• About IELTS
  • Why IELTS
  • IELTS Test Process
  • IELTS Scores Explained
  • IELTS Forms

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System.
IELTS conforms to the highest international standards of language assessment. It tests the four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. IELTS is a secure, valid and reliable test of real-life ability to communicate in English for education, immigration and professional accreditation.

Candidates can sit an IELTS test in over 900 centres and locations around the world. This global test has the highest levels of quality control.

Find out more in the Test format and results section or download a copy of the IELTS Guide for Insitutions and Organisations (PDF, 586KB).

IELTS is jointly owned by IDP: IELTS Australia, British Council and Cambridge English Language Assessment  and delivered through more than 900 test centres and locations in over 135 countries.

IELTS is at the cutting edge of English language testing. The effectiveness of IELTS has been proven since 1989. IELTS test design has continued to incorporate advances in applied linguistics, language pedagogy, language assessment and technology.

Through decades of progressive change, IELTS has remained committed to assessing all four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) with a face-to-face speaking component. This continues to set IELTS apart from other English language tests.

IELTS – a history of innovation
The forerunner to IELTS was the English Language Testing Service (ELTS) introduced in 1980. The test had an innovative format that reflected changes in language learning and teaching theory and developments in language testing. In particular, the ELTS was influenced by the growth in ‘communicative’ language learning and ‘English for specific purposes’. Test tasks were based on an analysis of the ways in which language was used in academic contexts and were intended to reflect the use of language in the ‘real world’.

Ongoing research and development by the British Council and UCLES EFL (now known as Cambridge ESOL) led to a revised testing system and broader international participation with the involvement of the International Development Program of Australian Universities and Colleges (IDP), now known as IDP Education Australia.

IDP, British Council and UCLES formed an international partnership, reflected in the new name for the test: The International English Language Testing System.

IELTS 1989 – 25 years of setting the standard
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) first became operational in 1989. From 1989 IELTS candidates took two non-specialised modules, Listening and Speaking, and two specialised modules, Reading and Writing.

Further modifications to the test were implemented in April 1995. In keeping with this history of innovation, the IELTS partners continue to be committed to the ongoing development of the test. A revised IELTS Speaking Test was introduced in July 2001. New assessment criteria for the Writing Test were operational from January 2005. A computerised version of IELTS was also introduced in 2005 at a number of IELTS centres. Information on all these projects can be found in past issues of the IELTS Annual Review, and in Cambridge ESOL’s quarterly publication – Research Notes.

The current test retains many of the features of the 1980 ELTS including the emphasis on the comprehension of extended text in the receptive papers (Reading and Listening), and the direct testing of performance through a face-to-face Speaking test and the use of the essay and report formats in the Writing test.

Ongoing research and development
International teams of writers contribute to IELTS test materials. Ongoing research ensures that IELTS remains fair and unbiased – wherever and whenever the test is taken – and that IELTS encourages, reflects and respects international diversity and is fair to anyone who sits the test, regardless of nationality, background, gender or lifestyle.

These and the other benefits of IELTS today build on our history of English language testing over many decades.

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System, the world’s most popular high stakes English language test.

IELTS is jointly managed by the IDP: IELTS Australia, British Council and Cambridge English Language Assessment through more than 900 locations in 130 countries.

IELTS was the pioneer of four skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking) English language testing and continues to set the standard for English language testing today. More than 9000 organisations and more than 2.2 million test were taken last year.Organisations and test takers around the world each year trust and recognise IELTS as a secure, valid and reliable indicator of true-to-life ability to communicate in English for the purposes of education, immigration and professional registration.

The IELTS test is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who study or work where English is the language of communication. It is the preferred test of English for students intending to study in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and, increasingly, the USA.

IELTS Academic is recognised widely as a language requirement for entry to all courses in further and higher education where teaching is conducted in English. IELTS General Training is suitable for candidates who are migrating to English-speaking countries or going to English-speaking countries to complete their secondary education or undertake training programs.

Test day procedures:

  1. Confirmation of your test date will be given to you when you submit your application form and your test date will be printed on your receipt.
  2. Check the test centre location.
  3. Arrive at the location by 8.00 am. Candidate registration on the test day closes at 8.45 am. Latecomers will not be admitted into the test room after this time.
  4. Bring the passport indicated on your application form to the test. This is the only form of identity that will be accepted on the test day and it must be valid (not expired) on the test day. If you do not have your valid passport, you cannot sit for the test. If you have a new passport since registering for an IELTS test, you must present your new passport (national ID) at our offices at least 3 days before the test date to ensure we have your new details on the test day.
  5. You must not bring into the test room mobile phones and pagers, electronic equipment, pens, correction fluid, highlighters or anything else that the supervisor of the test asks you to leave outside the exam room. There will be a designated room in which you may leave your personal belongings. Please ensure you have an easily identifiable bag to place them in
  6. If you are caught infringing any of the candidate rules and regulations your test result will be disqualified. This includes but is not limited to lending or borrowing anything from another candidate during the test, attempting to cheat or copy the work of another candidate, talking or disturbing other candidates, removing any materials used during the examination.
  7. Test results will be available 13 days after the completion of your test.
  8. Test results can be collected in person only from GRBS®. You must show your original passport (national ID) and sign for your results. You may check your IELTS results online.
  9. Test results not collected in person will be posted to the address provided on your application within three weeks of the test date.

For more information refer to the IELTS Information for Candidates booklet.

The IELTS Scores Explained DVD is designed to provide information on what the IELTS band scores actually mean. It is particularly aimed at organisations that wish to set appropriate standards of English proficiency for entry to academic courses, as well as for employment and migration purposes.

The hybrid DVD is designed to play both on a computer and on a set-top player linked to a television.

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Windows minimum specification

  • Windows 2000/XP or Vista.
  • Pentium 350Mhz processor or faster
  • 128MB RAM or more
  • DVD drive and audio capabilities

Apple Mac minimum specification

  • Mac OS OSX v10.5
  • PowerPC processor 400Mhz G3 processor or faster
  • 128MB RAM or more
  • DVD drive and audio capabilities

Compulsory Forms
The following forms are required upon application:

Additional Forms
The following forms are not compulsory but may be required in certain circumstances. Please refer to relevant pages for more information.