The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an international standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English, and was established in 1989.
It is the world’s most popular English language test for higher education and immigration, accepted by over 11,000 academic institutions and various professional organisations across the world.
IELTS General Training is the only internationally available English proficiency test accepted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for immigration to Canada through the EXPRESS ENTRY programme. It is also the only Secure English Language Test approved by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for visa customers applying both outside and inside the UK. It also meets requirements for immigration to Australia and New Zealand.
In 2017, over 3 million tests were taken in more than 140 countries, up from 2 million tests in 2012, 1.7 million tests in 2011 and 1.4 million tests in 2009. In 20018, IELTS administered more than 3.5 million tests in a single 12-month period for the first time ever, making it the world’s most popular English language test for higher education and immigration.
No minimum score is required to pass the test. IELTS uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency. An IELTS result or Test Report Form is issued to all test takers with a score from “band 1” (“non-user”) to “band 9” (“expert user”) and each institution, organization or Immigration body sets a different threshold. There is also a “band 0” score for those who did not attempt the test.
Typically, IELTS results are available online on the 13th day from when a test was taken.
The IELTS result is valid for a period of two years. Institutions and organizations are advised not to consider a report older than two years to be valid, unless the user proves that they have worked to maintain their English proficiency level.
DIFFERENT MODULES OF IELTS
IELTS is available in:
Academic: for people applying for higher education or professional registration, and
General Training: for those migrating to Australia, Canada and the UK, or applying for secondary education, training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment.
UKVI: IELTS for UKVI are designed to meet specific administrative requirements outlined by the UK Home Office and are taken at a UKVI approved test centre. The actual test taken is the same as IELTS for all other purposes and includes the same: content, format, scoring and level of difficulty. Test Report Forms will be slightly different in order to show that you have taken the test at an UKVI approved test centre.
All three versions above provide a valid and accurate assessment of the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
IELTS Life Skills: intended for those who need to prove their English speaking and listening skills at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels A1 or B1 and can be used to apply for a ‘family of a settled person’ visa, indefinite leave to remain or citizenship in the UK.