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What is IELTS?

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

With its recognition in over 10,000 organizations globally, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is still the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration.

Last year, over three million tests were taken around the world. IELTS continues to open doors for academic and professional opportunities worldwide.

Expand your horizons with IELTS!

Introduction

Some Basic Facts

IELTS is widely accepted by schools and education institutions in English-speaking countries including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada as a language proficiency test to measure prospective students’ abilities to communicate in English. It is the designated English language test for those migrating to Canada, New Zealand and Australia and is widely accepted as the proficiency test for professionals seeking employment in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. IELTS is highly flexible in its test contents and provides a meaningful and accurate assessment of the 4 language skills of a candidate.

Test Components 1

test test test

Test Components

IELTS assesses your abilities in Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.

Test Format

The test is paper-based in exception for IELTS for UKVI (Academic) where candidates can choose between paper-based and computer-based testing. The speaking test is conducted by an examiner.

Scoring

You get individual band scores for each of the 4 test papers, and the OVERALL BAND SCORE is the average of the 4 component scores.

Banding

0-9

Test Dates

4 sessions of tests are held each month

Validity of Test Results

2 years

IELTS and the CEFR

IELTS Band Score What does that mean? CEFR
1 Non User
2 Intermittent User
3 Extremely Limited User
4 Limited User B1 (4-5)
5 Modest User B2 (5.5-6.5)
6 Competent User
7 Good User C1 (7-8)
8 Very Good User
9 Expert User C2 (Above 8)

Choose the Right IELTS Test

Why IELTS Listening Reading Speaking Writing Online Paper-based
IELTS Academic Local or overseas studies / exchange students            
General Training Migration and working abroad            
IELTS for UKVI Academic To pursue further studies at home or abroad at under-graduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration in the UK.          
General Training To pursue further studies at home or abroad at foundation or below degree levels or to enrol in English language/pre-sessional courses.          
IELTS Life Skills A1 To apply for a spouse (partner)/family visa      
B1 To apply for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship      

IELTS and IELTS for UKVI

Course TypesFoundation Courses, Pre-sessional Courses, English Language, Schools, Below-degree Level, CoursesUndergraduate and Postgraduate Programmes
Types of UK Education Institutions UK higher education providers that fall into the category of Highly Trusted Sponsors IELTS for UKVI IELTS
UK higher education providers that do not fall into the category of Highly Trusted Sponsors IELTS for UKVI IELTS for UKVI

Preparing for your IELTS test

IELTS is available in two test versions: Academic – for people applying for higher education or professional registration, and General Training for those migrating to Australia, Canada and the UK, or applying for secondary education, training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment. Both versions provide a valid and accurate assessment of the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

 

Test Components at a Glance

Paper What’s inside? Exam Skills/ Tips
Listening 40 questions (The recordings will last approximately 30 minutes, and you will have another 10 minutes to transfer your answers)

There are altogether 4 sections.

Task types: sentence completion, multiple choice, short-answer questions, plan/map/diagram labelling etc.

Questions in Sections 1 & 2 mainly deal with everyday life situations that are typical in English-speaking communities.

Questions in Sections 3 & 4 are more educational, academic and macro in nature.

Write your answers on the answer sheet as you listen. You are allowed to make notes on the question paper, but don’t bother using an eraser if you need to make changes. Just cross the irrelevant parts out.
Reading 40 questions (60 minutes)

The Reading Paper includes 3 texts.

Task types: all sorts of completion, multiple choice, matching, short-answer questions, true or false questions etc.

Sources: Each text is around 800-900 words and will be taken from various sources.

You may spend around 20 minutes on each text. Read the headings FIRST. It helps you to decide smart – whether you need to read from the beginning of the text or to just identify answers from relevant paragraphs of the passages.

Exercises and Reference Books

Name of Publication What’s inside?
Cambridge IELTS 10 A must-have reference book for IELTS learners! A great opportunity for you to get yourself familiar with everything about IELTS from its test format, exam techniques to practice materials.
Top Tips for IELTS Top Tips for IELTS revision guides designed to provide practical guidance and advice to candidates for each part of the IELTS tests (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking). It is produced by Cambridge English and written by IELTS material writers with many years’ experience of setting and marking the IELTS test.
IELTS Official Practice Materials Vol.2 You may find it helpful to do a practice test. IELTS has developed two sets of official practice materials, designed to help you understand the test format and the types of test questions.
The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS is the definitive guide to IELTS. It contains all you need to succeed in the exam. Skill-building exercises cover all of the question types in the exam for both the General Training and Academic Modules.
IELTS Advantage: Writing Skills A fully comprehensive resource for passing the writing component of the IELTS exam with a grade of 6.5-7.0 or higher. It guides candidates step-by-step through the different tasks in the writing module. It shows students how to organise and structure an answer for all types of task 1 and 2 questions.
IELTS Advantage: Writing Skills A fully comprehensive resource for passing the Academic Reading Test with a grade of 6.5-7.0 or higher. Students who are taking the General Training Test can also benefit from the book. This book teaches a range of key strategies for reading more effectively and for understanding texts more easily, such as skimming, scanning and speed-reading techniques, helping students to get a better result in the Reading paper.
IELTS Advantage: Speaking and Listening Skills A fully comprehensive resource for achieving 6.5 or higher in the Speaking and Listening components of the IELTS exam. Students are guided step-by-step though the different stages of the speaking and listening components, using lively material covering a wide range of the topics that are likely to occur in the exam.

