IELTS information to candidate

                                                           Information for candidates


           IELTS, the International English Language TestingSystem, is designed to assess the language abilityof candidates who want to study or work    where      English is the language of communication.        IELTS is recognised by over 6,000organisationsworldwide, including universities,employers,professional bodies, immigration authoritiesand other government agencies. For a  list oforganisations that accept IELTS scores, visithttp://bandscore.ielts.orgAccessible and convenientIELTS is offered up to four times a month in morethan 125 countries. Tests are usually on Saturdays orThursdays. To fi nd out test dates in your area, pleasecontact your nearest IELTS test centre. A list of all IELTStest centres worldwide is available at www.ielts.orgThe international testIELTS is internationally focused in its content. Forexample, a range of native-speaker accents (NorthAmerican, Australian, New Zealand, and British) isused in the Listening test, and all standard varietiesof English are accepted incandidates’ responses inall parts of the test.The test that’s tried and trustedIELTS has been developed by some of the world’sleading expertsinlanguage assessment, and issupported by an extensive programme of research,validation and test development.
The level of the testIELTS is designed to assess English language skillsat all levels.

  There is no such thing as a pass or fail in IELTS.Results are reported as band scores on a scalefrom 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest).Preparing to take IELTSMake sure you are readyIt’s important to familiarise yourself with the formatof the test as outlined in this booklet. Furtherinformation on the content of the test can be foundat may fi nd it helpful to do a practice test. OfficialIELTS Practice Materials may be purchased fromtest centres or online at These materials include a full practice testwith answers, and sample Writing and Speakingperformances with examiner comments.More samples of IELTS test material and informationabout the test are available from the following. or
   or   or
            You don’t have to attend a preparation course,but many candidates fi nd that doing so helpsthem improve their performance. If you would like assistance with test preparation, IELTS centres andlanguage schools around the world offer IELTSpreparation courses.Know the IELTS rules and regulationsIt’s important to familiarise yourself with the IELTSrules and regulations. These are laid out in theNotice to Candidates which is included with the application form. When you sign the applicationform declaration, you are confi rming that youhave read and  understood the IELTS rules andregulations and agree to abide by them.Register as soon as possibleWhen you feel you are ready to take the test, youneed to register with your nearest IELTS centre.Contact the centre as soon as possible, as thenumber of candidates who can take the test on aparticular date may be limited. You will need to paythe test fee when you register.
The test that opens doors around the worldThe IELTS Band Score Scale
9 Expert user
8 Very good user
7 Good user
6 Competent user
5 Modest user
4 Limited user
3 Extremely limited user
2 Intermittent user
1 Non user
0 Did not attempt the test


Test results
The Test Report Form
          You will receive a Test Report Form which reports ascore for each of the four skills (listening, reading,writing and speaking), as well as an overall bandscore. Half band scores may be awarded to indicatea strong performance within a particular band.You can fi nd more information on score processingand score interpretation at are issued 13 days after the test.

                       At sometest centres candidates may collect their resultson the 13th day; at others, results are mailed onthe 13th day. Test centres are not permitted to giveresults over the phone or by fax or email.You will receive only one copy of the Test ReportForm. It’s important that you keep it safe asreplacement Test Report Forms cannot be issued.Test centres will send copies of the Test Report Formto up to fi ve recognising organisations free of charge.

                                    Test Report Form validityRecognising organisations will not usually accepta Test Report Form that is more than two years oldunless you provide evidence that you have activelymaintained or tried to improve your English sincetaking the test. The IELTS Test Partners cannotconfi rm the validity of test results that are more thantwo years old.Test formatThere are two modules to choose from – Academicand General Training.Each recognising organisation sets its own entryrequirements. In some cases both modules may beaccepted. If you are in doubt as to which moduleto take, you should contact the organisation you areapplying to in order to check their requirements.Both modules cover all four language skills listening, reading, writing and speaking. Everyonetakes the same Listening and Speaking tests. There
are different Reading and Writing tests for theAcademic and General Training modules.The Listening, Reading and Writing tests must be
completed on the same day. There are no breaksbetween the three written tests.

