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What is IELTS?


The International English Language Testing System - IELTS - was launched in 1989 by three partners… the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

Today it is the world’s most popular test of English language proficiency with over 3 million people taking it every year. It is developed and managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

IELTS is often referred to as a “high stakes” English test because it can be life changing. Candidates usually need a target score to study, migrate, and take up employment or training in an English speaking country. 

The IELTS test can be taken at British Council or IDP Test Centers in more than 140 countries and in over 1,200 locations. 

Watch our video about which IELTS test partner, British Council or IDP, to register with for your official test.

IELTS tests are developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment (the co-owner of IELTS along with the British Council and IDP). English language specialists are commissioned to write the tests which are pre-edited, edited and revised if necessary. 


Once test items are approved, they are pretested (trialed) by groups of IELTS students around the world. Cambridge English Language Assessment then analyze the results and approve the test items.


Listening and Reading test items are then trialed again with IELTS students around the world to make sure they have a consistent level of difficulty. Then finally, they are used in live tests.

What is tested?


IELTS is a task-base test divided into 4 components - Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. The total test time for General Training and Academic modules is approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes. 


The listening, reading and writing tests are held on the same day, with no breaks between them. The speaking test for paper based IELTS can be up to one week before or after the other tests.


However, if you take Computer Delivered (CD) IELTS, the speaking test is on the same day as the other components. Your test center will inform you when you are scheduled for your speaking test.

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