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IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is the language of communication.

It is jointly managed by Cambridge English Language Assessment, the British Council and IDP Education Pvt Ltd, and was established in 1989. IELTS is one of the two major English-language tests in the world, the other being the TOEFL.

There are two versions of the IELTS: the Academic Version and the General Training Version:

  • The Academic Version is intended for those who want to enroll in universities and other institutions of higher education and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study or practice in an English-speaking country.
  • The General Training Version is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience, or for immigration purposes.

In 2007, IELTS tested over a million candidates 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.

In 2009, 1.4 million candidates took the IELTS test in over 130 countries, in 2011 there were 1.7 million candidates whereas in 2012, 2 million candidates were tested.


All candidates must complete four Modules - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking - to obtain a band score, which is shown on the IELTS Test Report Form (TRF). All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules, while the Reading and Writing Modules differ depending on whether the candidate is taking the Academic or General Training Versions of the Test.

On the day of the test, the four subsections will be taken in the following order:

IELTS tests the candidates in areas of Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking
Sections No of questions Section Time
Listening 4 Sections, 40 Items 30 minutes
Reading 3 sections, 40 items 60 minutes
Writing 2 tasks (150 & 250 words) 60 minutes
Speaking - 11 to 14 minutes
  Total : 2 hrs and 45 minutes
The first three modules - Listening, Reading and Writing (always in that order) - are completed in one day, and in fact are taken with no break in between. The Speaking Module may be taken, at the discretion of the test centre, in the period seven days before or after the other Modules.


This table can be used for the Listening tests to convert raw scores to band scores. This chart is a guide only, because sometimes the scores adjust slightly depending on how difficult the exam is.
Band Score 9.0 8.5 8.0 7.5 7.0 6.5 6.0 5.5 5.0 4.5 4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5
Raw score 39 – 40 37 – 38 35 – 36 32 – 34 30 – 31 26 – 29 23 – 25 18 – 22 16 – 17 13 – 15 10 – 12 8 – 9 6 – 7 4 –

For Masters Courses a minimum of 6.5 is required. For a Graduate course a band of 6 may be accepted, every institute would have its individual requirement. The candidate needs to check the requirement of the place he makes the application too.

The score report is mailed within two weeks of the test


The test is taken every year in 500 locations across 121 countries, and is one of the fastest growing English language tests in the world. There are up to 48 test dates available per year. Each test centre offers tests up to four times a month depending on local demand. There used to be a minimum time limit of 90 days before which a person was not allowed to retake the test. However this restriction has been withdrawn and currently there is no limit for applicants to retake the test.

Online Registration:

One can register for IELTS online on www.ieltsindia.org. The payment can be made by credit card or demand draft and Forms can be obtained from the Test Centres or can be downloaded from www.ielts.org

Necessary documents to be shown at time of the test:
You need to submit the following documents to the test centre for registering for IELTS

  • Two passport size photographs at the discretion of the test centre.
  • Photocopy of the passport
  • Duly filled up and signed Test Registration Form
  • Demand Draft (DD is the mode of payment). If you register online on www.ieltsindia.org you can even pay by credit card.

IELTS Validity:

The IELTS score is valid for 2 years.