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IELTS assessment and scoring

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The IELTS test format and scoring

When paying to study abroad, it is important to know that you will be able to understand your lecturers and course material. The IELTS test assesses your abilities in all four skills - listening, reading, writing and speaking - in under three hours.

The IELTS test format is tried and trusted by organisations and test takers worldwide, it is a format that has worked successfully for over 20 years.

You will take the Listening, Reading and Writing tests all on the same day one after the other, with no breaks in between them. They are always taken in this order. Your Speaking test will either be after a break on the same day as the other three tests, or up to seven days before or after that. This will depend on your test centre.

Two versions of the test

There are two versions of IELTS. For more information click here.

Everyone takes the same listening and speaking tests, regardless of which version they take. The Reading and Writing tests differ in content, depending on whether you are taking IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training.

IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are assessed at exactly the same levels. Find out more about how to understand the test format.

IELTS scores

IELTS is designed to assess English language skills at all levels. Please check with your future school what levels are required.

You will receive a score based on each for the four skills on a scale of 1 – 9, and you will also be awarded an overall band score. You can score whole (e.g., 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half (e.g., 5.5., 6.5, 7.5) bands in each part of the test.

Your overall band score may be crucial if you intend to emigrate, apply for university or take up a job in an English-speaking country. Find out more about how to understand your IELTS scores and the 9-band system.

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Last update: 30 Aug 2013

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