What is the IELTS test?

IELTS is an internationally recognised English language assessment. It is often used by universities and visa departments to check the level of applicant’s English.

There are two types of IELTS test: an academic test, and a general test. Students must choose which they wish to do.

Who runs the test?

The test is run by Cambridge International Language Assessment, British Council, and IDP Education (based in Australia).

The test can be taken in approximately 130 different countries.

How often is the test run?

The test is run over 40 times a year. However students must wait at least 90 days between taking tests.

How many people take it each year?

Over 2 million people take the test each year.

What parts make up the test?

The test is based on 4 key skills:

listening (40 minutes – 30 minutes of listening + 10 extra minutes to write/check answers)
reading (60 minutes)
writing (2 parts, 60 minutes total)
speaking (10-15 minutes)

In total the test is about 3 hours long.

How does the scoring work?

The scoring ranges from 0-9. 9 is the maximum score.
Scores go up in 0.5s.

Which countries traditionally do well?

Unsurprisingly countries that teach English in schools, have strong education systems, or experience a lot of English in their culture tend to get the highest scores.

In 2012 the highest average marks were scored in Germany.

However, the test itself does not favour any country. Tests are marked the same all over the world.

Is there an official website?

The British Council’s IELTS page is http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org