                                The Speaking testmay be taken up to seven days before or after theother three tests.The Academic module is for candidateswishing to study at undergraduate orpostgraduate levels, and for those seekingprofessional registrationThe General Training module is forcandidates wishing to migrate to an Englishspeakingcountry (Australia, Canada, NewZealand, UK), and for those wishing to trainor study at below degree level

Academic Reading General Training
Academic Writing General Training
Listening example task

The test components
Academic Reading
example task
Timing: Approximately 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes’ transfer time)
Questions: There are 40 questions
          A variety of question types is used, chosen from the following: multiplechoice, matching, plan/map/diagram labelling, form completion, notecompletion, table completion, fl ow-chart completion, summary completion,sentence completion, short-answer questions

Test Parts: There are 4 sections
Section 1 is a conversation between two people set in an everyday socialcontext (e.g. a conversation in an accommodation agency).
Section 2 is a monologue set in an everyday social context (e.g. a speechabout local facilities or a talk about the arrangements for mealsduring aconference).
Section 3 is a conversation between up to four people set in an educationalor training context (e.g. a university tutor and a student discussing anassignment, or a group of students planning a research project)Section 4 is a monologue on an academic subject (e.g. a universitylecture).

 Each section is heard once onlyA variety of voices and native-speaker accents is usedSkills assessed: A wide range of listening skills is assessed, includingunderstanding of main ideas and specifi c factual information; recognisingopinions, attitudes and purpose of a speaker; and following thedevelopment of an argumentMarking: Each correct answer receives 1 markScores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scaleScores are reported in whole and half bands.

Timing: 60 minutes (no extra transfer time)
Questions: There are 40 questions

A variety of question types is used, chosen from the following:

multiplechoice, identifying information (True/False/Not Given), identifying writer’sviews/claims (Yes/No/Not Given), matching information, matchingheadings, matching features, matchings entenceendings,sentencecompletion, summary completion, note completion, table completion, fl owchartcompletion, diagram label completion, short-answer questions

Test Parts: There are 3 sections
The total text length is 2,150-2,750 words

Academic Reading
Each section contains one long text. Texts are authentic and are takenfrom books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been  written for a non-specialist audience and are on academic topics ofgeneral interest. Texts are appropriate to, and accessibleto ,candidate sentering undergraduate or postgraduate courses or seeking professional   Registration. Texts range from the descriptive and factual to the discursiveand analytical. Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams,graphs or illustrations. If texts contain technical terms, then a simpleglossary is providedGeneral Training Reading.

Section 1 contains two or three short factual texts, one of which maybe composite (consisting of 6-8 short texts related by topic, e.g. hotel advertisements). Topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speakingcountry.

Section 2 contains two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues(e.g. applying for jobs, company policies, pay and conditions, workplacefacilities, staff development and training)

Section 3 contains one longer, more complex text on a topic of generalinterestTexts are authentic and are taken from notices, advertisements, companyhandbooks, offi cial documents, books, magazines and newspapersSkills assessed: A wide range of reading skills is assessed, includingreading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail; understandinginferences and implied meaning; recognising a writer’s opinions, attitudesand purpose; and following the development of an argumentListening ReadingAcademic Writing example tas

Marking: Each correct answer receives 1 mark
Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS 9-band scale
Scores are reported in whole and half bands

General Training Reading
example task
Speaking example task
Timing: 60 minutes
Tasks: There are 2 tasks
Candidates are required to write at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least
250 words for Task 2
Test Parts: There are 2 parts
Academic Writing

In Task 1, candidates are presented with a graph, table, chart or diagramand are asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in their
own words. They may be asked to describe and explain data, describethe stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or
In Task 2, candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of
view, argument or problem
                                         The issues raised are of general interest to, suitable for and easilyunderstood by candidates entering undergraduate or post  graduatestudies or seeking professional registration
Responses to Task 1 and Task 2 should be written in a formal style
General Training Writing
In Task 1, candidates are presented with a situation and are asked to writea letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter maybe personal, semi-formal or formal in styleIn Task 2, candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a pointof view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal instyle than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay

