General Overview of IELTS

What is the IELTS? 

The IELTS (the International English Language Testing System) is a test of English language proficiency. The whole point is usually to measure English language ability, and then report scores to colleges and universities, or employers or sometimes for immigration purposes.

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It is one of the most widely used English language exams around the world. There are two main forms of the IELTS. The first is the Academic IELTS. And that version, as you can guess, is used mainly by colleges and universities for admissions decisions. Then there's the General Training IELTS, and that one is more often used by employers or for integration purposes in some other uses as well. 

Who makes the IELTS? 

The IELTS is a joint partnership among the British Council, IDP Education, which is based in Australia, and Cambridge English Language Assessment. The creators of this exam have intentionally made an internationally focused exam. You can expect to hear a wide variety of accents on the listening section of the exam. You may hear Canadian accent, you may hear someone from New Zealand or Australia, or the UK. Many different accents and many different forms of native English are represented on this exam. Some of the general features of this test. So the full IELTS takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete.


And that's true for the General Training and the Academic IELTS. However, the exam is divided into two major sections (paper exam and speaking exam). And on the paper exam, you will take the Listening, Reading and Writing sections. And that will all occur in one session with no breaks. The Paper exam is separate from the Speaking Exam which you schedule separately at a different time. You can take the Speaking Exam on the same day as the Paper exam. But you can also take it one week before or one week after your Paper exam. The Speaking Exam is an in person interview that lasts about 11 to 15 minutes.

Where is the IELTS offered?

Well, currently it is offered at 1100 locations around the world, often you can find the IELTS exam in major cities, and the number of testing centers is growing.

There are regular testing dates each month for the IELTS. So there's no IELTS season, it doesn't happen in the fall, or the summer, or spring. They do offer the exam year-round.

But most testing centers do not offer IELTS every single day, and so spaces are also limited. You should definitely not wait until the last minute to schedule your exam. In fact, some centers you have to schedule your exam at least two weeks ahead of the date. You should plan ahead and figure out which day you want to take the exam as early as you possibly can.

How do you sign up for the IELTS?

You need to select a location and the date and time that you will take the exam. So that's something you need to decide ahead of time. And then you fill out a simple application, and you need to pay the fee.

The fee is calculated differently, obviously, depending on where you are. For example, if you're in the U.S., you'll pay $200 for the exam, it cost 190 Euros currently, and 115 Pounds. You should check when you sign up with the exam on the current pricing information. Finally, you have to provide a passport when you sign up before the exam.

So you'll provide a copy when you originally sign up. And then on exam day, you need to bring that passport with you to the center to prove that you are the person you say you are. So that's one important step you'll have to follow when you sign up for the exam. 


That is really basic information about the IELTS. So it is a much shorter experience, and you'll have to think about how you want to schedule yours when it's time for you to plan for your test.