Overview of the IELTS Test

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the two most widely accepted tests of English language proficiency at the tertiary level (the other is the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL). The IELTS, which has been offered since 1980, is administered by the British Council, IDP Education, and Cambridge English Language Assessment. About 2.4 million students take the IELTS annually at test centers in over 140 countries, and the exam is accepted by undergraduate and graduate degree programs at universities in a number of English-speaking countries. For an introduction to and overview of the IELTS, please have a look at the following topics:

  • IELTS Basics
    This page features important basic information about the IELTS, such as test content, structure, and scoring. An overview of IELTS scoring standards at universities and the IELTS scoring classification system are also discussed.
  • IELTS Format
    See this page for an overview of the IELTS academic and general training assessments, including the question types, timing, exercises, and format of each section.
  • IELTS Academic
    Learn about the IELTS academic test by reading this page, which features a detailed discussion of academic test content, scoring, acceptance at universities, and common score expectations.
  • IELTS General Training
    This page includes a comprehensive discussion of the IELTS general training test. Prospective test-takers can learn about general training test sections, scoring, and some common score requirements for immigration visas.
  • Differences Between the IELTS Academic Test and General Training Test
    Compare the IELTS academic and general training tests on this page. Read about the similarities and differences of content and purpose, scoring data for both assessments, and various types of scoring concordances.
  • Recent Changes to the IELTS
    Review the recent changes to the IELTS on this page. Read about the introduction of the Life Skills Test and revisions to the speaking and writing papers of the IELTS academic and general training assessments.
  • IELTS Administration
    Test-takers can find out about all of the important policies surrounding IELTS administration by reading this page. Learn what is expected of students during registration and during the test period.
  • IELTS Registration
    This page is all about registration for the IELTS. Among the topics discussed are how to find optimal test dates and centers, typical fees for registration, refund policies, and sending score reports to universities or other organizations.
  • IELTS Test-Taking Strategies
    Effective testing and preparation strategies are necessary for high scores on the IELTS. See this page for a discussion of general approaches to IELTS study, test-taking tips, and strategies for each section of the IELTS.
  • IELTS Scores
    Learn about various aspects of IELTS scoring on this page. Receive an overview of IELTS scoring, find out how the various papers are assessed, and understand official IELTS policies with respect to score validity.
  • IELTS History
    The British Council has been involved in standardized testing for many years. See this page to learn about the history of the IELTS, from its origin as the EPTB in the 1960s through the many revisions of the modern exam.
  • IELTS versus TOEFL
    The IELTS and the TOEFL are acceptable tests for most purposes. See this page to learn about the distinctions of sectional content, question types, acceptance, availability, and test formats.
  • IELTS Life Skills
    This page includes a detailed discussion of the IELTS Life Skills Test, which is used to qualify for immigration visas to the United Kingdom. Topics covered include Life Skills Test availability, structure, content, and scoring.