an examiner.

Is IELTS fee refundable?

Contact your test center to cancel or postpone the IELTS test. Over 5 weeks before the test,  you will receive a refund less a 25% administrative fee. Within 5 weeks, full fee unless for serious medical reasons. Medical certificate within 5 days gets a refund with local admin cost deducted.

What can I do if I am absent or sick on the day of my IELTS test?

If you have a serious medical condition and can’t attend the IELTS test, provide a medical certificate within 5 days of your test date to get a refund minus the local administrative cost. If you are absent without prior notice, you will lose the full test fee.

Can I retake IELTS writing only?

Yes, you can retake a specific part of the IELTS test, such as the Writing, Reading, Listening, or Speaking section, without retaking the entire exam.

Do IELTS have negative marking?

No, IELTS does not have negative marking.

Can I pass IELTS first attempt?

Yes, it is possible to pass the IELTS exam on your first attempt with adequate preparation and practice.

What happens if I fail IELTS exam?

The IELTS exam can be retaken multiple times until you achieve a passing score. However, each attempt requires a new payment of the exam fee.

Can I complete IELTS in 3 months?

Yes, it is possible to prepare for and complete the IELTS exam within 3 months with dedicated and consistent study.