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International English Language Testing System 2021

By British Council, London (UK) and IDP:IELTS Australia, Melbourne and Cambridge Assessment English, Cambridge (UK)

Exam Mode


Application Process


Exam Level


  • IELTS is conducted jointly by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.
  • As internationally focused organisations, they are committed to academic excellence and cultural understanding – ideal providers of international English testing.
  • British Council connects people worldwide with the learning opportunities and creative ideas from the UK and builds lasting relationships between the UK and other countries.
  • British Council is the UK`s international organisation for educational opportunity and cultural relations and is represented in more than 140 countries worldwide.
  • IDP: IELTS Australia is a subsidiary of IDP Education, one of the world`s leading international education organisations offering student placement in Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand and UK.
  • IDP Education is an ASX listed company that is 50% owned by 38 Australian universities and has more than 45 years` experience in international higher education.
  • IDP: IELTS Australia manages a network of more than 100 IELTS test centres in over 60 countries. 
  • Cambridge Assessment English is part of the University of Cambridge.
  • They develop and produce the most valuable range of qualifications for learners and teachers of English in the world.
  • Over 5 million people in 130 countries take the exams every year.
  • Around the world over 20,000 universities, employers, government ministries and other organisations rely on their exams and qualifications as proof of English language ability.
  • Cambridge English exams are backed by the work of the largest dedicated research team of any English language test provider.
  • Most popular countries where IELTS is accepted for university admissions are the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Canada.
  • It is accepted in 100% of universities in the UK and Australia.
  • The exam mainly measures the ability of test-takers to communicate in the four Basic English language skills – listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
  • IELTS was one of the pioneers of four skills English language testing over 25 years ago, and continues to set the standard for English language testing today.
  • It is the only English Language Test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for visa applicants applying both outside and inside the UK.
  • Candidates can take the IELTS exam with the British Council or IDP up to once a week (four times a month).
  • The British Council and IDP global schedule for test dates are 48 days per year.


Significance of IELTS Exam

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an English language exam that is required to be taken by international candidates considering studying or working in a country where English is the main language of communication.
  • It is required for migration as well as academic purpose abroad in English speaking countries like Australia, UK, New Zealand, USA, and Canada.
  • Foreign universities and visa granting authorities need to be sure that candidates will not have any communication issues while staying in the country.


Types of IELTS

  • There are two types of IELTS exam: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.
    • IELTS Academic Test:
      • The IELTS Academic test is for candidates applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking environment.
      • It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether candidates are ready to begin studying or training.
    • IELTS General Test:
      • IELTS General Test is taken by those who wish to migrate to major English speaking countries like Canada, Australia, and UK.
      • This test is also taken by those who want to enroll in training programs or secondary education or wants to gain work experience in a country where English is the main language used for communication.


Exam Highlights

Exam Level     


Medium of Instruction


Accepting Countries

More than 140 countries

Most Popular Accepting Countries

UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Canada

Exam Duration

2 hours 45 minutes

  • Listening: 30 minutes
  • Academic / General Training Reading: 1 hour
  • Academic / General Training Writing: 1 hour
  • Speaking: 11-14 minutes

Exam Mode

Online and Offline

Type of Questions

  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • Descriptive Questions
  • Verbal Questions

Exam Frequency

48 times a year (four times a month)

Official Website



Application Details
  • Candidates are advised to read through all the information they receive with the application form carefully.
  • Complete the paper application form or online registration and submit it to the nearest test centre.
  • They will need to enclose the voucher of test fee or make the payment online.
  • Make sure test takers enter the number of their identity document (passport or national identity card) and attach a clear color photocopy or scanned copy of identity document to the application form.
  • The identity document must be valid at the time of registration and the same ID document must be presented on the day of the test.


How to register?

  • Step 1 - find nearest IELTS test location
    • With more than 1,600 IELTS test locations in over 140 countries which may be close to the test taker’s location. 
  • Step 2 - register for IELTS test
    • They can register and pay online or download an application form to print, complete and submit to the local test centre in person.
    • Candidates are advised to refer the fee structure table given below and remit / pay the prescribed fee in the mode convenient to them.
    • Don’t forget to provide a copy of valid identity document.  They will also need to present the same identity document on the day of the test.
  • Step 3 - IELTS test is booked
    • Once the application has been processed, the centre will send a written confirmation of the date and time of the test.
    • The Speaking and Writing tests typically take place on the same day. 
    • If this is not possible, the tests will take place within seven days of each other.
    • For further information, contact the local IELTS test centre or download Information for Candidates booklet.

Fee Structure

  • Candidates are required to remit the fee for IELTS as per the exchange rate prevalent in their country.
  • IELTS for transportation is only optional.

IELTS Academic and General Training

From £162-£180 depending on location

IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration (Academic and General Training) 


IELTS Life Skills (A1, A2 and B1) 


IELTS for Transportation for London (TFL)



  • Computer-delivered IELTS is available up to 3 times a day and 7 days a week.
  • Candidates can get results in 2-5 days.
  • So, they can appear for IELTS test as per their convenience.
  • Paper-based IELTS tests up to four times a month.
  • For taking the IELTS Exam, the minimum age of the candidates should be at least 16 years & they must have a valid passport.
  • Anyone over the age of 16 can give the IELTS Test irrespective of nationality or background.
  • Exceptions can be made where the school requires IELTS Scores for admission. 
  • Candidates will be eligible to take the exam for one of the below categories:
    • Planning to study in UK/Australia/Canada/New Zealand/USA
    • Being a medical professional, planning to work or study further in UK/Australia/USA
    • Planning to emigrate to Canada/Australia/New Zealand.

