International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an English language exam that is required to be taken by international candidates considering studying or working in a country where English is the main language of communication. Most popular nations where IELTS is accepted for university admissions are UK, Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada. The exam mainly measures the ability of test-takers to communicate in the four basic language skills – listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
A lot of students get confused about why are the IELTS scores required. The simple answer to this is that foreign universities and visa granting authorities need to be sure that you will not have communication issues while staying in the country. You need to show a good understanding and strong knowledge of the English language and that is why your overall IELTS scores are so important. Another common doubt students have is whether IELTS is a compulsory exam or not. No, IELTS isn’t compulsory in all university admissions. Many universities might even not even require IELTS scores for admission purposes. But remember that if you don’t give IELTS, your chances of getting the student visa might suffer as the visa officers may not be convinced about your English proficiency without IELTS scores. So it is safer to appear for IELTS and aim to score at least 6 bands overall.
Often international students are confused between choosing IELTS or TOEFL, as universities overseas ask for either exam scores. It is up to you as a test taker to select which of the two exams to take, but remember that IELTS is more preferred in UK, Australia, and New Zealand, while TOEFL is famous among applicants to universities in US and Canada. So knowing the required average scores for US universities and average scores for Canadian universities is an important start.
You can take IELTS exam with the British Council or IDP up to once a week (four times a month). The British Council and IDP global schedule for test dates are 48 days per year.
Types of IELTS
IELTS is offered in two test formats: Academic or General. Students need to take the Academic IELTS test. Other applicants who need IELTS scores for a work visa or immigration purposes need to take General IELTS test. Here we cover only the Academic IELTS test.
You won’t have long to wait for your results as IELTS test results are released online after 13 days you sit for the test. You will receive an email when your scores are available. You can log into your IELTS account on the IELTS Results website to see your scores.
For the IELTS exam, British Council Global Schedule for global exam dates is 48 days per year.
You can choose any date according to your convenience. The exam date that you choose should be at least three-four months before your first application time limit. The basic idea is that you need to start organizing for IELTS a couple of months before submitting your application to colleges.
IELTS Preparation tips
There are two ways to prepare for IELTS: self-studying and attending coaching classes. Which way you will choose depends on your language proficiency and comfort level. If you are already fluent in English, you need not attend coaching classes; you can prepare for the exam on your own. You just need to figure out when to start preparing for IELTS.