IELTS in a nutshell


IELTS is an acronym which stands for International English Language Testing System and is a proficiency exam designed to test all four key skills in English: reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Types of IELTS

There are two versions of the IELTS exam, Academic and General. The Academic format is, usually, for those who want to study in an English-speaking university or an Institution of Higher and Further Education. Admission into undergraduate and postgraduate courses is based on the results of the Academic test. Sometimes, a professional organization in an English speaking country may want you to have a good IELTS Academic score.

The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking environment. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training.

The IELTS General Training test is for those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts.

Score Calculation

  1. Listening and Reading tests IELTS Listening and Reading tests both contain 40 items. Each correct item is awarded one mark.
  2. Writing and speaking tests
    Examiners use detailed performance descriptors when assessing the Writing and Speaking tests. These band descriptors describe a candidate’s performance in four categories:

> task achievement
> coherence and cohesion
> lexical resource ( vocabulary you use)
> grammatical range and accuracy


The Academic and General Training papers are graded in the same way. You will be given a score from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The average score of the four components produces your overall band score, which is rounded to the nearest whole or half band. You can score whole (e.g., 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half (e.g., 5.5., 6.5, 7.5) bands in each part of the test.

Your IELTS result will only be valid for two years because the IELTS partners recommend that a Test Report Form which is more than two years old should only be accepted if it is accompanied by proof that you have actively maintained or tried to improve your English.


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