An Overview and FAQs
What is IELTS? And who conducts this test?
IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. This is a test prepared by the University of Cambridge and is conducted either by the British Council or by the International Development Program (IDP). This test is periodically conducted almost four times a month i.e., on 48 fixed dates in the year decided by the authority in charge of conducting the test.
Why should I take this test and are there different versions of the test?
There are two versions of IELTS test: General IELTS and Academic IELTS. General IELTS test is taken by those who plan to migrate to or to work in any of the English-speaking countries.
Academic IELTS is taken by those who want to pursue their higher studies in any of the English-speaking countries.
What is the basic pattern of the test?
It is a test which is framed to test your basic English language skills i.e., Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing.
Reading Section comprises of 40 questions distributed under three Reading passages and have to be answered in an hour.
Writing section comprises of two tasks – Task 1 and Task 2. There is no specific timing allocated for each and have to be completed in an hour.
Speaking section comprises of three tasks and lasts approximately for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Task 1 is a simple conversation where you will be asked question related to you.
- Task 2 consists of one main question followed by few sub questions which are printed on a placard. You are given a minute to think before speaking.
- Task 3 comprises Question by the examiner related to Task 2.
Listening Section comprises two Monologues and two conversations about topics related to the daily life. A total of 40 questions are to be answered basis the content of the audio. Please note that you are allowed to hear all the recordings only once.
Is there a difference between General and Academic versions of IELTS?
Minor differences exist between General and Academic versions. The four skills being evaluated remain the same in both the tests; however, in Reading Section, the standard of questions is slightly higher in the case of Academic. Similarly, in one of the tasks in the Writing section, General versions requires the candidate to write a letter while the Academic version requires the candidate to interpret an illustration or a photograph. The second task remains the same. Further, the context of the conversations of the passages and the dialogues in Reading and Speaking also differ from one version to another.
How are the various sections evaluated in the IELTS test?
IELTS scores are between 0 and 9, termed as a score band and is incremented at intervals of 0.5. You are awarded a band score for individual modules i.e., Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing, along with an overall band score.
Do note that while there is no one qualifying score most of the good universities require to score 6.5 or more.
In case have any doubt about the scoring pattern you can always apply for the revaluation of your scores, but this would be done only after receiving a request for the same along with a stipulated payment.
How do I register for the test and how much does it cost?
The safest way to register for the test is to register online or visit any of the British Council / International Development Program (IDP) offices.
When you are enrolling yourself online you can pay through a credit card or a debit card (In INR or in Dollars). If you happen to pay at any of the official centers, it has to be in INR (an amount of INR 11300) by means of a nationalized bank draft payable to the stipulated payee mentioned in the official website.
Fee (in INR): INR 11300
Fee (in $): Ranges between $215–240 USD.
When can I take the test? How many times can I repeat the test? How much does it cost to repeat the test?
Minimum age requirement to take the test is 16 years. For graduate students, it is helpful if you can take the test in your final year of graduation to ensure that you have the scores ready by the time you start applying to universities. While there is no limit regarding the number of times one is allowed to take this test, the fee in dollars or INR remains the same for every fresh attempt.
How should I prepare for the test?
You need to have English skills – Listening, Speaking, Reading & Writing at the level of a Class XI student to be able to score well. In our subsequent articles, I shall suggest to you tips to deal with different question types across different sections.