IELTS known as International English Language Testing System, is the world's most popular English language proficiency test.
It is designed to assess the level of English skills of people whose first language is not English. The purpose of IELTS is mainly for study and immigration settlement and is recognized by professional organizations hence it is being taken by more than 2 million people each year.
IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment through more than 1,000 test centers and locations in over 140 countries.
There are 2 versions of the IELTS tests: Academic and General.
Certificate of Academic IELTS is used for admission to schools, colleges and universities in English-speaking countries. The Certificate of General Training IELTS is mandatory for all who wish to immigrate to or work in UK, Canada, Australia, USA, New Zealand, etc.
The Certificate of IELTS is valid for 2 years unless the user proves that he/she has maintained competency in their English language skills.
The usual schedule for IELTS Academic is conducted once in two weeks and IELTS General once in four weeks.
IELTS consists of 4 Modules to test each fundamentals of language proficiency. They are as follows:
The total duration of the test is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writings are conducted in a common examinational hall whereas the Speaking module is devised to be taken individually on an appointed day a week before or after the test.
For Academic and General IELTS, Listening and Speaking modules have the same content while Reading and Writing modules are different.
All the parts are evaluated on a scale from 0 to 9 points. The total score is counted as arithmetic mean of the four section scores.
The results will be delivered 13 days after the tests. There is no minimum score required to pass IELTS. IELTS score is evaluated on a scale from 0 to 9 points. The IELTS certificate is a Test Report Form (TRF). It is issued to all test takers with a score from "band 1" (non-user) to "band 9" (expert user) and each institution can set a slightly different threshold. Each IELTS score corresponds to some level of English proficiency as bands are displayed above.