What is IELTS?
IELTS is the International English Language Testing System which tests English proficiency across the globe. Conducting 1.5 million tests in 2010 globally, IELTS is the world’s most popular high stakes English language proficiency test.
Which organisations accept IELTS?
IELTS is accepted by more than 6000 organisations worldwide. These include universities, immigration departments, government agencies, professional bodies and multinational companies. To search for a recognising institution, use the IELTS Global Recognition System.
Who owns IELTS and who writes the test?
IELTS is jointly owned by IDP: IELTS Australia, British Council and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL) and offered through over 800 test centres and locations in over 130 countries. International teams of writers contribute to IELTS test materials. Ongoing research ensures that IELTS remains fair and unbiased. Test writers from different English-speaking countries develop IELTS content so it reflects real-life situations.
Why are there two versions of the test?
IELTS has two versions – Academic and General Training. The Academic test is for those who want to study at a tertiary level in an English-speaking country. The General Training test is for those who want to do work experience or training programs, secondary school or migrate to an English-speaking country. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests.
Which version should I do?
Read the explanation of the Academic and General Training tests, then contact the organisation or institution to which you are applying to find out what it requires. Note that you must know which version to take when you complete the IELTS Application Form (PDF, 273KB).
What is the test format and how long will it take?
IELTS has four parts – Listening (30 minutes), Reading (60 minutes), Writing (60 minutes) and Speaking (11–14 minutes). The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are done in one sitting. The Speaking test may be on the same day or up to seven days before or after the other tests. Find out more and see a test sample.
How do I practice and prepare for my test?
The Official IELTS Practice Materials explains the test format in detail and gives you practice tests and answers. You can order your Official IELTS Practice Materials in one of three ways:
What help is available for disabled candidates?
Test centres make every effort to cater for the special needs of disabled candidates. It is our aim for all candidates to be assessed fairly and objectively. If you have a special need, talk to our test centre when registering. Centre may need three months to organise arrangements. Find out more.
Where can I take IELTS?
You can take IELTS in over 500 locations worldwide. Search for your nearest test centre on the IELTS Worldwide Search. IELTS centres have friendly, helpful staff who will help you with the registration process.
When can I take IELTS?
IELTS is available on 48 fixed dates a year – up to four times a month, depending on local demand. Check all the test dates for the year or go to your nearest centre to see its next test date.
How much does it cost?
IELTS has a set fee for its test. The Academic and General Training tests are the same cost. To find out the test fee in your local currency, check the IELTS Worldwide Search for your nearest centre.
How do I register for the test?
- Find your nearest IELTS centre and check the test dates to find two options that suit you. Note the deadline for registering for each test date. (You can also see the cost of the test at your centre in local currency on the IELTS Worldwide Search.)
- Check with your organisation or on the Global Recognition System whether you need to sit an Academic or General Training test.
- Print out the IELTS Application Form (PDF, 273KB) or ask your test centre for a copy. Read the information for candidates, terms and conditions, complete the form and sign it. Please make sure you have a valid postal address and use the same name as on your passport.
- Organise two identical passport-sized colour photographs, less than six months old, and sign the back of each. You must not wear glasses in your application photographs. Take a photocopy of your current passport – this must be valid and not expired (some centres will accept a national identity card).
- If you want your results to be sent automatically to a university or educational institution, include the correct details in the section on the IELTS Application Form.
- Take your application into your IELTS test centre with your money. If you send it by mail, please talk to your centre about the method of payment.
- Once you have registered, the test centre will confirm your IELTS test date, time and venue. Please note the Speaking test can be up to 7 days before or after the test date.
- On the test day, you must bring the same passport or national identity card that you entered on the Application Form.
What photographs do I need to provide in my IELTS application?
To apply for an IELTS test you will need to provide two identical passport-sized colour photographs that are no more than six months old. You will need to sign the back of each photo. You must not wear glasses in your application photographs.
What if I need to postpone or cancel my application?
If you postpone or cancel your application more than 5 weeks before the test date, you will receive a refund minus an administration charge.
If you postpone or cancel within 5 weeks of the test date, you will be charged the full fee unless you have a medical reason. If you provide a medical certificate within 5 days of the test date, you will receive a refund minus the local administrative cost.
What if I am absent or sick on the test day?
If you are away on the test day with no prior notice, you will lose your full fee. However, if you provide a medical certificate within 5 days of the test date, you will receive a refund minus the local administrative cost.
Is the IELTS test completed in one day?
