International English Language Testing System Guide

IELTS Summary
What: The exam is given to assess one's command of the English language.
Who: Anyone who wishes to prove their English proficiency should take this exam.
Where: Exams are administered in 500 test centers found in 125 countries.
When: Testing is conducted up to four times each month.
How: The exam includes questions that assess reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.
Type: The exam is offered in academic and general training formats.
Why: Many employers and schools require this exam.
Time: The exam lasts for approximately three hours.
Language: The test is in English, though accomodations are made in every country to ensure the test taker understands the exam.
Preparation: Students can use preparation materials found in the IELTS Directory to help prepare for the exam.
Cost: The cost varies depending on location.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an exam used to assess a test taker’s ability to speak, read, write and understand the English language. Over 6,000 different organizations, including colleges and universities, government agencies and corporations, recognize IELTS scores. IELTS is administered jointly by University of Cambridge ESO Examinations, British Council and IELTS Australia. More than 1.2 million people take the exam every year.

Exams are offered up to four times each month at over 500 test centers in 125 countries. Visit to find a location near you. Test application forms are available directly through the test center. Test candidates will need to show two recent passport photographs and a passport or national identity card when applying for the exam. Tests fees vary depending on the location of the exam.

Two exam formats are offered: academic and general training. The academic format is used for those who are applying for admission at English-speaking colleges or universities. The general training format is aimed at those who will be working, training or studying in an English-speaking country

Each test includes:

30 minutes are given for 40 questions following several different recordings.

60 minutes are given for 40 questions about three reading passages.

60 minutes are given for two writing tasks; a 150-word letter and a 250-word response to a statement or question.

11 to 14 minutes of face-to-face interview time with a certified test examiner.
Score reports are available by mail approximately two weeks after the exam is taken. Candidates can take the exam as many times as they wish. Scores are reported on a scale of 1 to 9, one being a non-user and 9 being an expert user.

To find practice materials or study guides for the IELTS, please visit our IELTS Directory.

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