IELTS Overview - A Complete Guide


An internationally recognized
assessment of English reading, writing,
listening and speaking skills in non-native English speakers.

IELTS is a mandatory requirement for admissions to most of the colleges/ universities in Canada, Australia, UK, Ireland, US & Europe. The test is conducted to evaluate the English language proficiency of non-native speakers of English.

Below you can find a comprehensive IELTS guide to know how to prepare for the exam, minimum acceptable IELTS scores, IELTS scoring process, tips & tricks, resources and so on.

Recent Updates on IELTS

Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IELTS partners launched the IELTS Indicator test for students who are impacted and cannot take the test at the designated test centers. The test pattern will remain the same with four sections - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The test can be taken easily from the comfort of the home. Students must meet the system requirements to be eligible for the test.

Why is IELTS Required?

IELTS is required for students who want to pursue education in English-speaking countries, where the medium of instruction is only English language. This includes countries like the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. It is specifically designed to test the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers. The test scores are taken into consideration during the application process of the university as well as during the visa process. Students need to show a good command of the language to help with their study abroad process and journey.

The test is not compulsory for all universities. However, taking the test will only help the chances of admission and getting the visa approved without any hurdles.

Which Type of IELTS Test Should You Take?

There are two types of IELTS test -

  1. IELTS General Training - The IELTS General Training is designed for individuals who wish to migrate to an English-speaking country, like Australia, Canada, UK and New Zealand. The test can also be taken if the level of study is less than a degree. This includes English-speaking schools or colleges. Everyday language skills used in social and workplace environments are evaluated through the IELTS General Training.
  2. IELTS Academic - Students take the IELTS Academic test when applying for higher education or a professional course.

IELTS Highlights

Exam Name IELTS
Full-Form International English Language Testing System
Official Website IELTS Home of the IELTS English Language Test
Accepted By More than 10,000 universities and countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, and the USA.
Conducted By IDP and British Council
Mode of IELTS Paper and Computer-delivered test
Exam Fees Rs. 14,700
Score Range On a scale of 1 (lowest) band to 9 (highest) band
IELTS Contact British Council
0120-4569000 / 0120-6684353, Mon-Sat 09.00 to 18.00
IDP Head Office
+91-124-4445999/ 1800-102-4544


Both IELTS and TOEFL test English language proficiency. A student who wishes to study in an English-speaking country can take either of the exams. There are only minor differences in the exams due to the pattern and format of the exams. However, students should keep in mind that there are certain countries like Canada where the IELTS is required to process the study permit. This is especially for the Student Direct Stream. Other than that, TOEFL is more widely accepted in the USA.

IELTS Scholarships

One of the biggest benefits of taking the IELTS test is that students can apply for the Global Study Awards. Successful IELTS takers can get funding up to £10,000 for their education overseas. There are also several other scholarships mentioned on the web page of the British Council along with eligibility criteria and the application process.

Which Popular Universities Accept the IELTS Scores?

California Institute of Technology Yale University
Princeton University University of Chicago
University of Pennsylvania Duke University
Cornell University University of Michigan
Northwestern University New York University
Bond University (Aus) Deakin University (Aus)
La Trobe University (Aus) Queen’s University (Canada)
Simon Fraser University (Canada) University of British Columbia (Canada)
University of Manitoba (Canada) University of Victoria (Canada)
Dublin Business School Trinity College Dublin
University College Dublin Bocconi University (Italy)

Which Countries Accept the IELTS Score?

IELTS score is accepted by all the major universities in countries like the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and more. Currently, it is accepted by more than 10,000 universities worldwide.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for the IELTS Exam?

There are no set eligibility criteria to take the exam. Any candidate irrespective of age, gender, race, nationality, or religion can take it. Candidates, however, will have to submit their proof of nationality.

What is the Exam Fee To Take the IELTS?

There have been some changes in the IELTS fee due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the IELTS fee is set at INR 14,700 for Indian residents. Students can cancel or transfer the exam to a different date with no charges. In the case of cancellation, a refund is initiated only if the test center approves the case.

What are the Important Dates for the IELTS Exam?

The IELTS exam can be taken anytime in the year. A student can book a test as early as three months before the test date or at the latest one week before the exam date. The exam date can be decided by the student as per their convenience and preparation. However, they should make sure to check the test center availability on the IELTS website.

What are the IELTS Exam Pattern and Syllabus?

