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IELTS Types

 

Learn about the different IELTS test types and find out which IELTS test you need to take to achieve your work, study or migration goals.

You must be able to demonstrate a high level of English language proficiency if you want to work, live, or study in an English-speaking country. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an English language test designed to help you study, migrate, or work in a country where

English is the native language.

How many types of IELTS tests are there?

Depending on your goals or purpose for moving abroad, you may choose to sit

one of the following IELTS tests:

  • IELTS Academic test

  • IELTS General Training test

  • IELTS Academic for UKVI

  • IELTS General Training for UKVI

  • IELTS Life Skills (A1 or B1)

IELTS Test Types

IELTS has a number of different test types which you can choose from according to your intent.

IELTS Academic

If you plan to study in higher education or seek professional registration, you can take the IELTS Academic test.

IELTS General Training

If your goal is to study secondary education, work, or migrate to an English-speaking country, IELTS General Training test might be right for you.

IELTS for UKVI

Where you want to study, work, or migrate will affect which test you need to take. If you want to go to the United Kingdom, you will need to specifically take the IELTS for UKVI test. This can either be the IELTS Academic for UKVI test, IELTS General Training for UKVI test, or the IELTS Life Skills A1 or B1 test.
 

Life Skills A1 tests your listening and speaking skills at the level of A1 in the Common European Framework (CEFR). The combined speaking and listening test lasts between 16 and 18 minutes and will take place with an examiner and one other test taker. The second test taker’s performance will not affect your test results. The results can be used to apply for certain visa types for the UK, for example, for the “family of a settled person” visa.

 

Life Skills B1 is a secure English-language test (SELT) accepted by the United Kingdom Visa and Immigration Department as proof of your English-language proficiency. The test looks at your listening and speaking skills in the 22-minute test with an examiner and one other test taker. The second test taker’s performance will not affect your test results.

 

An IELTS examiner will look at your English speaking and listening skills, and your ability to obtain and convey information, speak to communicate, and engage in discussion.

 

You will be assessed on your ability to listen and respond to spoken English where you have to obtain and convey basic information and communicate on familiar topics.

 

The examiner might ask you to describe a topic, give opinions or preferences and justify those, and explain and expand on a topic. You will also be expected to communicate with both the examiner and the other test taker.

 

There are no band scores with any of the Life Skills tests, your results will be given as a pass or fail.

 

IELTS and IELTS for UKVI are the exact same test in terms of format, content, scoring, and level of difficulty. The only difference is that an IELTS for UKVI test is approved by the UK Home Office for work, study, and migration purposes.

If you take an IELTS for UKVI test, your test report form will be a little different to show you have taken an IELTS for UKVI test at an approved test centre.

Make sure to visit the relevant government or institutional websites to confirm which test you need to take, as government agencies, institutions, and other recognising organisations set their own IELTS entry requirements.

 

You can also prepare for IELTS with a Progress Check practice test, available for both the General Training and Academic tests. Take this official mock test and get an indicative band score, plus an official feedback report.

  • Can I do all parts of the test on the same day?
    The Listening, Reading, and Writing parts of the test are completed immediately after each other on the same day. In some test centres, you will sit the Speaking test on the same day, or up to 7 days before or after your test date. If you take IELTS on computer, the Speaking test will be taken on the same day, either before, or after the other three parts of the test.
  • What to do if I am late to my test due to situations beyond my control?
    If you experience difficulty on a test day, please inform the test centre immediately. The test centre may offer you a test on the next available test date.
  • What should I bring on my test day?
    You must bring the same passport or national identity card that you used to book your IELTS test. If you do an IELTS on paper test, you can take pens, pencils and erasers into the examination room. If you do an IELTS on computer test, the centre will provide you with pencils and paper. You must leave all of your personal belongings outside the examination room in a secure area or locker. Mobile phones, pagers and smart watches must be switched off and left with your personal belongings. If you keep mobile phones or electronic devices with you, you will be disqualified.
  • What order will I complete the IELTS test in?
    If you take IELTS on computer, you will do the tests in the following order on the same day: Listening, Reading and Writing, with the Speaking test before or after this test session. If you take IELTS on paper, you will do the tests in the following order: Writing, Reading and Listening. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test can be done on the same day, or up to 7 days either before or after the test date.
  • What do I need to bring to my Speaking test?
    You must bring the same passport or national identity card that you used to book your IELTS test. Your ID will be checked before you enter the interview room and again during the interview.
  • What accents can be heard in the Listening and Speaking tests?
    As IELTS is an international test, a variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used in both the General Training and Academic tests.
  • Do I have to write in pencil for the IELTS on paper test?
    Pencil is recommended for the IELTS Listening, Reading, and Writing tests. This is because tests are scanned and work best with pencil. It also means that you can easily erase and rewrite words. If you forget to bring a pencil, the test centre will provide one for you.
  • If I take IELTS on paper, can I write notes in the question booklets?
    Yes, you are encouraged to write notes on the question booklets. IELTS examiners do not have access to your question booklets.
  • Can I make notes during the IELTS on computer test?
    Yes. IELTS on computer provides a note-taking and highlight function. You can also write notes on the login details sheet you receive at the beginning of the test.
  • Can I write my answers in capital letters?
    Yes, you can use all capital letters in the IELTS Reading and Listening sections. If you use capital letters in the Writing section, make sure that your punctuation is correct and the examiner can see where you start and finish sentences.
  • How can I improve my Writing band score?
    Read the assessment criteria used for both Academic and General Training Writing tests carefully before your test day. The examiner will assess your writing based on four criteria for Task 1 and Task 2. Remember that Writing Task 2 is worth twice as many marks as Task 1. You can improve your Writing band score by practising.
  • What happens in the IELTS Speaking test?
    The Speaking test is a discussion with a highly qualified IELTS examiner who assesses your ability to talk about a range of topics. The Speaking test has three parts and is recorded. A description of the three parts of the interview is found in the Information for Candidates booklet.
  • Should I apply for an EOR, or just wait to re-sit my test?
    EOR requests and all IELTS test day matters are handled by your test centre. IDP responds to the EOR requests by using a team of senior examiners.
  • Is a health condition considered to be a special requirement?
    Yes, it is. We can provide a variety of arrangements to support you during the test if you have special requirements due to hearing loss, low vision, learning difficulties, medical conditions or infant feeding. We can provide modified and enlarged print papers, braille papers, braille and enlarged print versions of the Speaking test, lip reading version of the Listening test, extra time for the Reading and Writing test or use of a computer (e.g. for candidates with dyslexia), a scribe to write answers on your behalf or a special Listening Test (e.g. using amplification equipment and/or lip-reading version of the Listening test for those with hearing difficulties). Test centres deal with all applications for special arrangements individually. You will be asked for full details of your particular circumstances.
  • Do I need to give my test centre notice if I have special requirements?
    Yes, it is best to contact your local test centre as early as possible informing them about your special needs. Giving adequate notice is necessary for the modified test versions to be prepared or special administrative arrangements to be made.
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