IELTS introduction

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency, from non-user (band score 1) through to expert (band score 9).

See How Is IELTS Scored

IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training

IELTS is available in two test versions:

Academic – for entry to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and also for professional registration purposes. It assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training in an environment where English language is used, and reflects some of the features of language used in academic study. test format details

General Training for those migrating to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK , or applying for secondary education (study at below degree level) , training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts. test format details

Both versions provide a valid and accurate assessment of the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Download a full sample IELTS test (click to download 8MB).

Understand the Listening test

You will be listening for a purpose and hear a variety of accents.

A variety of voices is used in the IELTS Listening test, so you might hear Australian, British, New Zealand or North American accents.

You will be listening to a pre-recorded CD-ROM, and the passages that you hear will increase in difficulty as you go through the test.

The content of the Listening test is the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests. [ Read More ]

Understand the Reading test

You will need to read quickly and efficiently, and manage your time

You will be asked to read three different passages and respond to related questions in your IELTS Reading test.

The content of the Reading test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests. Details of each version are given below. [ Read More … ]

IELTS Academic Writing test

Write in a formal style in the IELTS Academic Writing test.

In Task 1 you will be presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram. You will be asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in your own words. This might involve describing and explaining data, describing the stages of a process or how something works, or describing an object or event.

In Task 2 you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You should find the issues interesting and easy to understand. [ Read More ]

IELTS General Training Writing test

The topics used in the IELTS General Training Writing test are of general interest.

In Task 1 you will be presented with a situation and asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. You can write the letter in a personal, semi-formal or formal style.

In Task 2 you will be asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. You can use a fairly personal style. [ Read More ]

Understand the Speaking test

The Speaking test is as close to a real-life situation as an exam can get.

You will talk to a certified examiner in the IELTS Speaking test. The test is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get. A variety of accents may be used, and the test will be recorded. [ Read More ]

IELTS for Study

Accepted as evidence of English proficiency by 10,000 institutions

An IELTS certificate is recognised as evidence of proficiency in English by more than 10,000 education and training providers worldwide. Some universities in non-English speaking countries require an IELTS score, where courses are taught in English.

IELTS for work

Employers, professional bodies and associations accept IELTS

Organisations around the world rely on IELTS to help them select the right people.

Professional registration

In most countries where English is the main language of communication, evidence of acceptable English language skills is a prerequisite for applicants and international graduates seeking professional registration. Required proficiency levels vary between organisations, professions, by country and by jurisdiction. It is up to individual professional registration bodies to determine the IELTS band score and version of the test (Academic or General Training) they require.

Which industries ask for IELTS?
  • Registration bodies representing the healthcare professions, such as nursing, medicine and pharmacy, where English language competence is of critical importance
  • Other professional bodies in various countries from sectors such as accounting, engineering, law and veterinary practice
  • A wide range of employers from sectors such as finance, government, construction, energy, aviation and tourism

IELTS for migration

Accepted for Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK

IELTS is accepted as evidence of English language proficiency for study, work and migration in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK, as well as for study and work in the USA.

Each country sets its own IELTS requirements. For up-to-date information, please visit the relevant government websites.

Canada

If you are applying for a work visa, professional recognition or for permanent residency in Canada, it is likely that you will be required to present evidence of English language proficiency. IELTS General Training is the only internationally available English proficiency test accepted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for immigration to Canada.

New Zealand

The New Zealand government asks for IELTS as evidence of English language proficiency for many visas, including those within the Skilled Migrant, Investor and Entrepreneur, Residence from Work and Parent categories.

UK

Evidence of English language ability is a requirement for those applying to settle permanently in the UK (also known as applying for ‘leave to remain’ or ‘long residence’).

FIND A TEST LOCATION

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration.

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IELTS for UKVI and IELTS Life Skills

IELTS for UKVI and IELTS Life Skills are approved by the UK Visas and Immigration for visa applications to the UK.

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