The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an English language exam, which is a mandatory entry requirement for candidates considering to study overseas. Most popular study destinations like the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA accept IELTS scores for university admissions. International universities and Immigration authorities require IELTS score to ensure that the candidate has a good command of the English language and are unlikely to face any communication issues while staying in the foreign country. Every year on an average 3 million IELTS tests are undertaken, making it the leading exam in the international education space. 

There are two types of IELTSAcademic or General Training. The choice of the type of exam depends on your reason for taking the exam. If your intent is to pursue higher education or professional registration abroad, then IELTS Academic would be your option to choose. If you are planning to study in the UK, you will be required to take the IELTS test endorsed for UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI).


IELTS is conducted in Paper as well as Computer format. The Speaking section for both the formats is conducted in person. In the online/computer format the candidates need to appear for the Reading, Listening and Writing tests on a computer in an official IELTS test centre.


Test design is relatively similar for Academic and General IELTS. Below is the sectional break-up of the Academic IELTS Training exam. 

ListeningThis section includes four recordings with ten questions (i.e 40 questions in total). The recordings are heard only once.30 minutes
ReadingThe Reading section consists of 40 questions that include reading for gist or detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and writers’ opinions and purpose. Each question is 1 mark.60 minutes
WritingThere are two tasks in this section. In Task 1, candidates need to describe the presented visual information (graph/table/chart/diagram) in their own words (150 words).
Task 2 involves composing text of about 250 words as a response to a point of view or argument or problem. 
60 minutes
SpeakingThis section is recorded and consists of three parts. It is an oral interview to test the candidate’s English communication abilities. 11-14 minutes


Each of the above sections is marked on the scale of 1-9. Your IELTS score card will include sectional bands as well as an overall band score. The sectional cut-off and overall cut-off scores differ for different countries as these are determined by universities and/or immigration. Generally an overall score of 6.5 is widely accepted. These scores are valid and acceptable for 2 years.