IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is for people who are intending to study/work in countries where English is the language for communication. IELTS is accepted by universities in USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada and by all the major educational institutions across the world. In numbers, it is accepted by more than 6000 institutions in 135 countries approximately.
IELTS is jointly managed by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, British Council, and IDP: IELTS Australia. IELTS test has become mandatory test for students of various nationalities to get student visas to Australia. If the student is aspiring to study abroad via IELTS and is an inhabitant of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc. then having an IELTS score is a must to get an Australian student visa.
All other destinations either require you to take the TOEFL or IELTS. IELTS is however not accepted by most universities in USA.
IELTS Test is conducted by the British Council. The location of your nearest test center can be known by contacting British council office. Usually most of the centers have the testing session about once a month. You can collect the IELTS kit comprising IELTS handbook and an application form with the date of the next test from the test center. Once you have filled the IELTS application form with the IELTS test fee at the test center, you will be given a date and time of your test.
The test has different sections:
- The Listening Section – Duration: 30 minutes
- Academic reading/general training reading section – Duration: 60 minutes
- Academic writing/general training writing section – Duration: 60 minutes
- Speaking Section – Duration: 11 – 14 minutes
- Total test time: 2 hours and 45 minutes
The test results are normally made available within two weeks of taking the test. You can also ask for more copies of your test results.
You will receive a separate Band Score. The four Band Scores, one for each section are added together and averaged for an Overall Band Score. Each Band has a statement giving a summary of the English at that level. There are nine Band levels, from one (non-user) to nine (expert user).
The minimum score accepted for a course ranges from 5.0 to 7.5, depending upon courses and institutes you are applying to. The most common requirement is a band score of 6 to 6.5.
Test Reports have a validity of two years.
You can retake the test if you donot achieve the desired score but not before three months of the first test date.