The International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

is a British examination which assesses the English language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. 

“IELTS tests all four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. The IELTS Speaking test is a face-to-face interview with a certified examiner. It is interactive and as close to a real-life situation. Scores are accepted by over 8,000 organisations worldwide”.

Structure and Scoring

IELTS has two versions: Academic and General Training. Everybody takes the same Listening and Speaking components, but the Reading and Writing components differ. Listening, Reading and Writing tests are taken on the same day. The Speaking test will either be after a break on the same day as the other three tests, or up to seven days earlier or later. This will depend on your test centre.

1. Listening

Format: 40 questions

Topic: Listening to four recorded texts and writing answers

Time: 30 minutes

Score: 1–9

2. Reading

Format: 40 questions

Topic: Content differ between the Academic and General Training exams

Time: 60 minutes

Score: 1–9

3. Writing

Format: 2 Tasks (150-250 words)

Topic: Document description or situation explanation, Argumentative essay

Time: 60 minutes

Score: 1–9

4. Speaking

Format: 3 Tasks

Topic: General questions, Talk about a specific topic, Discussion about abstract ideas and issue

Time: 60 minutes

Score: 1–9

Overall score: 1-9 (The scale corresponds to specified competences in English: 1 = non user 5 = modest user 7 = good user 9 = expert user )

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Register for the test several months before the test date. The fastest way to register is online on

Testing and Score Reporting

IELTS is provided at 900 locations around the world.  Test fees vary by country. The test score is available 13 days after the test date. Only one official copy of your score report is issued. Up to five copies of your score may be reported to institutions of your choice for free. The score is valid for two years.