The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS™, is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers
IELTS is the most popular English proficiency test, with over 3 million exams being taken globally per year. It is recognised and accepted as a qualification by thousands of institutions across the world, including schools, universities, companies and governments.
There are two types of IELTS test available:
- IELTS Academic
- IELTS General Training
Universities will often only accept the IELTS Academic, as it includes a strong focus on the skills which students will need to develop to study at university level, such as interpreting data, essay writing and a higher vocabulary level. The IELTS General Training however is more suitable for those who are travelling to an English-speaking country for secondary education, work experience or long-term migration.
IELTS: an assessment of the four core skills
Both tests follow the same format. The assessment is split into four parts which assess skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. The Listening and Speaking sections of the test are the same for both Academic and General Training, but the Reading and Writing components are different for each.
A score of 0-9 is awarded in each of the four sections of the exam, which are then combined to create the final score. To enter a UK university, a final score of at least 5.5 is usually required to study at foundation level, with 6.5 usually being required to study at undergraduate level.