IELTS stands for “International English Language Testing System”. It’s a system for testing the language ability of people who need to study or work in an environment where English is the language of communication. It is jointly managed by Cambridge English Language Assessment, the British Council, and IDP Education. It was established in 1989 and is one of the two major English-language tests in the world (TOEFL being the other)

IELTS is accepted by most American, British, Canadian, Australian, Irish, New Zealand, and South African academic institutions. Over 3,000 academic institutions in the United States and various professional organizations across the world also accept IELTS. It is now a requirement for people wishing to immigrate to the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

In simply, IELTS is essentially a test that evaluates a candidate's proficiency in English in four essential language skills: speaking, reading, and listening. His or her ability in speaking, listening, reading, and writing is assessed over the course of three hours. IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are the two main types of IELTS tests that are administered. Although speaking and listening are frequently covered in both examinations, the reading and writing sections can differ depending on the type of test you take.

There are no gaps between the Listening, Reading, and Writing sections of any IELTS exam; they are all taken on the same day.

On the other hand, the Speaking portion can be taken up to seven days before or after the other examinations for regarding paper-based exams. Computer-based may occur on the same day before or after the exam.


Test Format

The IELTS 9-Band scale

Each band corresponds to a level of English competence. All parts of the test and the Overall Band Score can be reported in whole and half bands, e.g 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0.

Band Score



Band 9

Expert User

has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.

Band 8

Very Good User

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.

Band 7

Good User

has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.

Band 6

Competent User

has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.

Band 5

Modest User

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.

Band 4

Limited User

basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.

Band 3

Extremely Limited User

conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.

Band 2

Intermittent User

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.

Band 1


essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.

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