*Please contact our office to check availability of book.

Online Study Aids

Materials/Resources What’s inside?
Writing IELTS Buddy.com IELTS Writing eBooks to get you the score you need
Listening TED Talk A media organization which posts talks online for free distribution, under the slogan “ideas worth spreading”.
Reading BBC News An online news portal operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that publishes a wide variety of English articles including news, drama, comedy, science and history.
Speaking IELTS 1001 Ways “1001 Ways” is a fun and educative mobile app that allows you to learn English accents from all over the world. All you have to do is watch a video of a person speaking and guess where the person is from. Test your listening skills and become an accent expert!
Cambridge English A helpful site where you can find test information, exercises, sample papers, worksheets and candidate handbooks to help you equip yourself for success.
Road to IELTS The British Council’s online preparation course that offers 10 hours of free mock papers. Extra 20 hours of practice is available for test takers who register for IELTS with British Council.
Overall Ability to Use English Learn English IELTS LearnEnglish is brought to you by the British Council, the world’s English teaching experts. If you want to learn English, this is the perfect site! In the IELTS section you can find practice materials and advice to help you prepare for the listening, speaking, reading and writing modules of the IELTS test.
Future Learn This site offers a six week free online course about IELTS test. Improve your English and prepare for tests, such as IELTS reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Others Free online dictionary from Cambridge English dictionary

Useful Apps

App What’s inside?
Road to IELTS The British Council’s online preparation course that offers 10 hours of free mock papers. Extra 20 hours of practice is available for test takers who register for IELTS with British Council.
Word Power Expand your vocabulary and challenge yourself with its word quizzes
1001 ways Learn English accents from all over the world through interactive games
Turn In Radio Listen to BBC News

Online Discussion Forums

Discussion Forum What’s inside?
All Nurses Join the forum and learn from fellow nurses about nurse application in different countries like UK and USA.
Pinoy Exchange A popular Filipino forum about anything under the sun. For aspiring nurses, do checkout their Pinoy Nursing section.
UKEAS UKEAS is an education consultancy which provides free and impartial counselling and application services for international students wishing to study at high schools, colleges and universities in the United Kingdom. You may chat with their counsellors online or book an appointment for a face to face consultation.
Pinoy Australia Information Forum This Filipino Australian forum shows all available information about working, studying and living in Australia. Click on the IELTS, PTE and OET Topics category for threads about IELTS.
Education USA Philippines

EducationUSA at the U.S. Embassy offers you a unique opportunity to work with experienced advisers on opportunities to study in the U.S. EducationUSA advisers provide free, accurate and unbiased information regarding higher education opportunities, scholarships and application procedures. Free in-person advising is available by appointment.

*Information from forums and third-party sites are not endorsed by British Council.

IELTS for overseas employment and education

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.

Preparation

Prepare a list of target schools before the application period begins and take note of the application deadline(s).

Prepare your work portfolio, letters of recommendation and personal statement

You can kick off the application process once you have chosen your target school. Don’t worry if your test reports are not yet ready. It’s okay as long as you send them to the school before the application deadline. Always observe the school’s rules and procedures.

Useful Websites for Applying as Nurse

Country Website for reference
UK Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Australia Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
USA American Nurses Association (ANA)
Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)
Canada Study in Canada

Sample Action Plan for Reference

  What to do? Timing
Gather information Find out more about study tours/short courses/studying at an overseas institution, possible destinations and the various types of schools. Take a look at useful websites or approach an education consultant/agent. 15 to 18 months prior to the start of the academic term
Identify your destination country and school Understand your own needs and budget constraints. Decide which English language proficiency test is right for you and prepare your local school test reports. 12 to 14 months prior to the start of the academic term
Apply online Choose your institution and your preferred type of accommodation. Submit your application online and decide how you are going to pay your tuition fees.

