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Everything you need to know about IELTS

Before you start pursuing your dreams of studying abroad, you must prove to the college/university admission department that you possess complete mastery of the English language. For this, you need to take the IELTS.

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardised test for non-native English speakers to prove their proficiency in the English language. If you wish to work, study or move to a country where English is the first language, this test will help you assess your skills in the language.

Why choose IELTS?

  • IELTS is one of the world's most popular standardised tests for testing your English language proficiency.
  • The test is designed by the most reputable language experts from the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
  • The IELTS test results are recognised and accepted by more than 11,000 institutions worldwide.

ILETS test types

There are two types of IELTS tests:

  • The IELTS Academic test
  • The IELTS General Training test

Difference between IETLS academic & IELTS general

IELTS Academic IELTS General

Recommended for students seeking higher education at the degree level.


Recommended for students seeking studies below the degree level (schools), individuals going for work and immigration.


The test includes words you’d commonly encounter in the academic setting.


The test includes English language skills required in a social setting and work environment.

Ways to take the IELTS

The IELTS exam is conducted in two ways:

  • Paper-delivered (PD) IELTS – You will have to sit in an official IELTS examination centre with question papers and answer sheets. There will be a trained IELTS examiner to conduct your Speaking test face-to-face.
  • Computer-delivered (CD) IELTS – At an official IELTS examination centre, you’ll take the test in front of a computer, with the questions on-screen. A trained IELTS examiner will conduct the Speaking test in person.

Differences between PD IELTS & CD IELTS


You give the test with physical question papers and answer scripts.


You give the test on a computer.


You can write the answers in pen or HB pencils.


You must submit your answers online and take the exam using a keyboard and mouse.

IELTS highlights

Exam name: IELTS
Full form of exam name: International English Language Testing System
Official Website: https://www.ielts.org/
Useful for: Students, working individuals, and people seeking to immigrate to the UK, New Zealand, Australia
Countries accepting IELTS: 140+ countries, including the UK, the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, etc.
Test is conducted by: IDP Education Ltd.
Mode of examination: Paper-based and computer-based
Types of IELTS test: Academic & General Training
IELTS Fees in India: Rs 15,500
Score Range: 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest)
IELTS Contact Information: IDP India:- Toll Free No. : 1800-102-4544 Email ID : ielts.india@idp.com. Mon to Sat - 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM.

IELTS eligibility

Any person above 16 is eligible to take the IELTS exam. Exceptions are made on special occasions where a school needs the IELTS scores for admission purposes.

IELTS registration

There are two ways to register for the IELTS exam:

Register online

  1. - Visit the IELTS registration site.
  2. - Check availability and select a date for your test.
  3. - Fill up the required details.
  4. - Upload the documents.
  5. - Book and complete the payment.

Register offline

  1. - You may register in person at the nearest IDP IELTS Branch or Referral partner.
  2. - Take the photocopy of your passport ID (front & Back page) and signed and dates declaration document to the your local test centre.

IELTS exam fees

The IELTS exam fees in various countries are:

  • Australia – approx. AUD 340
  • United Kingdom – approx. £162 - £180
  • Canada – approx. CAD 309 – 319
  • United States – approx. $310

The prices may change based on the exchange rate. For further enquiries about the IELTS exam fees in your country, get in touch with your local test centre.

IELTS exam dates

IELTS test dates are offered upto 4 times in a month making a total of 48 fixed test dates in one calendar year. The availability of IELTS dates in India may differ for the Academic and General Training module. While the Academic version is available on all 48 dates, the General Training version is available on 24 dates. In order to create flexibility and convenience, tests are mostly held on Saturdays and Thursdays.

Please note that listening, reading, writing (LRW) tests shall take place on the same day while the speaking tests will be conducted upto 7 days prior and/or post the test date. It may be possible that your nearest IELTS test location may not offer the same date as another IELTS test city location.

IELTS exam pattern

The IELTS examination pattern divides the test into 4 sections:

  • IELTS Listening
  • IELTS Reading
  • IELTS Writing
  • IELTS Speaking

All examinees take the same test for Listening and Speaking. However, there are separate tests for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training for Reading and Writing.

IELTS score

The IELTS scores are on a band scale of 0 (did not attempt the test) to 9 (expert). The overall band score is calculated after taking the mean scores of all the four sections – Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking.

IELTS result

1. For computer-delivered IELTS

You will receive your IELTS results online within 3-5 days after taking the test.

2. For paper-delivered IELTS

The results will be available online at 12:00 am GMT on the 13th day after the test.

IELTS preparation tips

  • Take many preparatory tests
  • Become familiar with the test structure
  • Avoid memorising answers for speaking and listening
  • Practice listening skills by watching TV dramas, movies, etc
  • Learn more vocabulary
  • Time yourself when taking practice tests
  • Expand your reading list and familiarise yourself with many writing styles

IELTS preparation books

  • The Official Cambridge Guide for IELTS
  • IELTS Practise Tests Plus 2 with Key and CD Pack
  • Barron’s IELTS Superpack
  • Simone Braveman’s Target Band 7
  • Road to IELTS

IELTS indicator

The IELTS Indicator is an online exam covering all four skills of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. You can give this exam from your home. However, you cannot substitute the Indicator test for the official IELTS exam. Furthermore, the scores are not accepted if you wish to migrate to Australia, Canada or New Zealand.


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Frequently asked questions

The only eligibility to take the IELTS exam is to be 16 years or older. So, anyone can sit for the exam.

You can take the IELTS exam from your local IELTS test centre.

The IELTS exam fees vary from country to country. You can contact your nearest IELTS test centre to get an accurate idea.

The IELTS scores follow a 9-band scoring system where 0 is the lowest and 9 is the highest.

There is no limit to the number of times you can sit for your IELTS exam. However, it is best to prepare thoroughly before re-applying.

You can postpone/reschedule your IELTS exam date by contacting the exam centre where you have reserved your date. If you reschedule/cancel your exam 5 weeks prior to the exam date, you can get a full refund, excluding the associate administration fees.

You will have to attempt the Writing section first, followed by the Reading and Listening components one after the other without taking any breaks. The Speaking test is usually taken 7 days before or after the date of the written examination.

The IELTS score is valid for 2 years. The validity starts from the moment your results are published.

While a few universities do not require an IELTS score for the admission process, most reputable institutions consider IELTS mandatory.

You can take the IELTS Indicator test from the comfort of your home. However, it is not a substitute for the official exam, which you must take from a designated IELTS examination centre.

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