IELTS Exam – All you need to know


IELTS (International English Language Testing System) examination is taken by individuals looking for immigration or wanting to study abroad in a native English Speaking country. The countries which primarily accept IELTS scores are USA, Canada, UK. Australia, New Zealand, Ireland etc. The test lets individuals assess their level of proficiency in English by testing on the four language skills – listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

The number of candidates taking this paper worldwide has been soaring and it recorded 3.5 million applicants in the year 2018. With this, it is now the leading paper amongst other English papers like PTE, TOEFL, TOEC etc. It is owned and conducted by IDP Australia, British Council and Cambridge English Language Assessment. The masters and scholars of Cambridge set the paper and IDP and BC conduct the examination around the world. To date, this exam is accepted by all the universities in the UK and Australia. Moreover, this exam is a must for immigration to countries like Canada, Australia, Ireland etc.

IELTS Test Fee –  As per IDP website:

Test Type Cost (INR)
Computer-delivered IELTS 13250
IELTS for UKVI 18500
Life Skills 13850
Pen and paper based IELTS 13250

Note: The revised fee for IELTS for UKVI is INR 15,100 (inclusive of all taxes) and Life Skills is INR 13940 (inclusive of all taxes) for all test dates 7th April 2020 onwards.

As per British Council Website:

Test Type Cost (INR)
IELTS Academic and General Training – paper-based test (for dates until 31 March) 13250
IELTS Academic and General Training – paper-based test (for dates from 01 April) 13250
IELTS Academic and General Training – computer-delivered test 13250
IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration (Academic and General Training)* 18500
IELTS Life Skills (A1 and B1)** 13850

Why should you take IELTS exam?

IELTS exam is taken to migrate or for higher studies abroad in English speaking nations like UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. This English test is the only test to be approved by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI). The scores/bands of IELTS are required as proof for immigration authorities and universities to be sure of your English communication skills. To show that you are proficient in the language, you have to take the exam and score above 6 bands for entry-level requirements. Please note that this exam is not mandatory for all the universities.

Before applying to any university abroad, you should check the admission requirements on the college website and be sure about it. Many colleges/ universities have different requirements. Just to be sure, you may also get in touch with the admissions committee of the universities and know if they would like to see your IELTS scores. But, until listed, you do not need to do this also. Moreover, you can take the exam with any British Council or IDP. You may in fact take 4 exams in a month as these bodies conduct more than 48 days of tests per year after the introduction of the Computer Based Test. Initially, there was only the pen-and-paper based exam, however, with advancement and modernization in testing, BC and IDP got the online tests.

Types of IELTS

IELTS exam is primarily of 2 types – IELTS General and IELTS Academic. Both the papers check your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. The content, however, differs a bit in the reading and writing segment. Once you book for the test, you will do the listening, reading and writing paper at one stretch on the same day. For the speaking test, you may be allotted a day before or after the main test day. In some metro cities of India, you also have options to take the speaking test on the same day, but it is not valid for all the centres across India.

IELTS General

This test is taken by individual who intend to migrate to native English speaking nations like the UK, Canada and Australia. (Australia also accepted PTA-Academic scores for immigration purpose). IELTS-G Test is sometimes also taken to enrol in training programs or secondary education or to gather work experience in countries where English is the main language.

IELTS Academic

This test is taken by individuals who intend to apply for higher education in universities and colleges abroad.

What is the Eligibility to take the IELTS exam?

This exam can be attempted by anyone irrespective of age, race, nationality, religion or gender. The minimum age requirement is 14 to 64 for individuals to intend to migrate to Canada. You may check CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) website to know about the changing trends for Express Entry, Provincial Nomination and other immigration programs. You may also consult ELAN Consultants to check the requirements and other immigration schemes launched by the Canadian government.

How many times can you attempt IELTS?

As of now, there is no limit set by the BC or IDP for taking the IELTS exam. You can take the IELTS test as many times as you want to until you get the required bands for qualification to a particular institution or body. You must note that you should prepare very well before the exam so that you get the qualifying scores in one attempt itself so as to save your money.

What is the educational eligibility to take IELTS?

There are no minimum eligibility pointers given by the British Council or IDP Australia. If you intend to work abroad or study abroad, you can take any of the IELTS General or Academic paper. Also, for immigration candidates, you must check your eligibility from the different website of Australia, Canada, New Zealand or UK immigration bodies.

How do you register for the IELTS Test?

For registration, you must have made your passport. This must be with you at all times. The details of your passport will be seen throughout your exam. Driving licenses, student IDs and other documents are not accepted as valid proof of identification. You will have to take the passport to the test centre also.

