IELTS Exam (Academic & General) by IDP- A Complete Guide

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

  • IDP is now the sole authority for IELTS in India - Effective from 25 July 2021, IELTS exam in India will be solely conducted by IDP. Previously IELTS in India were jointly conducted by British Council & IDP, but now IDP has entered an agreement to acquire all the British Council-managed IELTS centres in India. There is no change to the test content, structure, marking or security after this acquisition.
  • Effective 7th Mar 2022, IELTS Fee has been Revised from INR 14,700 to INR 15,500
  • 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.

Who require the IELTS Exam?

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.

How to book IELTS exam

Below are the steps to book IELTS exam:

  1. Visit the official website of IDP IELTS.
  2. Decide which test mode is most convenient for you: paper-based or online
  3. Choose either academic or general training as per your required test module.
  4. Select your preferred test city.
  5. You will receive a list of venues & date/time slot options once you have completed these steps. Select a venue, date and time that works for you.
  6. Fill out the application form with all the required information.
  7. Complete the online application by filling any other required details in next steps.
  8. Pay the test fee.
  9. Upon reserving your test date, a declaration form will be sent to your registered email/phone number.

Type of IELTS Exam

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
Mode of IELTS Paper and Computer-delivered test
Exam Fees INR 15,500
Score Range On a scale of 1 (lowest) band to 9 (highest) band
IELTS Contact IDP IELTS, Global Gateway Towers, Tower-B, 5th Floor, Sikanderpur Ghosi, Sector-26, M.G. Road, Gurugram -122002 Haryana, India
Contact Number: +91-124-4445999
Mon-Sat 09.00 AM to 05.30 PM


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 IDP along with eligibility criteria and the application process.

Popular Universities Accepting IELTS Exam 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)

IELTS Exam Accepting Countries

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.

Eligibility Criteria for 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.

IELTS Exam Fee Details

There have been some changes in the IELTS fee due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IELTS exam fee in India has been revised from INR 14,700 and is now INR 15,500. 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.

Test Type Fees(INR)
Computer-delivered IELTS for UKVI 15,750
Computer-delivered IELTS 15,500
IELTS Life Skills (A1 and B1) 14,600
IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration 15,750
Pen and paper based IELTS 15,500

IELTS Exam - Important Dates

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.

IELTS Test Pattern & 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.

IELTS Academic Test Format

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.

IELTS Exam Score Pattern & Range

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

Band Score Skill Level Meaning
9 Expert User If your score is in this bandwidth, that indicates you are fluent in the language with complete understanding. You have operational control over the language and you satisfy all the requirements.
8 Very Good User If your score is in this bandwidth, it means you have operational control over the language but there are possibilities you might misunderstand the information in some situations. Although, you are capable enough to handle discussions well.
7 Good User If you score in this bandwidth, it indicates you have operational control over the language with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage, and misunderstandings in some situations. You have the capabilities to handle the language with detailed reasoning.
6 Competent User If you score in this bandwidth, it indicates you hold effective command of the language with some inaccuracies.
As long as you are familiar with the situation, you can use and understand relatively complex language.
5 Modest User If you score in this bandwidth, it indicates you have partial control over the language, and at times you make mistakes. You can handle basic communication in your field.
4 Limited User If you score in this bandwidth, your competency language is familiar in some situations. You often find it difficult to cope with complex language.
3 Extremely Limited User If you score in this bandwidth, this indicates you have an understanding of familiar situations. You often break down while communicating.
2 Intermittent User If you score in this bandwidth, this indicates you have a great level of difficulty while writing or communicating in English.
1 Non-user This score indicates you cannot use the language except for a few known words.
0 Did not attempt the test This indicates you didn't answer many of the questions correctly or did not attempt the examination

Preparation Tips to Ace 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.

IELTS Exam 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. 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

What is the full form of IELTS?

IELTS stands for “International English Language Testing System”

Who conducts the IELTS exam?

Currently, IDP is the sole authority to conduct the IELTS examination in India. Earlier, the British Council & IDP jointly used to conduct examinations. Starting from 25th July 2021, IDP became sole distributor of IELTS testing in India.

Is the IELTS exam difficult?

Every examination is hard if you do not prepare well. To ace the IELTS exam, you should focus on these areas of English: Speaking, Listening, Writing, Reading. The level of IELTS exam difficulty is dependent on how you prepare for it and this varies from person to person.

Is 7 a good IELTS score?

Yes, overall 7 is a good IELTS score and you must score more than or equal to a 6.5 grade in all the sections (speaking, listening, writing, and reading).

How many times can we give the IELTS exam?

You can appear for the IELTS exam as many times as you want.

What is the IELTS exam for?

The purpose of the IELTS examination is to evaluate English language skills of non-native English speakers' - in different sections like speaking, reading, writing, and listening.

What are the IELTS exam fees?

The IELTS exam costs INR 15,500 in India.

How is the IELTS exam conducted?

There are two ways in which IELTS examinations get conducted:

  • IELTS on paper: In this method, the candidate sits with a pen and paper and answers the sections of listening, reading, and writing tests in an official IELTS allotted test center.
  • IELTS on the computer: In this method, the candidates take the examination on a computer at an official IELTS test center.

How to check the venue of the IELTS exam IDP?

Once you book for the IELTS, you can choose your nearest venue for the IELTS exam. You can check the official portal to find the complete information about the venue.

How many times is the IELTS exam conducted in a year?

The IELTS examinations are conducted 48 times per year. The IELTS examination dates are announced 4 times a month.

Can we postpone the IELTS exam?

Yes, you can postpone the IELTS examination.

How to postpone the IELTS exam date IDP?

You need to contact the exam center where you’ve reserved your examination. If you plan to postpone or cancel the IELTS examination, these are the following things you can do:

  • If you plan to cancel or postpone the examination more than five weeks before the exam date, you get a refund minus an administration charge.
  • If you plan to cancel or postpone the examination within five (5) weeks of the test date, you will be charged the full fee unless you have a serious medical reason.
  • If you have a valid medical certificate within five (5) days of the test date, you will get a refund minus the local administrative cost.

Can we give the IELTS exam from home?

No, you can not give the examination from your home. Although, you can opt for an online examination. This online examination will be conducted from a registered IELTS center.

How to pay the IELTS exam fee online?

You can pay for the examination through online payment through net banking, Paytm, or debit/credit card.

How long is the IELTS exam valid for?

The IELTS exam is valid for 2 years.

How soon can I resit for the exam?

The candidate can sit for the exam or retake it any time they want.

What is the minimum age to take the IELTS exam?

There is no minimum age to take the exam. There is no age bar to take the exam.

Can I change my personal details after I have registered for 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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