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7 key information to remember

IELTS (International English Language Testing system) is a standardized English test for individuals who wish to live in an English speaking country, whether for work or for studies. The Cambridge Assessment English, which is part of the Cambridge University, is working on the content production of this test. For the past few years, this English assessment has received increasing international recognition. This is why IELTS proves to be an attractive exam for different candidate profiles. According to the website of the French British Council, no less than 3 million people take the IELTS English test each year. This impressive figure makes IELTS one of the most popular language tests in the world.

Two distinct IELTS tests

The International english language testing system (IELTS) is made up of two tests, each one has a specific purpose and is different from the other. Therefore, we can distinguish the IELTS Academics dedicated to higher education establishments and the IELTS General Training recognized by the professional world. In both cases, the IELTS assesses the language skills required for the overall mastery of the English language.

In its two versions, the IELTS lasts 2:45 and is divided into several parts. Each IELTS exam section has its own rules and assesses a specific linguistic skill.

An exam divided into 4 parts

IELTS is made up of the following sections:

  • Oral comprehension (Listening): in this part, the candidate must answer 40 questions in the form of multiple choices, fill in the gap texts or diagrams which need to be completed, after listening to various audio extracts (conversations, monologues, read texts, etc.). This test lasts 30 minutes and is divided into 4 exercises (short conversations, monologues, long conversations and readings).
  • Written comprehension (Reading): the candidate is asked to answer 40 questions related to 3 different texts, presented in the order of increasing difficulty. The test lasts 1 hour and the exercise is about looking for relevant words in the texts which are presented. So if you were to prepare well in advance, you can score a lot of points. To manage time properly, we advise you to devote 15 minutes to the first text, 20 minutes to the second and 25 minutes for the last one.
  • Written expression (Writing): the candidate has to write two essays, a first text of 150 words and a second one of 250 words, all in 1 hour. For the first draft, it concerns an essay in the form of a commentary on a graph, table or diagram in the case of the IELTS Academic, or in the form of a letter to a friend for the IELTS General Training. It is encouraged that you spend around 20 minutes on this first exercise. The second exercise concerns responding to a problem on a given topic and requires approximately 40 minutes.

Example of writing exercise requested in part 2 of the IELTS Writing:

Write about the following topic:

The Internet has definitely changed the world as we know it. It has connected people from around the world and made so many new forms of communication possible. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

  • Oral expression (Speaking): this final IELTS section is a face-to-face interview with an examiner and lasts less than 15 minutes. The criteria taken into account for the notation include speech fluency, consistency in speech, enriched vocabulary, quality of sentence structure and pronunciation. The interview takes place in 3 parts:
    • Exercise 1: the examiner asks general questions to the candidate about his personal situation (studies, work, hobbies, centers of interest, etc.). The test lasts 4 to 5 minutes.
    • Exercise 2: the candidate must speak for 2 minutes on a specific topic previously picked at random. The person has 1 minute to prepare.
      • example of given topic:
        • “Describe starting a business. Be sure to say : what business you would start, the things you would need to do, who would your business cater to and where you would conduct business.”
        • ”Describe how a piece of music makes you feel. Be sure to talk about : what kind of music it is, what emotions it brings up for you and when the last time you heard this piece was.”
    • Exercise 3 : an open discussion on the subject drawn randomly is initiated between the examiner and the candidate. This part lasts 4 to 5 minutes.

How is the IELTS score calculated?

The IELTS score ranges from 0 to 9. A score of 1 corresponds to a beginner level, while the candidate obtaining a score of 9 is considered to be expert or bilingual. The final IELTS score is obtained by averaging the scores obtained in each section of the test, each of these tests are also scored from 0 to 9

How to get a good score on IELTS ?

