Download PDF File - A Basic Introduction to IELTS.pdf

What is the purpose of the IELTS test?

IELTS is available in two versions: Academic and General Training. Each is designed to
meet particular purposes.

IELTS Academic is intended to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study
or work where English is the language of communication.

IELTS General Training is intended for candidates who are going to English-speaking
countries to complete their secondary education, to undertake work experience or training
programmes not at degree level, or for immigration purposes to Australia, Canada and New
Zealand.

Who accepts IELTS scores?

IELTS is recognised by universities and employers in many countries, including Australia,
Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It is also recognised by professional bodies
(including medical authorities), immigration authorities and other government agencies.
Details of organisations recognising IELTS are available on the IELTS website www.ielts.org

Who runs IELTS?

IELTS is run by an international partnership of University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations,
British Council and IDP Education Australia: IELTS Australia.

What does the test consist of?

IELTS includes tests of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

The total test length is 2 hours 44 minutes, made up of Listening (30 minutes), Reading
(1 hour), Writing (1 hour) and Speaking (11-14 minutes). The Speaking Test is administered
face to face with a trained examiner. Modified test versions are available for candidates with
special requirements. Detailed descriptions of the test components can be found on the
IELTS website www.ielts.org

Where can candidates take IELTS?

There are currently more than 300 authorised test centres in over 100 countries worldwide.
IELTS test centres around the world are managed by the British Council or IDP Education
Australia: IELTS Australia. In the US, IELTS centres are managed by IELTS International.
Test centres are listed on the IELTS website www.ielts.org

When can candidates take IELTS?

IELTS Academic modules are administered on 48 fixed dates each year. General Training
modules are administered on 24 fixed dates each year.

How much does it cost to take IELTS?

IELTS is delivered at a fixed price in each country. This price is made up of a standard
central fee and a variable local fee. Details of centre locations, test dates and fees can be
accessed from the IELTS website www.ielts.org

How are results reported? 

Candidates receive scores on a band scale of 1 to 9 which has remained constant since
1980. Detailed performance descriptors have been developed which describe written and
spoken performance at the nine IELTS bands. Public versions of these band descriptors
have been developed: see Writing Band Descriptors Task 1, Writing Band Descriptors Task
2, Speaking Band Descriptors. A profile score is reported for each skill. The individual skill
scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an Overall Band Score. More details of
how final scores are calculated and estimates of reliability can be found in the document
‘Score Processing, Results and Interpretation’.

Results are available 13 days after the test date. Institutions may apply for access free of
charge to verify results on-line and electronic downloads are available.

Further Resources

The IELTS website contains a wealth of further information about IELTS and is regularly
up-dated. In particular, you may wish to review the following:

IELTS Application Form

The Application Form also contains the Notice to Candidates with information, advice and
regulations for IELTS candidates.

IELTS Information for Candidates

This leaflet provides a description of the test and sample items together with guidance on
procedures. It is given to every candidate applying to take an IELTS test, and on the
Application Form, the candidates sign to confirm that they have received a copy.

IELTS Specimen Materials

This contains a full copy of practice tests with answers for each of the six modules. Copies
are available for purchase from Cambridge ESOL, IELTS Australia and IELTS test centres.

IELTS Annual Review

This is an annual publication providing a summary of the previous year’s milestones and
achievements. Copies of the current and previous editions are also available for
downloading from the IELTS website as pdf files.

The History of IELTS

This is an account of the development of IELTS, and its predecessor ELTS, since 1980.

The analysis of test data (test performance and test-taker performance)
Each year, multiple versions of each of the six IELTS modules (Listening, Academic
Reading, General Training Reading, Academic Writing, General Training Writing, and
Speaking) are released for use by centres testing IELTS candidates. Technical information
including reliability estimates for the objectively and subjectively scored modules used are
reported on the IELTS website, as well as annual figures on test-taker performance with
mean band scores for the test-taking population.

IELTS Research

All IELTS research activities are co-ordinated as part of a comprehensive and coherent
framework for research and validation of the test.

IELTS Grants and Awards 

Two major components of this research framework are the IELTS Masters Award and the
IELTS Joint-funded Research Programme.

FAQs on IELTS

A list of commonly asked questions about IELTS and their answers.

On-line teaching resources
The rapid uptake by stakeholders has seen an increase in demand for IELTS preparation
services for candidates. An on-line resource for teachers of IELTS classes has been
developed which includes sample tasks, tips for teachers and students, DOs and DON'Ts,
ready-made activities to use with classes, skills development, exam practice tasks and FAQs
for each module. See www.cambridgeesol.org/teach/ielts

IELTS Quick Links

An Introduction to IELTS

Setting Standards

Marking and Interpreting Scores

Listening

Academic Reading

General Training Reading

Academic Writing

General Training Writing

Speaking

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