Topics are of general interest
Timing: 11-14 minutes
Tasks: The Speaking test is a 3-part face-to-face oral interview with an
The Speaking test is recorded
Test Parts: There are 3 parts
Part 1 Introduction and interview (4-5 minutes)

he examiner introduces him/herself and asks the candidate to introducehim/herself and confi rm his/her identity. The examiner asks the candidate
general questions on familiar topics, e.g. home, family, work, studies andinterests
Part 2 Individual long turn (3-4 minutes)
             The examiner gives the candidate a task card which asks the candidate totalk about a particular topic and which includes points which the candidatecan cover in their talk. The candidate is given 1 minute to prepare their talk,and is given a pencil and paper to make notes. The candidate talks for 1-2minutes on the topic. The examiner then asks the candidate one or twoquestions on the same topic


Part 3 Two-way discussion (4-5 minutes)
                            The examiner asks further questions which are connected to the topic ofPart 2. These questions give the candidate an opportunity to discuss moreabstract issues and ideasSkills assessed: A wide range of speaking skills is assessed, includingthe ability to communicate opinions and information on everydaytopics and common experiences and situations by answering a rangeof questions; the ability to speak at length on a given topic usingappropriate language and organising ideas coherently; and the abilityto express and justify opinions and to analyse, discuss and speculateabout issues.


Candidates are assessed on their performance throughout thetest by certifi cated IELTS examiners according to the four criteria of theIELTS Speaking Test Band Descriptors (fl uency and coherence, lexicalresource, grammatical range and accuracy, pronunciation). The publicversion of the band descriptors can be found at are reported in wholeand half bands
Writing Speakingeneral Training Writing example task Skills assessed: In both tasks, candidates are assessed on their ability to
write a response which is appropriate in terms of content, the organisation ofideas, and the accuracy and range of vocabulary and grammar
Academic Writing.
                  In Task 1, depending on the task type, candidates are assessed on theirability to organise, present and possibly compare data; to describe thestages of a process or procedure; to describe an object or event orsequence of events; to explain how something worksIn Task 2, depending on the task type, candidates are assessed on theirability to present a solution to a problem; to present and justify an opinion;to compare and contrast evidence, opinions and implications; to evaluateand challenge ideas, evidence or an argumentGeneral Training Writing.
             In Task 1, depending on the task type, candidates are assessed ontheir ability to engage in personal correspondence in order to: elicit andprovide general factual information; express needs, wants, likes anddislikes; express opinions (views, complaints etc.)In Task 2, candidates are assessed on their ability to provide generalfactual information; to outline a problem and present a solution; to present
and possibly justify an opinion; to evaluate and challengeideas, evidence or an argument.


Marking: Candidates are assessed on their performance on each taskby certifi cated IELTS examiners according to the four criteria of the IELTSWriting Test Band Descriptors (task achievement/response, coherenceand cohesion, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy). Thepublic version of the band descriptors can be found at
Task 2 contributes twice as much as Task 1 to the Writing scoreScores are reported in whole and half bandsThe test components – additional guidanceListeningonce only.

                        At the end of the test, you will have 10minutes to transfer your answers to the answersheet. It is essential that you transfer  our answers to the answer sheet as nothing youwrite on the question paper will be marked.sheet is given on the next page.

- Pay attention to the word limit. For example,if you are asked to complete a sentenceusing NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS, andincorrect.
- Transfer only the missing word(s) to theanswer sheet. For example, if you havethe morning’ would be incorrect.
- You will hear the word(s) you need to use inthe recording. You will not need to changethe form of the word you hear.
- Pay attention to spelling and grammar: youwill lose marks for mistakes.
- You may write your answers in lower case orin capitals.Readinganswer sheet or you may write them on thequestion paper and transfer them to the answersheet before the end of the test. You will not begiven extra time to transfer answers at the endof the test. Nothing you write othequestionpaper will be marked.sheet is given on the next page.completion):
question types as in Listening (see above).
- The word(s) you use must be taken from theReading text. You must not change the formof the word(s) in the text.Writingfor each task. You willlose marks if you do notwrite at least 150 words for Task 1 and at least250 words for Task 2.

