You can obtain the IELTS certificate through a website
or through the University of Berkshire
IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who need to study or work where English is used as the language of communication. IELTS is required for entry to university in the UK and other countries.
Who is it for?
IELTS is recognised by universities and employers in many countries, including Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It is also recognised by professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies.
More than 2 million people a year take the test.
What is the IELTS test like?
- Listening - 4 sections, 40 questions, 30 minutes
- Speaking - interview, 15 minutes
- Reading - different for Academic or General Training - 3 sections, 40 questions, 60 minutes
- Writing - different for Academic or General Training - 2 pieces of writing, 60 minutes
Level and scores
Multi-level. You get a score between 1 and 9. Half scores such as 6.5 are possible. Universities often demand an IELTS score of 6 or 7. They may also demand a minimum score in each of the 4 sections.
Please click here to see an explanation of IELTS Band Scores. You can use the IELTS Band Score Calculator on this site to convert your reading and listening raw scores.
Where do I take the test?
IELTS tests are administered at accredited Test Centres throughout the world - there are currently more than 500 Centres, in over 120 countries. Click here to find a test centre.
When can I take the test?
Arrange with your closest test centre. There are frequent dates, usually on Thursdays or Saturdays.
About the IELTS Listening test
- You will listen to 4 different recordings and answer 40 questions.
- The test takes approximately 30 minutes. You will have an additional ten minutes to transfer your answers to an answer sheet
- You only hear the audio once.
- A variety of voices and native-speaker accents are used.
- You will hear conversations and monologues, with topics ranging from the everyday social to the academic.
- A variety of question types are used, including multiple choice, form completion, note completion, summary completion, sentence completion, and short-answer questions.
- Candidates for IELTS Academic and IELTS General both do the same listening test
- Read the instructions and questions carefully before you listen.
- Try to get an idea of the situation. Who are the speakers? Where are they? Why are they speaking?
- Remember, you will only hear the audio once. You will need to read, write and listen all at the same time.
- Listen for 'signpost words' such as however, although and finally. They help you to anticipate what the
IELTS Academic Reading
About the IELTS Academic Reading test
- Each section contains one long text.
- Texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. They have been written for a non-specialist audience and are on academic topics of general interest.
- Texts are appropriate to, and accessible to, candidates entering undergraduate or postgraduate courses or seeking professional registration.
- Texts range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. Texts may contain non-verbal materials such as diagrams, graphs or illustrations. If texts contain technical terms, then a simple glossary is provided.
- There are three texts and 40 questions.
IELTS General Reading
About the IELTS General Reading test
- Section 1 contains two or three short factual texts, one of which may be composite (consisting of 6-8 short texts related by topic, e.g. hotel advertisements). Topics are relevant to everyday life in an English-speaking country
- Section 2 contains two short factual texts focusing on work-related issues (e.g. applying for jobs, company policies, pay and conditions, workplace facilities, staff development and training)
- Section 3 contains one longer, more complex text on a topic of general interest
Texts are authentic and are taken from notices, advertisements, company handbooks, official documents, books, magazines and newspapers.
IELTS Academic Writing
About the IELTS Academic Writing test
2 pieces of writing, 60 minutes
- In Task 1, candidates are presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and are asked to describe, summarise or explain the information in their own words. They may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event.
- In Task 2, candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem
Responses to Task 1 and Task 2 should be written in a formal style
IELTS General Writing
About the IELTS General Writing test
The writing test is different for IELTS Academic and IELTS General candidates.
2 pieces of writing, 60 minutes
- In Task 1, candidates are presented with a situation and are asked to write a letter requesting information or explaining the situation. The letter may be personal, semi-formal or formal in style.
- In Task 2, candidates are asked to write an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. The essay can be slightly more personal in style than the Academic Writing Task 2 essay
The speaking test takes 11-14 minutes and consists of an interview with an examiner.
The interview is recorded.
The speaking test has three parts:
Introduction and interview
|Examiner introduces him/herself and checks your name.
The examiner then asks you questions on general topics.
|Examiner gives you a written task card. You have 1 minute to think (take notes) before you have to speak for 1–2 minutes.
Examiner asks one or two questions at the end of your talk.
|3–4 minutes (including
|Discuss with the examiner more abstract issues and concepts which are thematically linked to the topic of your talk in Part 2.||4–5 minutes|
The IELTS Band Scores
IELTS is a multi-level exam. You get a score between 1 and 9 for each section. Half scores such as 6.5 are possible. Universities often demand an IELTS score of 6 or 7. They may also demand a minimum score in each of the 4 sections.
You can use the IELTS Band Score Calculator on this site to convert your reading and listening raw scores.
IELTS Listening marking schemes
For the listening test, which contains 40 questions, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.
|Score / 40||39-40||37-38||35-36||32-34||30-31||26-29||23-25||18-22||16-17||13-15||10-12||8-10||6-7||4-5|
IELTS General Reading marking schemes
For the general reading test, which contains 40 questions, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.
|Score / 40||40||39||37-38||36||34-35||32-33||30-31||27-29||23-26||19-22||15-18||12-14||9-11||6-8|
IELTS Academic Reading marking schemes
For the academic reading test, which also contains 40 questions, but is more difficult, the approximate band scores can be calculated using this table.
|Score / 40||39-40||37-38||35-36||33-34||30-32||27-29||23-26||19-22||15-18||13-14||10-12||8-9||6-7||4-5|