Everything you need to know about the IELTS Exam
What is IELTS?
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
It is an International exam, recognised around the world, which assesses language ability of students who would like to study or work where English is the language of communication. IELTS is also recognised immigration authorities and can help students with their visa applications.
There are four parts the exam: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Students can choose to take the exam in two formats; Academic and General. The Academic exam tests whether you are able to study or work using English whereas the General exam tests the students’ skills in social English and how effective their communication is. The Academic paper is essential for Universities/Companies and the General paper is acceptable for immigration use.
You cannot fail the IELTS exam, which is good news!! Instead you are given a band score from 1 to 9 for each part of the exam which then calculates an overall score. Most universities ask between 6 and 7.5 depending on the course. You just need to phone the University of your choice and ask what the requirement is.
Exams usually take place every Saturday but you should book 5 weeks in advance to get the date you want. Results usually take two weeks.
Who takes the exam?
Phillipe : “I wanted to go to University here in the UK to study economics so I needed to take the IELTS academic exam. After speaking to the University I found out that I needed to get a band score of 7 in order to be accepted.“
Maria: “I completed my masters in medicine last year in Spain but I have come to the UK to work. I have found the perfect job at a hospital here in London but for the interview I must take the academic exam and achieve an IELTS score of 8.”
Chung Li: “I would like to extend my visa. By law I must be able to show immigration authorities that I have a B1 level of English. I have chosen to take the General IELTS exam to assess my overall language skills and to be able to demonstrate my communicative skills in English.”
IELTS Listening marking schemes
For the listening test, which contains 40 questions, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.
|Score / 40||39-40||37-38||35-36||32-34||30-31||26-29||23-25||18-22||16-17||13-15||10-12||8-10||6-7||4-5|
IELTS General Reading marking schemes
For the general reading test, which contains 40 questions, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.
|Score / 40||40||39||37-38||36||34-35||32-33||30-31||27-29||23-26||19-22||15-18||12-14||9-11||6-8|
IELTS Academic Reading marking schemes
For the academic reading test, which also contains 40 questions, but is more difficult, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.
|Score / 40||39-40||37-38||35-36||33-34||30-32||27-29||23-26||19-22||15-18||13-14||10-12||8-9||6-7||4-5|
IELTS Writing marking schemes
The two writing questions are marked out of 9 according to the following criteria:
• Task Achievement
• Coherence and Cohesion
• Lexical Resource
• Grammatical Range and Accuracy.
IELTS Speaking marking schemes
The speaking test is also marked out of 9 according to the following criteria:
• Fluency and coherence
• Lexical resource
• Grammatical range and accuracy