IELTS results are reported on a 9-band 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).


The IELTS scale:

Band score

Skill level



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Extremely limited user

The test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.


Intermittent user

The test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.



The test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.


Did not attempt the test

The test taker did not answer the questions.


Calculating the overall band score

  • A score is given for each test component – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
  • These individual scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an overall band score.
  • Paper-based test: If test takers have taken a paper-based test, their Test Report Form will be available 13 days after they complete the test. 
  • Computer-delivered IELTS: If they have taken a computer-delivered test, their results will be available between 5 and 7 days after the test.
  • IELTS for UKVI: If they have taken IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration, they can view their results 13 days after the test.
  • IELTS for Life Skills: If they have taken IELTS for Life Skills, results are available within 7 days after the test. 
  • Test takers will receive one copy of the form or two copies if they are applying to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  • They can arrange for their test centre to post this to them, or they can pick it up in person.


Viewing results online

  • Results will also be available to view online for 28 days. (This should not be used as an official confirmation of test taker’s performance).
  • Test taker’s IELTS test centre will provide them with a link to their results or they can view them via one of these websites:
    • British Council network of test centres
    • IDP IELTS Australia network of test centres
    • IELTS USA network of test centres
  • Candidates will need their passport or ID number (the same number they used when they registered for the test) and registration number of them.
  • Test takers may contact their test centre if they have any questions or problems.


Get IELTS Results through SMS

  • Test takers can also check their IELTS test score through SMS by sending the below-mentioned code to 9289892898 after 12.00 noon on the days of the result.

Sending results to nominated organisations

  • When candidates book their test, they can nominate up to five organisations to which their IELTS test results will be sent by the test centers on their behalf.
  • This service is free of charge. Results can be sent to further nominated organisations for a small administration fee.
  • If the centre has closed, test takers can ask for their IELTS result to be sent to the nominated organisations by agencies (by filling in the Application for additional TRFs (from closed centres) form.
  • This service is available for up to two years from the date of the IELTS test.


Requesting a Re-mark

  • If test takers are not happy with their result, they can apply for a review of their score(s) through a service called an Enquiry on Results (EOR).
  • During the review process:
    • Test papers are re-marked by senior Examiners/Markers, who are not aware of the original marks awarded for each of the test section (Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking).
    • Test centre is then notified of the re-mark result and if the mark has changed, they issue a new Test Report Form (TRF).
  • The request for a re-mark must be made within six weeks of the date shown on the TRF at the concerned test centre.
  • Test takers may ask to re-mark the whole test or any sections of it (Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking).
  • They must pay an enquiry fee, which is fully refunded if their band scores change.
  • They may contact their test centre for more information about fees.
  • Results will normally be available in 2 to 21 days, depending on several factors including the number of sections requested for re-mark.
  • If test takers have not received a response after 28 days, they may contact their concerned test centre.


Adding IELTS Overall Band Score on LinkedIn

  • IELTS score is a trusted indicator of test taker’s language skills which they can proudly showcase to potential employers around the world.  
  • Therefore by adding IELTS Overall Band Score to the LinkedIn profile, they can stand out against the rest. 
  • Here are some reasons to do this:
    • Test takers can demonstrate to employers that they have taken the world’s most trusted test, so the score is an accurate representation of their ability to communicate where English is primary mode of communication.
    • When they add their IELTS score to their profile, it will be posted on their LinkedIn feed so all the connections can see their achievement.
    • With a complete LinkedIn profile, they are more likely to be discovered by recruiters.

IELTS results validity period

  • While it is up to each organisation to set a validity period that works for their purposes, the IELTS partners recommend a 2-year validity period for IELTS test results based upon the well-documented phenomenon of second language loss or `attrition’.


Admit Card
  • The identity document must be valid at the time of registration and the same ID document must be presented on the day of the test.
  • The test centre will give the written confirmation of the date and time of the test.
  • The written confirmation and the ID document shall be carried to the exam center without fail.

Exam Day Guidelines

  • Test takers are advised to arrive on time and be prepared:
    • They can double-check the time and date of test and allow plenty of time to travel to the test centre.
    • If late, they may not be allowed to take the test.
    • Test takers must make sure that they have the right identification documents.
    • If they arrive with the wrong ID, they will not be allowed to take the test.
  • Try to be calm and relaxed
    • Try to remain calm at the test centre
    • If they have any questions - friendly centre staff are there to help
    • Read the IELTS rules and regulations before the test so they understand them. They will find these in the IELTS Application Form.
  • Follow the instructions
    • Switch off the mobile phone and any other electronic devices.
    • They will be asked to place these with other personal belongings outside the test room.
    • The Listening, Reading and Writing tests take 2 hours 40 minutes and there are no breaks between each component of the test.
    • Test takers must be prepared and have something to eat and drink beforehand.
    • They will not be allowed to take food into the test room. They will only be allowed to take a drink in a transparent bottle.
    • Listen to the supervisor carefully and follow the test day instructions.
    • When they get the test papers, they have to read the instructions on the cover page first before writing anything.
    • Test takers are advised not to commit any mistake. They will lose points for careless mistakes.
  • Stay aware of the time
    • Watches are not allowed in the test room. Every test room will have a clock on the wall. Stay aware of the time so test takers can attempt all questions.
    • The Listening, Reading and Writing tests have a number of sections. Allow enough time for each section.
    • Be aware that some questions have suggested time limits.
  • Advice to test takers to do best
    • If they start to feel worried, they can take some deep breaths which help them calm down
    • Works calmly, focus on the questions, don’t rush answers and do best.

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