Check if all necessary documents are ready

10 to 12 months prior to the start of the academic term
Prepare required documents Receive the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), Accommodation Letter and Tuition Fee Debit Note from your chosen institution and apply for documents required for studying abroad (air tickets, visa and health report). 6 to 9 months prior to the start of the academic term
Know your new environment Find out what you need to know for working or studying abroad. Work out how to manage your money and everyday life. Arrange remittance and/or airport pick-up services if required. 3 months prior to the start of the academic term
Get ready for your new endeavour Get your CAS, student visa and other documents ready. 1 month prior to the start of the academic term
 

How much does it cost to study abroad?

Destination Estimated Costs
UK GBP8,000-36,000
Australia AUD14,000-37,000
USA USD15,000-50,000
Canada CAD5,500-26,000
New Zealand NZD15,000-25,000
*Figures are for reference only and do not include living and accommodation expenses.

Useful Education Websites

Destination Education website for reference
UK Education UK and UCAS
Australia Study in Australia
USA Education USA
Canada Study in Canada
New Zealand New Zealand government website
 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I know which IELTS test is right for me?

If you are applying for higher education or studying abroad, you should register for the IELTS Academic Test. On the other hand, the IELTS General Training Test is for people who are going to English-speaking countries for non-academic training, work or migration.

Each recognising organisation sets its own entry requirements. In some cases, both modules may be accepted. If you are in doubt as to which module to take, you should contact the organisation you are applying to in order to check their requirements. We are not allowed to tell you which module you should take.

How can I know which IELTS test is right for me?

If you are applying for higher education or studying abroad, you should register for the IELTS Academic Test. On the other hand, the IELTS General Training Test is for people who are going to English-speaking countries for non-academic training, work or migration.

Each recognising organisation sets its own entry requirements. In some cases, both modules may be accepted. If you are in doubt as to which module to take, you should contact the organisation you are applying to in order to check their requirements. We are not allowed to tell you which module you should take.

What identity proof should I bring on the test date?

You are required to show the same identity proof (the original) as the one recorded in your application when you attend the written and oral tests. If you fail to do so you may be refused entry to the test room, and your application for a refund or change of test date will not be accepted. If you have your passport recently renewed, please send a copy of your new passport to your test centre before the test date. As you are required to show your renewed passport to gain entry into the test room, adjust your schedule if you need to apply for a visa.

 

What should I do if I need to change the test type/test location or cancel the test after submitting my application?

We recommend that you contact the test centre to which you submit your application 5 weeks before the test date. Your test centre may, based on its established policy, charge you an administration/handling fee for this.

What should I bring along on the test date?

On the test date, you should bring along the same identity proof (the original) as the one recorded in your application. If you fail to do so you will be refused entry to the test room, and no refund or change of test date will be allowed. If you have your passport recently renewed, please send a copy of your new passport to your test centre before the test date.

Stationery items, pencils and erasers are not allowed as this will be provided by British Council. You may bring inside a sharpener and transparent bottle of water. No labels should be attached to the bottle. No mobile phones, electronic devices and personal belongings such as wallets, hats and keys are allowed in the test room.

How does IELTS ensure that all test takers are treated with the utmost fairness? Will an examiner’s nationality have an impact on the candidate’s test results?

All IELTS examiners are native speakers of English and qualified professionals who have been duly and thoroughly trained to carry out the assessments. Their performances are regularly reviewed and monitored to ensure the highest level of professionalism. The same benchmark is used by all examiners to evaluate a candidate’s performance on the test date for absolute fairness and objectivity. A specific proportion of test papers will be automatically remarked to enhance security and reliability of test results.

What can I do if I can’t show up on the test date?

No refund or cancellation is accepted though you are allowed to change the test date for serious illness, loss or bereavement, hardship or trauma, or military service. In that case, please submit your request to your test centre within 5 working days from the test date with supporting evidence (such as a medical certificate). Only original documents that clearly state your inability to appear for the test on the scheduled test date are accepted. Request will be subject for approval by the Test Administrator.

 

How many organisations can I nominate for IELTS test results to be sent free of charge on my behalf?

When you register for IELTS, you can name a maximum of 5 organisations to be sent your IELTS test results on your behalf. This service is free of charge, postage is all you need to pay. As your IELTS results are valid only for 2 years from the test date, such service will not be provided after the 2-year period. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you make your own copies once you get your test report.

Will my application for remarking impact negatively on my current results? How does IELTS ensure that its remarking service conforms to the highest standards?

IELTS strives to treat all test takers with the utmost fairness, and remarking, which is administered centrally by Cambridge English Language Assessment, is the vital and final step to ensure that your abilities to use English are accurately assessed. It is possible that you get higher, lower or the same scores after remarking. In the first scenario, IELTS will send you a new TRF and a notification letter on the results. For those who get lower scores or whose scores remain unchanged, they will also receive a notification letter and their original TRF will be returned.

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