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Need to pass your IELTS test for your studies or to get a new job position?

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What you need to know about the IELTS test

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam is an English language test that is well known around the world. It is a proficiency test to measure a person's language ability at the time of taking it. Many universities, government immigration systems, and business use it as an entry requirement. It has a reputation of being reliable and well-respected.

There are two versions of IELTS that you can take. They are IELTS General and IELTS Academic. Many universities require candidates to take the academic paper. It also depends on what score you need to achieve, as higher band scores cannot be achieved on the general test.

IELTS tests all four skills - reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The difference between the general and academic papers are the reading and writing tasks. The speaking and listening tests are the same.
  • Listening: 40 questions.
  • Reading: 40 questions and 3 different texts.
  • Writing: General - respond to a situation e.g. letter/email and an essay, Academic - summary of a graph or data set and an essay.
  • Speaking: interview with the examiner composed with 3 parts. First of all, the examiner asks general questions. Then, you will talk about a topic chosen by drawing lots. Finally, the last discussion will be a continuation of this topic.

When you take an IELTS test you will receive a score for each skill area (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) and an overall test score. This is an average of the four scores. There is no pass or fail to the test. They are graded in bands from 0-9, with 0 being no English ability and 9 being proficient or as near-native as possible.

Knowing what you need to achieve before you take the test is very important. Many universities require an IELTS 7 but you need to check if this is for the overall score or if each skill needs to be a band 7.

The IELTS exam can also be used to apply for immigration procedures, in the UK for example via the UKVI.

Registering for the IELTS exam is easy enough to do. You need to find a test centre close to you and then you can complete an application form or register online. Many centres have online registration. You fill out your personal details, pick a test date, upload a copy of your ID (must be valid on the test day) and pay the fee. Make sure to check you have spelt everything correctly! You can check the official IELTS website to find a test location. Note that you can take the IELTS in the city or country of your choice. We have written some articles to help you locate test centres in Canada, in UK, in Ireland, in Germany, in Belgium, in the Netherlands, and in Switzerland.

Preparing to take the IELTS test is key to being able to achieve the score you want. You need to learn about the structure of the tests - question types, length of texts, types of audio used etc. Then you need to practice them all and develop some sound exam skills. This is the only way to finish the tasks in the set time limits. Throughout this process you should also be continuing to improve your English language ability.

The IELTS practice materials available to you on GlobalExam are everything you need to help you achieve this goal. We have areas for language development, learning and practicing correct exam skills, the ability to track your progress and work on areas that need more development, and you can take a full IELTS exam under exam conditions! You can also take a look at our blog which is full or articles on exam techniques, vocabulary and grammar practice, testimonies and general tips to help you study and succeed!