The IELTS exam has four sections - Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. The IELTS General Training and Academic both have the same pattern. Listening and Speaking sections are the same for both types of exams. The Reading and the Writing sections differ depending on the type of exam being taken.

Format for the IELTS Academic Test

Listening Section Test duration - 30 minutes
Each recording has 10 questions - 40 questions in total with 1 mark each. 6 types of questions are asked. In the end, additional 10 minutes are given to transfer the answer to the answer sheet provided by the center.
Reading Section Test duration - 60 minutes
Number of questions - 40
Each question is of 1 mark.
11 types of questions are asked.
No extra time is provided.
Writing Section Test duration - 60 minutes.
Number of questions asked - 2
Each question has a word limit
Speaking Section Test duration - 11 minutes to 14 minutes
Number of questions - there are 3 parts.
The section is like an oral interview between the candidate and the examiner. The session is recorded for assessment.

What is the IELTS Score Range?

The exam score is given on a 9-band scale.

Band Score Skill Level
9 Expert User
8 Very Good User
7 Good User
6 Competent User
5 Modest User
4 Limited User
3 Extremely Limited User
2 Intermittent User
1 Non-user
0 Did not attempt the test

What are the top preparation tips for the IELTS exam?

There are some general tips that will students increase their score if they inculcate these tips in their study schedule -

  1. Before you start preparing for the test, attempt a mock test or a sample paper to gauge your current knowledge and understanding of the subject.
  2. Do a practice test every week and evaluate your answers.
  3. Make an error log of mistakes that are repeated and of areas that need improvement. It will help you keep a track of your improvement and mistakes.
  4. Expand your reading, writing, and listening material to familiarize yourself with topics that will help you in the test.

What are the Test Centers in India?

There are test centers all over the country. You can visit the IELTS website and book the test at the test center nearest to you. These are the cities where the exam is held -
Ahmedabad, Anand, Bhatinda, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Jalandhar, Kottayam, Ludhiana, Mehsana, Nagpur, Noida, Pune, Ranchi, Thiruvananthapuram, Visakhapatnam, Ambala, Angamali, Bhopal, Chennai, Dehradun, Gurgaon, Indore, Karnal, Kozhikode, Madurai, Moga, Navi Mumbai, Patiala, Raipur, Siliguri, Tiruchirappalli, Vadodara, Amritsar, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Cochin, Goa, Guwahati, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, New Delhi, Patna, Rajkot, Vijayawada, Surat, Trichur.

How Can GyanDhan Help You?

If you are looking to work, migrate or study abroad, especially in an English-speaking country, you need to appear for the International English Language Test, popularly known as IELTS. Jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English, the test assesses the Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading skills of the non-native English speaking candidate so as to ascertain whether he/she will be able to keep up with a space where English is the dominant medium of communication.

IELTS is accepted by over 10,000 organizations all over the world. While universities in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland fix a minimum IELTS score to determine an applicant’s eligibility for admissions, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom use IELTS to evaluate immigration applications.

GyanDhan understands the significance of IELTS scores in your pursuits of education abroad. Therefore, we have come up with a one-stop destination for all the important information related to IELTS to give our readers the most accurate and detailed insights of the test. Our IELTS test prep page consists of 12 articles that track down all the specifics of the test, right from an exhaustive introduction to IELTS, IELTS Exam format and IELTS scoring process to IELTS score converter and the university-wise breakup of IELTS criteria. Furthermore, to help our readers who are appearing for the IELTS to get the highest scores in the exam, we have also compiled overall and sectional IELTS preparation guides covering the IELTS syllabus, key tips and strategies, and resources to prepare for IELTS. Additionally, we have provided IELTS sample tests and questions which candidates can practice.

For the time being, we have covered only IELTS academics, focusing on higher education abroad as a part of our unending journey of making study abroad dreams of thousands of students come alive.

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A Little More About Us

GyanDhan started its journey with an intent to make higher education accessible to all, irrespective of the financial situation of the student. Relentlessly striving towards this aim, we have helped thousands of students in achieving their study abroad dreams. As a data-driven company, we have also developed various advanced tools and services to assist students during their application process. Check out our tools and functions below-

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Frequently Asked Questions

The IELTS exam is valid for 2 years.
The candidate can sit for the exam or retake it any time they want.
There is no minimum age to take the exam. There is no age bar to take the exam.
Personal information like gender, address, phone number, and DOB can be changed only up to 20 days before the test date.

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