International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS is an international standardized test designed to assess theEnglish language proficiency of non-native speakers with over 2 million teststaken each year. It is jointly owned by the British Council, which is based inLondon, but has offices all over the world, IDP (an education organisation),and a department of Cambridge University called Cambridge English LanguageAssessment. 

IELTS is accepted by over one millions institutions accross the world including more than 3,000 academic institutions in the United States and by various professional organisations across the world. IELTS is the only Secure English Language Test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for visa applicant both outside and inside the UK.

The test assesses all of your English skills (reading,writing, listening and speaking) and is intended to reflect the use of languagein the ‘real world’. Test takers receive a score for each test component –Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The individual scores are thenaveraged and rounded to produce an ‘Overall Band Score’ which are reported tothe nearest half band.

The IELTS result issued to all test takers correspond to a specified competence in English with a score from “Band 1” (non-user)to “Band 9” (expert user). There is also a “Band 0” scorefor those who did not attempt the test. There is no minimum score required to passthe test.  For whatever purpose the testtaker aims to achieve (study, work and migration) determines whether or nothe/she has passed or failed thus different threshold for different need.

The IELTS result is valid only for two years unless the user proves that they have worked to maintain their level.

Types and Modules

IELTS has two types, Standard IELTS which is the first, is designed to meet the needs of those who wish to travel to foreign countries other than the United Kingdom either to school, work or settle.

This has two modules (academic and general training).

  • IELTS Academic is intended for those who want to enroll in universities and other institutions of higher education and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study or practise in an English-speaking country.
  • IELTS General Training is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training, to obtain work permit or for immigration purposes.

The other type is the IELTS for UKVI which is designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are specified by the UK Home Office. IELTS for UKVI is a UK government approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). This means that IELTS can be used to prove your English language abilities in support of a UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) application. The UKVI test is the same as the standardized IELTS (for all other purposes), same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on. The difference is Test Report Forms will be slightly different, to show that you have taken the test at an IELTS UK visa session.

The modules of IELTS for UKVI are Academic, General Training and Life Skills.

  • IELTS Academic is intended for those who want to enrol in universities and other institutions of higher education and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study or practise in an English-speaking country.
  • IELTS General Training is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training, to obtain a work permit or for immigration purposes.
  • Life Skills: If you’re applying for a family of a settled person’s visa or for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship, IELTS Life Skills is the test for you.  IELTS Life Skills is a new test, approved by UKVI as a Secure English Language Test (SELT). It’s for people who need to show they have speaking and listening skills at Level A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Language.

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