The IELTS test can be taken either as an academic preparation test or a general training test. When applying to universities, you will have to demonstrate that you have taken the academic preparation test.

The IELTS test is different in that it incorporates a variety of different accents so that your test isn't biased towards any particular region. 


IELTS - International English Language Testing System


Provided by: British CouncilIDP: IELTS Australia and the Cambridge English Language Assessment

Cost: The cost varies from country to country. Read our IELTS Around The World Guide.

Accepted by: Over 9,000 institutions in more than 140 countries

Test Numbers: In 2015, 2.7million tests were taken in over 1100 test centres around the world. 

Duration: approx 3 hours

Score: Scores are between 1-9 going up in increments of 0.5. Half scores are therefore possible e.g. 6.5. Many universities require a score of 6-7+ for admission of international students. If you are looking to apply to a specific institution, check what the requirements are before applying. It may be a requirement that you have a minimum score in each section as well as a certain overall score.

Alternatives: A common alternative to IELTS is the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Read our article IELTS vs TOEFL - Which Is Better?

The test consists of:

The first three modules (listening, reading and writing) will always be taken in one sitting, but the speaking module may be taken on a different day, within 7 days of the main test date.