IELTS or International English Language Testing System is an English proficiency test conducted by The British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. The test helps universities and employers in filtering those students who have a better understanding of the English language than others. Being a non-native English speaker in a predominantly English-speaking country can be a bit problematic. So to ensure that students or professionals coming to the US, the UK, Europe, Canada, etc., are fluent in English.

IELTS does a thorough assessment of an individual’s reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. One has to be good at all aspects of communication, which is the key to scoring well in the IELTS exam.

For detailed information on IELTS Exam, read IELTS Guide

Universities from which countries accept the IELTS scores

Most all the native English-speaking countries accept the IELTS score. Universities in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc., accept the score. The acceptance of the IELTS score is not limited to academics only; even companies, government immigration systems use the IELTS score for different purposes. So having a good IELTS score can help you in more than one walk of life.

What is the type of test conducted in the IELTS?

There are two types of tests conducted within the IELTS, the General Training and the Academic Test. The two tests are intended for two different sets of people. One should choose the test type depending on its need and the intended purpose.

IELTS General Training Module: The IELTS General module is for those individuals who wish to go to an English-speaking country for job or non-academic purposes. The focus of this module is solely on an individual’s ability to converse in a language. The test focuses on daily communications one has to do in a foreign country.

IELTS Academic Module: The academic module is for those students who wish to pursue higher education in an English-speaking country. The need to have fluent English is a must for both academic as well as non-academic purposes. A relatively high level of English is needed for those immigrating for higher education. 

How to schedule the test for the IELTS exam?

IELTS provides a wide range of dates that helps students in choosing a date and time of their convenience. The IELTS General Training test is conducted 24 times in a single academic year, while the IELTS Academic test is conducted 48 times. So the academic test can be attempted any week. The tests are usually conducted on Thursday and Saturday. IELTS has test centers spanning across the length and breadth of the country. So every test taker gets a test center in the closest proximity to their place of residence. 

What’s the scoring system in the IELTS?

The scoring system in IELTS is quite robust, and the scores are released in score bands from 0-9, where 1 band implies non-user and 9 bands an expert user. The scores are of two types- the overall band and the sectional band. The sectional band is the score obtained in each section, and the average of all the sections combined gives the overall score band. So in order to get a good overall band, one needs to be proficient in each of the sections individually. 

For most of the reputed universities in the US, the UK keeps the score band between 6 and 8. Those getting scores in this bracket are most likely to get admission to reputed institutions. Students have to score in the range in which the desired university accepts the score. There is no concept of passing and failing in the test. The results are usually declared within a week that helps students ascertain if they will be able to secure admission or have to take another shot at the exam. 

What’s the fee for taking the IELTS exam?

The exam fee for IELTS is INR 14700. The test fee is non-refundable, and the total cost of the exam depends on other factors. Other costs may become part of the overall exam cost. The charge for rescheduling the exam is INR 3300, inclusive of all the taxes. In cases where a student wishes to cancel the test five weeks before the test, then 25% of the amount will be deducted as administrative fees. And if the cancellation is done post the five weeks of the last date, then there will be no refund. 

What’s new in IELTS 2021?

There are a couple of changes that have been introduced this year. From 25th July 2021 onwards, the British Council will no longer be conducting the IELTS test. The IDP will conduct the test. This happened in the backdrop of IDP acquiring a 100% stake from the British Council. So the entire setup change will most probably be completed by the end of August. With IDP being at the forefront, it can be expected that they might streamline the process even further and bring some new changes. But these changes will be visible only after the process is completed. 

Also, IELTS has a new platform named IELTS indicator in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that allows the test taker to take the test from the comfort of their homes. However, it should be noted that the new platform is only for students and only restricted to the IELTS Academic module. There is no provision for tests from home in the case of IELTS General training. Another noteworthy aspect is that it is not a permanent feature, and it is subjected to the present situation only.

How much time of preparation is needed for a good score in IELTS?

An ideal time of preparation is around two to three months prior to the desired test date. A dedicated preparation with guidance from online and offline resources can help in getting a good score. Many students seek guidance from experts, so it’s better to take help in those areas where a student faces difficulty. There is no dearth of materials. The only thing that is needed is a concerted effort for a few months.