British Council  Test Booking site for IELTS exam
British Council Test Booking site

IDP Australia Test booking site for IELTS exam
IDP Australia test booking

You can choose to pay through the following methods:

  • pay online using Net Banking, eWallets or Card (Visa, Visa electron, Master Card)
  • payment at ICICI bank branch (make cash payment at any ICICI bank branch by filling in the ICICI payment slip)
  • payment through Demand Draft (DD). The demand draft must be drawn in favour of ‘British Council‘ payable at Delhi

Please note: Cash or credit/debit card payment for IELTS fees is not accepted at any of BC or IDP offices.

You should go the following links to register for the exam.

British Council Test booking

IDP Test booking

Once you complete all the formalities of registration, you will receive a mail and text message as a confirmation of your booking. 

What is the IELTS exam fees?

You may refer to the tables above to see for the relevant fee of your test.

IELTS Test Cancellation policy:

  • If you cancel your IELTS application more than five weeks before the test date, you will receive the refund minus 25% administrative fee.
  • If you cancel the IELTS exam less than five weeks ahead of the test date, you will receive no refund.
  • In case you fail to appear for the test, then also you will not receive any refund. This is also considered a cancellation.

Those who can produce a medical certificate within 5 days of the test date can receive the refund after deducting the local administrative cost.

What is IELTS Rescheduling Fees?

You will have to pay an administrative charge of INR 3,300 inclusive of all taxes for transfer of test date. Normally, the customer care of British council or IDP will ask you to submit a valid medical certificate signed and stamped by the doctor along with a DD.

In case of any emergency or extra information, you may call directly at –

British Council Customer care – 0120 456 9000

IDP Australia Customer Care – 1300 555 135

What are Bands and how is the scoring done?

The scoring or bands of IELTS exams are related to CEFR – Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

IELTS exam tests your English proficiency at all levels. The overall score that you receive is an average of the listening, reading, writing and speaking scores. The individual bands of the 4 sections are added and an average of it gives the overall scoring. For example, if your scores are L-7, R-8, W-7, S-8, then the overall bands will be (7+8+7+8)/4 = 7.5 Bands.

You need to consider interpreting the rubric with a coach or a teacher of English.

Speaking - Band Descriptors
Speaking – Band Descriptors
Task 1 - Writing Band Descriptors
Task 1 – Writing Band Descriptors
Task 2- Writing Band Descriptors
Task 2- Writing Band Descriptors
Listening Band Descriptors
Listening Band Descriptors
Reading Band Descriptors
Reading Band Descriptors

When does the IELTS exam result come?

The results take time. The results of the IELTS exam are available in a time frame of 5 to 13 days.

  • Offline Test: If you take the pen and paper-based test, you will receive your results within 13 calendar days from the date of your exam.
  • Computer Based Test: Generally, the results are available in 5 days from the date of taking the main paper.

How long are the scores valid?

The IELTS Scores are valid for 2 years.

How much do you need to score in IELTS?

IELTS is a test of English proficiency. You cannot pass or fail in the test. Whatever you score, it will only be a check on your ability to listen, read, write and speak in English. For different colleges or universities and in fact depending on the course that you take for higher studies, the scores requirement will be listed by the university.

Also, for immigration programs, the required scores are shared by the immigration bodies. So there is no cut-off that can be set as a benchmark to pass or fail in the IELTS test. It is only your level of communicating in English.

Which are the colleges that accept IELTS score?

As of now, the IELTS exam helps you to get admitted to maximum recognized colleges. There are more than 15000 organizations and institutions across 140 countries that accept IELTS test scores. Over 3,000 institutions and programs in the USA alone accept IELTS scores as proof of English language skills Some of the best like Harvard, Oxford, London Business School, London School of Economics etc also accept IELTS scores.

You can visit this link to see if your preferred institution accepts the IELTS score or not.

Which countries accept the IELTS score?

Approximately 140 countries accept the IELTS score. UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada are the most preferred regions.

IELTS 2020 Preparation Tips

You can prepare for the exam by yourself. A lot of coaches and trainers have shared content and material online which can be accessed easily. If you have good proficiency in English, you can easily prepare for it yourself. On average, maximum proficient candidates face a challenge in crossing 7 Bands in the writing paper. For them, we recommend professional guidance.

Moreover, if you want to save your time, money and resource allocation, and if your band requirements are above 6 bands, then you should consider attending coaching classes (Online or offline). Always keep 3 months of time for yourself as this is enough for you to prepare from scratch and attempt the paper for higher band scores. This requires constant practises and dedication and guided feedback.  Joining a coaching class will bring in regularity in your studies and you will constantly be able to network and coordinate with those like you.

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What are the eligibility requirements for taking the IELTS test? - ELAN

[…] The IELTS test is a test of your proficiency in English. For now and we believe for the coming times also, there is no minimum eligibility nor will there be any to appear for the exam. […]

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