International English Language Testing System

IELTS is the International English Language Testing System which tests English proficiency across the globe. Conducting 2 million tests in the past year, IELTS is the world’s most popular high stakes English-language test for study, work and migration.

IELTS is recognized by universities and employers in many countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It is also recognized by professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies.


The IELTS test has four parts:

Listening: 30 minutes
Reading: 60 minutes
Writing: 60 minutes
Speaking: 11–14 minutes
The test total time is: 2 hours and 45 minutes

IELTS has two versions

1. Academic IELTS: The Academic test is for those who want to study at a tertiary level in an English-speaking country.

2. General IELTS: The General Training test is for those who want to do work experience or training programs, secondary school or migrate to an English-speaking country. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests.

Test takers receive a score for each test component – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The individual scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an Overall Band Score.


Band scale

There is no pass or fail.

IELTS is scored on a nine-band scale, with each band corresponding to a specified competence in English. Overall Band Scores are reported to the nearest half band.

The following rounding convention applies: if the average across the four skills ends in .25, it is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, it is rounded up to the next whole band.

The nine bands are described as follows:

Has full operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriateness and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Have frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English. .
Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words
No assessable information provided at all.