              Task 1 and approximately 40 minutes on Task 2.written in note form or in bullet points will losemarks.punctuation; you will lose marks for wish.nothing you write on the question paper will bemarked.Re-taking IELTSThere are no restrictions on re-taking IELTS. If youdo not get the result you wanted, you can registerfor another test as soon as you feel you are readyto do so.

                         Please note that your score is unlikely toincrease unless you make a significant effort toimprove your English before re-taking the test.Enquiries on ResultsIf you are unhappywith your test result, you canapply for a re-mark (Enquiry on Results) at thecentre where you took the test. You must make theapplication no later than six weeks after the testdate. You can choose which test components arere-marked. There is a fee for this service whichwill be refunded if yourscore on any componentis increased. Enquiries on Results take six to eightweeks to complete.

                   Special RequirementsIn order to ensure that the language ability of allcandidates is assessed fairly and objectively, IELTSprovides a comprehensive service for candidates whohave special requirements, including specific learningdifficulties, hearing difficulties and visual difficulties.

               If you require a modified version of the test, forexample in Braille, you must give the test centrethree months’ notice. This notice period is necessaryfor the modified test version to be prepared. If yourcircumstances require only special administrativearrangements to be made, such as extra time, youmust give the test centre six weeks’ notice. Pleasecontact your test centre to discuss your requirements.Pencil must be used tocomplete the answer sheetWrite your candidate number inthe boxes indicated and shade thecorresponding boxesWrite your language code inthe boxes indicated and shadethe corresponding boxes. (Yourlanguage code will be written onyour desk label).

              Write yourname in capitalletters,Write yourcandidatenumber,Shade a boxto indicate your,genderShade a box toindicate whichmodule you are takingCompleting the Listening/Reading answer sheets Shade the boxesto indicate thetest date Write youranswers in theboxesIf you wantto change ananswer, eraseor cross out theoriginal answerand write in thenew answerDo notwriteanythingin the✓/✗ columnsWrite yourname in capitalletters.
1. Enquiry:
          Contact your nearest IELTS test centre to ask for an application formand find out about available test dates and fees. Contact details for all
IELTS test centres worldwide can be found at You canalso download the application form from the IELTS website.
2. Registration:
             Read through all the information you receive with the application formcarefully. Fill in the application form and either send it or take it to yourtest centre. You will need to enclose the test fee and two identicalpassport-sized colour photographs (not more than 6 months old).Make sure you enter the number of your identity document (yourpassport or national identity card) on the application form. You willalso need to attach a  photocopy of your identity document to theapplication form. The document must be valid at the time of registrationand on the day of the test.
3. Confirmation:
                The test centre will give you written confirmation of the date and timeof the test. If your Speaking test is on a different day, the centre will    also confirm this.
4. Test day:
          Your identity will be checked on the day of the test and before theSpeaking test. You must present the same identity document that youused when you registered for the test. Your photograph may be takenas an additional security measure. A member of the test centre staff  will tell you where and when to go for the test. You will be assigned adesk with a label showing your name.
5. Results:
       Results will be issued 13 days after the test. At some test centres     candidates can collect their results on the 13th day; at other test    centres results are mailed to candidates on the 13th day. Test centresare not permitted to give results out over the phone or by fax or email.
IELTS – your five steps to
University of Cambridge
ESOL Examinations
1 Hills Road
Cambridge, CB1 2EU
United Kingdom
Tel 44 1223 553997
IDP: IELTS Australia
Level 8
535 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel 61 3 9612 4400
Fax 61 3 9629 7697
British Council
Bridgewater House
58 Whitworth Street
Manchester, M1 6BB
United Kingdom
Tel 44 161 957 7755
Fax 44 161 957 7762
IELTS International
825 Colorado Boulevard
Suite 112
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Tel 1 323 255 2771
Fax 1 323 255 1261

        IELTS is jointly managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL). The IELTS testis designed and set by some of the world’s leading experts in language assessment to give a true picture of a candidate’s language skills.IELTS is accredited by OFQUAL, the government’s regulator for examinations in England, and by its counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland.
© UCLES 2010 | EMC/5623/0Y07

Back to top