International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System, the world’s proven English language test.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is most popular and important test that needs to be taken care of. IELTS scores are accepted by 7000+ institutions in about 130 countries. In India, this test is usually done on Saturdays and Thursdays. There are about 64 centers where candidates can appear.

IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment

IELTS test structure

IELTS test has 4 modules – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Listening and Speaking modules are compulsory whereas Reading and Writing modules depend whether candidate is taking the Academic or General Training Versions of the Test.


This module contains 4 sections. It takes 40 minutes: 30 for testing, and 10 for transferring the answers to an answer sheet. Each section, which can be either a monologue or dialogue, begins with a short introduction telling the candidates about the situation and the speakers. Then they have some time to look through the questions. The first three sections have a break in the middle allowing candidates to look at the remaining questions. Each section is heard only once. At the end of this section students are given 10 minutes to transfer their answers to an answer sheet.


In the academic module the reading test comprises three sections, with 3 texts normally followed by 13 or 14 questions for a total of 40 questions overall. The General test also has 3 sections. However the texts are shorter, so there can be up to 5 texts to read.


In the Academic module, there are two tasks: in Task 1 candidates describe a diagram, graph, process or chart, and in Task 2 they respond to an argument. In the General Training module, there are also two tasks: in Task 1 candidates write a letter or explain a situation, and in Task 2 they write an essay.


The speaking test contains 3 sections. First section is like an interview, where candidates may be asked about their hobbies, interests, reasons for taking IELTS exam along with general topics such as clothing, free time, computers and the internet or family. In the second section, candidates must speak about any given topic, they are given 1 minute to prepare after receiving the topic. The third section involves a discussion between the examiner and the candidate. This last section is more abstract, and is usually considered the most difficult.

Score – Band Scale

IELTS is scored on a band scale.

  • 0 => Did not attempt the test
  • 1 => Non User
  • 2 => Intermittent User
  • 3 => Extremely Limited User
  • 4 => Limited User
  • 5 => Modest user
  • 6 => Competent User
  • 7 => Good User
  • 8 => Very Good User
  • 9 => Expert User

A number of Commonwealth countries use IELTS scores as a proof of prospective immigrants’ competence in English.

IELTS test fees

The IELTS test fee from the 1 July 2013 wa INR 9300.

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