What Is IELTS? Know all the Relevant Details

    Updated on: 11 Aug 2022


     

    IELTS or the International English Language Testing System is one of the world's most reputed tests for studying, working, and migrating to a country abroad. It helps students and professionals in getting admissions and jobs respectively. We all dream about a great life abroad wherein the living standard to per capita income is way more than that of India. It opens the floodgate of opportunities, and you can touch the zenith of success by studying and working at the world’s most reputed institutions and organisations. It helps students scale up their prospects of getting better job opportunities, and in a later course of time students can also get a permanent residency or citizenship in a developed country. 

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    By taking the IELTS exam students can go to English speaking countries like Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc. One of the best things about the test is that it is structured in a way that puts all the test takers on a similar footing. Irrespective of your country or area of study, the test will be equally challenging for everyone. The IELTS test has been conducted for the last three decades which makes it one of the most reliable tests for countries to accept international students, professionals planning to work or individuals planning to migrate to predominantly English speaking countries. 

    What is the IELTS exam format?

    Sections

    Details

    Timings

     Total Number Of Questions 

     Listening Test 

    Listen to four recordings and answer the questions based on them.
    The recordings will be in a native English accent.

    30 min

    40

    Reading Test

    Three reading passages, and tasks based on that.
    Assess your reading skills through gist, main ideas, skimming, logical arguments, etc.
    The writer’s intention and opinion has to be understood by reading.

    60 min

    40

    Writing Test

    Writing task of at least 150 words.
    Summary, description, and explanation of tables, diagrams, graphs, etc.
    Short essay of at least 250 words.

    60 min

    2

    Speaking

    The test is conducted in three parts.
     Three parts include speaking at a particular topic, structured discussion, and short questions. 

    11-14 min

    3

     

    The first question that comes into an aspirant’s mind is, “What is IELTS?”. The test format for IELTS is pretty simple, and it has four sections namely Listening, Reading, Writing, and speaking. So, in a nutshell, the test format is structured to assess the communication skills of an individual. It helps the authorities in ascertaining that the individual will be able to communicate properly since it is at the core of living in a society.

    Listening, Reading and Writing tests will be taken on one day, and the speaking test can be scheduled online on the date and time of your preference. One must choose the slot within the stipulated time else the date of the speaking test will be automatically booked. The time allotted for the test is three hours, and students must practice enough to complete all the sections on time.

    What are Different Types of IELTS Tests?

    The IELTS mainly caters to students and professionals who wish to study or migrate to an English speaking country. Since the level of English required for working, and studying are different, it becomes important to understand different IELTS test types. 

    1. IELTS General Training: This test format assesses the skill of an individual that they need for daily basis communications. It is meant for those who wish to migrate to an English speaking country. 
    2. IELTS Academic: This test format is meant for students who wish to pursue higher education in an English speaking country. It is also taken by professionals who wish to work overseas. 

    What is the IELTS Course for General Training and Academic tests?

    The IELTS Syllabus is by and large similar in both the test types barring a couple of differences. The main motive behind the IELTS is to assess an individual’s ability to communicate in English. So, the test is similar but there are certain differences too. The level of English for studying at university should be certainly more than those who wish to work overseas. Even working professionals like Doctors, Nurses or anyone who is part of emergency services must have a pretty decent IELTS score than others. So, the reason for the difference in the two test types stems from its usage in different domains. 

    The IELTS has four sections: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The overall nature of the test is the same but the reading and writing section is different for Academic and General testing. Since reading and writing are an incredible part of the learning process, it becomes imperative to assess them at a higher level for students entering the university than those who are part of the workforce. The academic test contains topics that are in line with the academic requirements of universities. It helps the university and professional organisations to select a student based on their performance in the IELTS test. On the other hand, the general test contains topics that are general in nature and doesn’t necessarily have an academic touch to them. 

    As far as the other two sections viz. The listening and speaking are concerned there is no difference per se. The IELTS general and academic training sections both lay equal emphasis on the listening and speaking ability of an individual. So, you should devote time to different sections depending on the type of test you will take, and your command of the English language. 

    What are IELTS exam fees, and additional fees for Indian students?

    Type of Test

     Exam Fees (in INR) 

     Computer-based IELTS and Pen-Paper based IELTS 

    14,700

    IELTS for UK visa and immigration

    15,100

    IELTS Life Skills (A1 and B1)

    13,940

     

    There is no distinction in exam fees for Academic and General Training. Both test takers have to pay the same exam fees which is INR 14,700. This fee is for a computer-based IELTS test and other fees as mentioned in the table. The fees vary slightly for UK visas and immigration. The exam fees are slightly less for IELTS life skills. There is no distinction between fees for pen-paper and computer-based IELTS. Let’s see other fees which you might have to pay under certain circumstances. 

    IELTS Cancellation Fee

    You can get a refund in case you don’t wish to take the test on the original test date. There is a cancellation fee which you have to pay, and the rest of the fee will be refunded. The cost of the cancellation fee is pegged at 25% if you are cancelling the test more than five weeks before the original test date. Out of the total fee paid, 25% will be deducted, and the rest 75% will be refunded. However, there will be no refund if the test is cancelled less than five weeks before the original test date. If you don’t appear on the test date, the candidature stands cancelled, and there will be no refund in that case too. There is an exception for absentees if they are able to produce a medical certificate that clearly states their illness thus substantiating the reason for not being present on the test date. In this case, 25% fee is deducted, and the rest is refunded. 

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    IELTS Rescheduling Fee

    There are instances wherein a student is not able to take the test on the original date, and wish to postpone the test date. IELTS test can be rescheduled on payment of INR 3,300 as rescheduling charges. It must be ensured that the new test date must be within three months of the original test date. 

    What’s the process of IELTS Exam registration?

    The registration process in the IELTS test is pretty simple, and one needs to keep their passport handy as the passport number is required at the time of registration. Follow these steps to complete the registration process:

    • Visit the official website of IDP. 
    • Create an account to start the registration. 
    • Find the nearest test centre. 
    • Complete the registration by filling in the details. 
    • Pay the fees online via Debit card, Credit Card or Net Banking. 

    Post-completion of the registration, the student will receive confirmation about the test date and time from the test centre. It will be a written confirmation, and every student will receive it. 

    What is a good IELTS Score? 

     IELTS BAND SCORE 

    SKILL LEVEL

    9

    Expert

    8

    Very good

    7

    Good

    6

    Competent

    5

    Modest

    4

    Limited

    3

     Extremely limited 

    2

    Intermittent

    1

    Non-user

    Frankly speaking, there is no “one size fits all” answer to it. There is not an umbrella score as there are several factors that determine whether a score is good or not. However, largely a score band of 7 or more is considered decent. A score band of 8 and above is considered really very good. A good IELTS score is one that is required for you to take admission or get a job. Different countries have different score bands for immigration and study-related visas. Also, the requirement of an IELTS score varies on the type of job for which the applicant is immigrating to a country. For instance, the IELTS score requirement for nursing and doctors in the UK is very high as these are considered emergency services. One can’t afford to not understand the language properly if they are in emergency services while another individual, a data scientist might not need that level of proficiency in English. So, it depends entirely on the purpose for which you are taking the IELTS.  

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