IELTS stand for ‘International English Language Test Systems’. It is the ideal testing system that is designed to assess your language ability if you wish to work or study in a nation where English is the language of communication. Your IELTS scores are accepted by the universities and employers in many countries. Many foreign colleges, immigration authorities, and professional bodies recognize IELTS scores for admissions and employment.

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Taken by whom? IELTS Academic test is generally taken by students who are planning to pursue higher education in foreign universities. It is used as an entrance test at universities and alumnus or post-graduate schools. IELTS General can be taken by people who are seeking employment in other countries. It is the preferred test for work visa or immigration purposes [more specifically to the nations such as the UK and Canada].
Tests consist of: Both IELTS and TOEFL are split into four sections—Writing, Listening, Speaking, and Reading—but each skill is assessed differently by the two tests.
Test Format: Speaking In IELTS test you will get to talk to a real person which will feel more like a conversation. The test is divided further in two parts. In the first part, you are given a topic on home, studies, and job etc and in 1 minute, you will have to prepare a monologue. In the second part, you are asked questions on topic you spoke about in part 1. The entire test lasts for 15 minutes.
Writing IELTS test has 2 set of writing papers: Academic—This is preferred by students who aspire to get an admission in foreign universities and colleges. You will have to write a short essay about the given graph, chart, map, or process.   General Training—This must be taken by people seeking immigration visas. This paper requires you to write a letter for the given task in the first part and write a short essay on the given topic in the second part.
Listening This is 30 minutes long and is in half academic and half social context.   It includes sentence completion, matching headings and True, False or Not Given type questions.   IELTS can be in any accent from countries like Ireland, Wales, Scotland, the USA, Canada and Australia.
Reading It has a wide range of question types.   With this you can choose between Academic and General Training.
Duration 2 hours 45 minutes
Marking Each section is marked with a band from 0-9 (from these section scores, an overall 0-9 band is awarded).

IELTS Scoring

IELTS scores are valid until two years after the date you take the exam on.

The scoring for IELTS is a combination of scores from the main four sections which are certainly Speaking, Writing, Listening, and Reading. You are awarded band score for each section and then, an overall band score. Each section is scored on the band of 1 to 9. You can score whole (for example 5.0, 6.0, or 7.0) or half (for example 5.5, 6.5, or 7.5) bands in each section of the test.

The four section scoring of the IELTS are divided as the following:

Section Score Range Mean*
Listening 1-9 6.2
Reading 1-9 5.8
Writing 1-9 5.6
Speaking 1-9 5.8
Total 0-9 5.9

The IELTS 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).
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.

The test scores for both the tests are posted online within 10 days after the test date. ETS also send up to four official score reports directly to the institutions that the student selects.

IELTS Test Pattern 2018

The syllabus of IELTS include four sections—Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. You are scored at each section as well as for the whole Test. Your IELTS score is the sum of all the four scores.

The test pattern is as follows:

Section Duration IELTS Academic
Reading 60 minutes It includes three long passages that range from descriptive to factual to discursive. The text for the passages is taken from books, journals, or newspapers. You are assessed based on how good you are at analyzing non-verbal elements such as diagrams, graphs, and illustrations.
Listening 30 minutes The Listening section includes recorded monologues and conversations.
Writing 60 minutes Within this section you are expected to write at least 150 words about specific topic. You are given a short essay or table or graph or chart or diagram and are asked to summarize it.
Speaking 11-14 minutes This section includes face-to-face interview that assesses you on the basis of how spontaneous you are at answering short questions and speaking about a familiar topic.

For the first three sections, you must appear at once whereas the Speaking section can be arranged separately on the same day or up to seven days before or after you have appeared for the first three sections.

IELTS Exam dates in 2018 – 2019

IELTS Exam dates IELTS Registration Fee
The exam dates for IELTS are scheduled for 48 days every year. You have complete flexibility of choosing any date that is convenient for you. However, the exam date that you can choose has to be at least three to four months before the date of expiry of your application. The registration fee for IELTS is INR 11,300.
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