International English Language Testing System (IELTS) has been a global standardized English test designed to measure the English language proficiency of people who plan to study or work where English is the language of communication. IELTS is a paper-and-pencil test with 4 sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking, and includes a live, face-to-face speaking interview with a trained and certified Examiner. This allows for a more realistic measure of a speaker’s English proficiency and real world communication abilities.
International students who are non-native English speakers are typically required to provide evidence of their English abilities before they are admitted into a US college or university. IELTS provides a fair, accurate and reliable measure of language skills, and is trusted by organizations worldwide as a proof of English proficiency.
More than 9,000 organizations in 140 countries around the world accept IELTS. Last year, over 2.9 million IELTS tests were taken, making it the world’s most popular high-stakes English language proficiency test for study, work, and migration purposes.
IELTS is jointly owned by a global partnership of education and language experts – the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment. Cambridge is responsible for IELTS test development due to their world-renowned language and research expertise. British Council and IDP are responsible for IELTS test delivery throughout the world due to their combined security and examination expertise.
IELTS USA is the Los Angeles, California based division of IELTS founded in 1999, responsible for providing information and support to organizations that accept and use IELTS in the United States. IELTS USA also manages all IELTS test operations throughout the US test centre network by providing training and support to official testing centres across the country. IELTS is trusted by over 9,000 organizations worldwide, including more than 3,000 US institutions that consist of boarding/independent schools, associate, undergraduate, graduate, professional, and law programs. The test is available in over 140 countries around the world, including more than 50 testing centres across the US.
There are two IELTS tests – Academic and General Training. IELTS Academic is used for higher education and professional certification. IELTS General Training is used for work or migration purposes. The Listening and Speaking sections of IELTS are the same for both Academic and General Training, however, test takers take different Reading and Writing sections, depending on the test they choose.
The Academic Reading includes authentic texts from books, journals, newspapers, etc., whereas the General Training Reading includes authentic texts from company handbooks, official documents, books, newspapers, etc. The differences between the Academic Writing and General Training Writing are in the content, nature, and contextual parameters of the tasks As a test of English as an “international” language, IELTS uses all standard varieties of English – American, Australian, and British, and includes different question task types (for example, matching plan/map/diagram labelling, multiple choice, short-answer, etc.). This is to ensure the test is relevant and fair to test takers regardless of cultural background or where they studied English.
IELTS has more than 1,000 official test centers in over 140 countries around the world, including more than 50 testing locations in major metropolitan cities across the United States. The IELTS USA test center network is comprised of official test venues located on US community college, university and language school campuses.
IELTS tests are available up to 4 times per month, and are offered on Thursdays or Saturdays. Test centers are responsible for selecting which test dates they wish to offer, so be sure to contact your local test center directly for additional information about upcoming dates and availability.
It is recommended that IELTS test takers register at least 1 month before they wish to take the test, so it is important to plan in advance. There is an application form that must be completed and payment must be received in order to confirm your seat for the test. The IELTS test fee is set in each market’s local currency, thus varying by country and eliminating the need for foreign currency exchange. The cost to take IELTS in the US ranges between $215 – $245 USD.
On test day, registered test takers must remember to bring the same valid, unexpired identity document (passport or national identity card for some countries) used to register for the test. In addition, a photograph and finger scan will be taken upon check-in, to confirm identification of each test taker. It is important to arrive on time or you may not be allowed to take the test.
Test results will be released by postal mail 13 days after the test is taken, and an online preview of results is available for 28 days.
If English is not your native language, most universities, employers, professional bodies, immigration authorities, and other government agencies will require proof of your ability to communicate in English. Many of these organizations use IELTS to measure the language abilities of non-native English speakers wishing to study, work, or migrate to a country where English is the language of communication.
IELTS is recognized and trusted by over 9,000 organizations around the world. It is also becoming increasingly more popular in the United States and is now accepted by more than 3,000 US institutions, including boarding/independent schools, associate, undergraduate, graduate, professional, and law programs.
More people go more places with IELTS because it helps more than 2 million test takers in 140 countries, prove they have the appropriate levels of proficiency to communicate in English each year.
Reach - Score accepted by 6000+ institutions in over 135 countries; over 1.4 million candidates appear every year at more than 500 test centres; available on 48 fixed dates a year–up to 4 times a month; 39 test centres in India, held usually on Saturdays & Thursdays. For more info visit: www.ielts.org
Versions & Format - Two versions: The Academic module and The General Training module
About Test - Four parts that takes 2 hours 45 minutes. Listening, Reading & Writing tests are done in one sitting while Speaking test may be on the same day or in 7 days. No limit on sitting in the tests. Usually paper-based but more centres have started the computer-based test (CB IELTS)
Conducting Authority - IELTS is jointly managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL)
Cost of Test - Academic and General Training tests cost the same: around Rs. 7600 in India. It will increase to Rs 8000 from October 1,2011
Test Support - The Official IELTS Practice Materials explain the test format in detail and gives you practice tests and answers
Test Scores - There is no pass or fail. IELTS uses a 9-point scoring system-the Overall Band Score (OBS) where total score varies between 0-9. Candidates receive their Test Report Form in 13 days after the test date
Validity - Scores are valid for two years. One can apply for an enquiry on results procedure within 6 weeks of the test date. You pay an enquiry fee, which is fully refunded if your band score changes
Remarks More common in countries with strong connections to the UK: Australia & Canada, has lately moved into the US; uses British English for academic environment simulation