The Listening, Reading and Writing components of the test are always completed immediately after each other and with no break. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test may be taken up to 7 days either before or after the test date.
What if I am delayed by circumstances beyond my control (eg a transport strike)?
The test centre may offer you a test on the next available test date.
What can I bring into the examination room?
Only pens, pencils and erasers. You must bring the passport/national identity card you used on the IELTS Application Form to the test.
You must leave everything else outside the examination room. Mobile phones and pagers must be switched off and placed with personal belongings in the area designated by the supervisor. If you do not switch off your phone/pager or keep it on you, you will be disqualified. Find out more about test day.
Which part do I take first?
You do the Listening test first following by the Reading and Writing components of the test. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test may be taken up to 7 days either before or after the test date.
What kinds of accents can be heard in the Listening and Speaking tests?
As IELTS is an international test, a variety of English accents are used in both of these tests.
Does the Listening tape provide instructions and pauses?
Yes. At the beginning, you hear instructions and a sample question. Then you read section 1 questions, listen to section 1 and answer the questions.
The same procedure follows for sections 2, 3 and 4.
In the final 10 minutes, you transfer your answers onto the answer sheet.
Is there a similar period of 10 minutes in the Reading test to transfer answer?
No. The Reading test is one hour, and you must write all your answers on the answer sheet in this time.
Can I use a pen for the Listening and Reading tests?
No. You must do it in pencil. The answer sheet is scanned by a computer which cannot read pen.
Can I make notes on the Listening and Reading question papers?
Yes. The IELTS Examiner will not see your question paper.
What is the Speaking test?
The Speaking test is a conversation with a certified IELTS Examiner. The Speaking test is made up of three sections. It is recorded on an audiocassette or a digital recorder.
What do I need for the Speaking test?
You must bring the same identification documents you supplied on your IELTS Application Form and used for the rest of the test. Your ID will be checked before you enter the interview room.
How are the tests marked?
IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system to measure and report test scores in a consistent manner. You receive individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking and an Overall Band Score on a band scale from one to nine.
Who sets the ‘pass’ mark for the IELTS test?
There is no pass or fail in IELTS. Scores are graded on the 9-band system. Each educational institution or organisation sets its own level of IELTS scores to meet its individual requirements. To find out more, search the IELTS Global Recognition System for specific organisations and scores.
When will I receive my test results?
Your Test Report Form will be posted to you 13 calendar days after your test date. All test centres will post your Test Report Form to you. Keep your Test Report Form in a secure place as you only receive one copy. Some test centres provide SMS alerts and an online results service.
Contact our test centre to find out more.
How many Test Report Forms (TRFs) am I entitled to?
You will be given one (1) copy of your test report form. Up to five (5) copies of your TRF will be posted to the relevant institution(s) you have listed on your IELTS application form. Regular postage is free of charge. Charges for courier services and/or overseas postage will be passed onto candidates. Additional TRFs beyond these five can be requested from the Test Centre which issued the TRF. Please note, an administration fee may be charged for additional TRFs. If you have lost your TRF, please contact the Test Centre which issued your TRF.
If you cannot come to the IELTS test centre office and collect your Test Report Form, you can authorize another person to do this with TRF Authorization Form.
How can I order more Test Report Forms if my test centre has closed since I took the test?
If the test centre where you took your test has closed we can still send a copy of your Test Report Form to any Receiving Organisation for the first two years after your test. If you have not done so, please check under the IELTS Worldwide Search to make sure that your centre has been closed.
To request a Test Report Form you will need to:
- complete an Application for additional TRFs (from closed centres) form (PDF, 570 KB). It is very important that you complete your Family and Given names exactly as they appear on your identification document
- Submit the form by clicking the Submit button at the end of the form
- Include a scanned copy of the passport or identification document that you used when you sat the test (this is done after you click the submit button on the form).
Test Report Forms can only be sent to Receiving Organisations and additional copies will not be sent to the candidate, their families or friends.
There is no charge for this service.
How soon can I re-sit the test?
There is no limit on sitting the test. However, IELTS recommends you do additional study before taking the test again. Some test centres offer preparatory courses and language classes. You can also improve your skills by using the Official IELTS Practice Materials.
What if I feel my test result is wrong?
You can apply for an Enquiry on Results procedure at your test centre within six weeks of the test date. You must pay an enquiry fee, which is fully refunded if your band score changes. Note that IELTS Examiners and markers follow strict assessment guidelines and are regularly monitored. The IELTS testing process has the highest quality control procedures.