Obtain at good score on IELTS means getting a score between 6 and 9. A grade greater than or equal to 6 certifies a very good level of English and makes it easier for you to get a spot in an English-speaking university, college or company. The following table summarizes the language levels which correspond to the various possible scores for the IELTS:

IELTS Score Mastery on language CECRL correspondance
0 didn’t take the test
1 inability to speak English. Only knows certain words here and there.
2 difficulty communicating and being understood A2
3 difficulty communicating but makes do with familiar situations A2
4 does not use complex language but can communicate in a daily life context B1
5 understands the general context of a situation but makes many mistakes B1
6 fairly good command on the language in an unfamiliar context and good command in terms of everyday situations B2
7 good general command over the language C1
8 very good command over the language C1
9 total mastery over the language, great oral fluency C2

Like with all language assessments, the candidate's score entirely depends on their objective. If you are a student and are passing an English examination, it’s best for you to score above 6 on the IELTS. Generally speaking, this score corresponds to the minimum score requested by schools and higher education establishments abroad. Many institutions require a B2 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale to welcome a candidate. This translates to a score of 6 to 6.5 on the IELTS. Therefore, it is important that you adapt and intensify your IELTS preparation, depending on the goals.

If you are looking for a job, we advise you to find out the specific expectations in terms of the English level in your sector of activity. Companies generally ask for variable scores depending on the positions and the sector of activity.

IELTS can also be useful for people involved in an immigration or expatriation procedure.

To register for the IELTS Test, you are required to contact the British Council. You can register directly with one of the British Council's examination centers, but registration can also be done online. Registering online is easier, faster and more secure. Registration must be done at least one month before taking the test (however you are encouraged to register 2 months in advance to make sure you have a spot and to be able to manage your availability, to the best). Go to the official website of the British Council, in the section “Take an exam” then “IELTS” to register through just a few clicks.

The fees vary depending on the country. The fees can be paid directly online at the time of registration, through bank transfer in the following days, directly with the British Council Paris or by sending a check to the headquarters at the British Council.

You can take the IELTS in these countries: Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, etc.

IELTS is a standardized English exam, whose structure remains identical each time they pass. To boost your success rate, it is essential to learn and understand the instructions and how the exercises of this test are carried out. A preparation phase including standard exercises, several mock tests but also English grammar and vocabulary lessons, which allow you to get used to the structure of the exam and the precise rules. This type of IELTS training and preparation program will allow you to avoid unpleasant surprises on the day of the test and detect “traps” more easily.

Contrary to popular belief, being naturally good at English is not enough to pass IELTS successfully. Many candidates who have a good level but don’t prepare enough for the test are surprised and then obtain a score much below their true potential.

To prepare for IELTS, some people choose to favor intensive courses or language courses, while others combine face-to-face training with online preparation.

A complete and interactive training platform

GlobalExam's IELTS online training combines two main tools:

  • quality standard exercises, useful for strengthening precise skills due to detailed corrections and the possibility of being able to repeat an exercise, while having access to one’s progress level
  • mock IELTS tests which allow you to get a glimpse of the English test as a whole and to train in real exam conditions, so that you can work on your time management and focus

Contrary to popular belief, being naturally good at English is not enough to pass IELTS successfully. Many candidates who have a good level but don’t prepare enough for the test are surprised and then obtain a score much below their true potential.

To prepare for IELTS, some people choose to favor intensive courses or language courses, while others combine face-to-face training with online preparation.

On our GlobalExam e-learning platform, the entire content is written by competent teachers and experts in language teaching. These rich and varied contents allow you to understand the structure of the exercises in depth but also the test in general. On GlobalExam, you can also access your answers and your progress statistics. These decisive tools for positive development allow you to follow your progress on a daily basis and identify potential points to work on, in order to stacks all odds by your side for IELTS.

A blog filled with advice and information on test logistics

GlobalExam is an interactive training platform but it is also a blog. There are a lot of tips and resources to help you learn more about IELTS. These resources are educational and of quality. These include many English lessons on grammar and vocabulary available in the form of precise and complete revision sheets. We also wish to share our expertise, acquired over the years, on language tests through our blog. The GlobalExam blog is the best way to pass on all the knowledge we have acquired, since our creation. Accessing the blog is of course free and this allows you to have a huge source of information at your disposal, not to mention how to register for IELTS, the most appropriate revision medium or even the various phases to prepare properly. Our blog also gives you information on the places where you can pass the IELTS, explains why you need to prepare, describes the content of the various sections in detail etc. Therefore, the GlobalExam blog is a significant resource for information and courses, to be consumed without moderation during your test preparation phase.