The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication.
It uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency, from non-user (band score 1) through to expert (band score 9). IELTS is available at more than 1,100 locations worldwide and there are 48 test dates a year.
IELTS results are reported on a 9-band scale IELTS results are designed to be simple and easy to understand. They are reported as band scores on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest).
The IELTS scale
|Band score||Skill level||Description|
|9||Expert user||The test taker has fully operational command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.|
|8||Very good user||The test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.|
|7||Good user||The test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.|
|6||Competent user||The test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.|
|5||Modest user||The test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes. They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.|
|4||Limited user||The test taker’s basic competence is limited to familiar situations. They frequently show problems in understanding and expression. They are not able to use complex language.|
|3||Extremely limited user||The test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.|
|2||Intermittent user||The test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.|
|1||Non-user||The test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.|
|0||Did not attempt the test||The test taker did not answer the questions.|
Calculating the overall band scoreA score is given for each test component – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. These individual scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an overall band score. IELTS results are valid up to 2-year.
There are two types of the IELTS test:
Academic – For people applying for higher education or professional registration.
General Training - For those migrating to Australia, Canada and the UK, or applying for secondary education, training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment.
Both versions provide a valid and accurate assessment of the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
The IELTS test assesses your abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking – in less than three hours.
The Listening, Reading and Writing components of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them.
The Speaking component, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. Your test centre will advise.
The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Test Format – Listening (30 minutes)
You will listen to four recordings of native English speakers and then write your answers to a series of questions.
- Recording 1 – a conversation between two people set in an everyday social context.
- Recording 2 – a monologue set in an everyday social context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
- Recording 3 – a conversation between up to four people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing an assignment.
- Recording 4 – a monologue on an academic subject, e.g. a university lecture.
Assessors will be looking for evidence of your ability to understand the main ideas and detailed factual information, the opinions and attitudes of speakers, the purpose of an utterance and evidence of your ability to follow the development of ideas.
Test Format – Reading (60 minutes)
The Reading component consists of 40 questions, designed to test a wide range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose.
IELTS Academic Test – This includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. These are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been selected for a non-specialist audience but are appropriate for people entering university courses or seeking professional registration.
IELTS General Training Test – This includes extracts from books, magazines, newspapers, notices, advertisements, company handbooks and guidelines. These are materials you are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking environment.
Test Format – Academic Writing (60 minutes)
IELTS Academic Test
Topics are of general interest to, and suitable for, test takers entering undergraduate and postgraduate studies or seeking professional registration. There are two tasks:
- Task 1 – you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. You may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
- Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be in a formal style.
IELTS General Training
Topics are of general interest. There are two tasks:
- Task 1 – you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information, or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
- Task 2 – you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be fairly personal in style.
Test Format – Speaking (11-14 minutes)
The speaking component assesses your use of spoken English. Every test is recorded.
Part 1 – The examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home, family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between four and five minutes.
Part 2 – You will be given a card which asks you to talk about a particular topic. You will have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same topic.
Part 3 – You will be asked further questions about the topic in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts between four and five minutes.
Step #1: Familiarize With Test Structure
- Example While doing the Reading Task do not read the entire passage first and try to solve the questions but just get an overview of the question types of IELTS reading test in this stage; like: sentence completion, true/false/not given, multiple choice, paragraph headings etc.
- In the same way, listening to the audio recordings of past IELTS exam is the initial stage of IELTS preparation.
- According to the British Council, “You will hear a variety of accents in Listening test.”
- That means you need to adjust with typical English accents like British, American, Canadian or Australian.
- Just listen to the IELTS listening audio recording for a month and you will not find any accent unpleasant or hard at all to understand.
- And furthermore, by going through the writing and speaking section questions, you’re building up your awareness of the type of question asked in these modules.
Step #2: Practice Makes You Perfect
- There is really no secret to success in IELTS. It is just practice and practice.
- Because you cannot master this kind of international high stake test overnight.
- One has to give it a long study time to become efficient and master this exam.
Step #3: Sharpen Up Your Skills
- Cambridge IELTS Book Series is filled with original IELTS test papers. Practicing from these books is the best recommendation.
- You cannot master the test in a short time. You will face a lot of errors first.
- Give mock test continuously until you reach your desired threshold.
- You can easily judge your performance of reading and listening section from the score. The following infographic tells you the band score of these modules for a specific number of correct answers.
IELTS Listening marking schemes
For the listening test, which contains 40 questions, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.
|Score / 40||39-40||37-38||35-36||32-34||30-31||26-29||23-25||18-22||16-17||13-15||10-12||8-10||6-7||4-5|
IELTS General Reading marking schemes
For the general reading test, which contains 40 questions, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.
|Score / 40||40||39||37-38||36||34-35||32-33||30-31||27-29||23-26||19-22||15-18||12-14||9-11||6-8|
IELTS Academic Reading marking schemes
For the academic reading test, which also contains 40 questions, but is more difficult, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.
|Score / 40||39-40||37-38||35-36||33-34||30-32||27-29||23-26||19-22||15-18||13-14||10-12||8-9||6-7||4-5|
IELTS Writing marking schemes
The two writing questions are marked out of 9 according to the following criteria:
- Task Achievement
- Coherence and Cohesion
- Lexical Resource
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy
IELTS Speaking marking schemes
The speaking test is also marked out of 9 according to the following criteria:
- Fluency and coherence
- Lexical resource
- Grammatical range and accuracy
Duration & Sessions
Private Institution : USD15000 to USD30000 (At some Universities, it could go beyond $ 40000 per year) Public Institution : USD10000 to USD20000
Note: The tuition fee is different for different universities and varies widely with courses and popularity of the Institution.