IELTS FAQ

General FAQs:

Q. What is IELTS?
A. IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL). IELTS test assesses English proficiency of a candidate in four sections of the language and then assigns a Test Report with individual and overall band scores.

Q. What is GT IELTS?
A. IELTS test has two versions – Academic and General Training. GT IELTS stands for General Training IELTS. The General Training test is suitable for those who want to do work experience or training programmes, enrol to a secondary school, or migrate to an English-speaking country.

Q. What is the purpose of the IELTS test?
A. The purpose of the IELTS exam is to assess a candidate’s ability to handle the English language. It scores people/students who want to study or work in a country where English is the language of communication/ instruction. The test establishes someone’s ability to listen to spoken English as well. IELTS result is also necessary for immigration purposes.

Q. What are the differences between Academic IELTS and GT IELTS?
A. Academic and GT IELTS have the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests. Academic IELTS is taken by candidates for academic purposes (i.e. getting admitted to a university) while GT IELTS is suitable for doing work experience or training programmes, seeking admission to a secondary school, or to migrate to an English-speaking country.

Q. Why are there two versions of the IELTS test?
A. IELTS aims to test the skills and competency level of English for the students and professionals alike, and that’s why IELTS has prepared two versions of the test, depending on their academic/educational and professional needs respectively. The IELTS Academic test is for the students and people who are applying for higher education in an English-speaking environment or country. This particular type of test reflects some of the features of academic language in order to assess whether the students are ready to begin studying/training or not. On the other hands, the IELTS General Training test is for those people or professionals who are going to English-speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programmes. This particular test is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

Q. What is IELTS Life Skills (for UK visa applications)?
A. If you are applying for a visa to move to or remain in the UK, and need to prove your speaking and listening skills at levels A1 or B1 of the CEFR, you take IELTS Life Skills. The IELTS Life Skills test will test your Speaking and Listening skills only. To know more about IELTS Life Skills test, please visit IELTS Life Skills – FAQs.

Q. Who owns IELTS?
A. IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL).

Q. Which organisations accept IELTS?
A. IELTS is a standardized English test which is accepted by more than 10,000 organisations worldwide. These organizations may include universities, immigration departments, government agencies, professional bodies and many multinational companies all over the world.

Q. Does the USA accept IELTS?
A. Yes, the USA accepts IELTS. The IELTS test result is accepted by over 3,400 institutions in the USA, including boarding schools, associate, undergraduate, graduate, professional and law programs. Approximately 99% of American 4-year colleges and universities that enrol more than 1,000 international students now accept IELTS as proof of English proficiency for their international applicants. However, it is advisable to check with the college or university before you take the test.

Q. Is GT IELTS suitable for me?
A. GT IELTS is designed for candidates who want to migrate to an English-speaking country, enrol in secondary school, do work experience or training programmes. If your purpose matches the criteria, you should take GT IELTS. If you are planning to get admitted to a college or university, Academic IELTS is the one you should take. Nevertheless, you should contact the organisation or institution to which you are applying to or talk to the immigration department before finalising the IELTS version.

Q. I want to migrate to an English-speaking country. Should I take GT IELTS?
A. Yes, you should take GT IELTS.

Q. Can a native English speaker take the IELTS exam?
A. Yes, anyone over the age of 16 can take the IELTS exam regardless of nationality or background. Some native speakers, in fact, take the test for immigration purpose to fulfil the requirements set by the immigration authority.

Q. Can I take Academic IELTS if I want to migrate to an English-speaking country?
A. No, for immigration purpose you should take GT IELTS.

Q. Which organisations, apart from universities, accept IELTS?
A. Apart from universities, IELTS is accepted by immigration departments, government agencies, professional bodies and multinational companies. Whenever you need to prove your proficiency in English, you can use IELTS a valid result.

Q. What are the structures and durations of the IELTS GT Test?
A.
IELTS GT exam has 4 parts:

Listening: has 4 sections and 40 questions. Duration: 30 minutes.
Reading: has 3 sections, and 40 questions. Duration: 60 minutes.
Writing: has 2 tasks. Task 1: Letter writing – write at least 150 words and do not spend more than 20 minutes. Task 2: Essay writing – write at least 250 words and spend 40 minutes. Total Duration: 60 minutes.
Speaking: a conversation between the candidate and an expert examiner in a closed room. Duration: 11 to 14 minutes. The conversation is recorded.

NB. The speaking module may be taken on the same day as the written parts, or on a different day in the period of seven days before or seven days after.


Registration Process:

Q. How do I book/register for my IELTS GT test?
A. You can book or register your IELTS test either by visiting a test centre and paying the registration fee or do so online.

You can contact an IELTS test centre to book your IELTS GT test. Alternatively, most IELTS test centres offer a convenient online booking system. To complete this you will need to upload a clear colour scan or photo of your passport and use your credit card to finalise payment. Alternatively, you can download an application form to print, complete and submit to your local test centre.

Q. When can I take the IELTS GT test?
A. The test is available on 48 fixed dates a year – up to four times a month, depending on local demand. You should contact the IELTS test centre to find the available exam slots. Find exam venue and schedule from https://www.ieltsessentials.com/global/registerforyourtest

Q. How much does IELTS GT test cost?
A. IELTS has a set fee for its test and it is defined by the exam authority. The Academic and General Training tests cost the same. Your test centre will notify you about the cost while registering. If you apply online, you will get the fee during the payment process. The cost may vary from country to country. You can check the IELTS GT test fee here.

Q. What documents do I need to register for my IELTS GT test?
A. You need to provide a copy of your valid identity document. This can be a passport or a National Identity Card. You need to enter your passport or National Identity Card number in your application form. You will also need to present the same identity document on the day of the test. Candidates taking the test outside their own country must use a current passport. The document must be valid/not expired at registration and on the test day.

Q. How do I get the test venue address and the exam timetable?
A. You will receive an email (the email address you provide during the registration) 5-7 days prior to the test. This email will contain details of your test venue address and the timetable of the exam. If you do not receive this email, contact your test centre immediately.

Q. I am having difficulty submitting my online application. What should I do?
A. If this is related to uploading your ID document or payment by credit card, please contact the Test Centre by selecting “Assistance for online registration, ID upload, payment”

Note: The scan-copy of your ID must be in colour and must include the parts of the document with the photograph of the bearer, signature, ID document number and personal details.

If this is something related to your Internet connection, wait for a few minutes and then try again.

Q. Can I change my IELTS GT test date or venue once I register for the test?
A. Yes, you can do that but it has to be two weeks before the exam date. If less than 14 days remain for your test, you are not allowed to change your test date and venue. You cannot change it either to a different year. For instance, if you have registered to take the test on 21st December 2019, you cannot change it to January 2020.

This will cost you a transfer fee of approximately 35€. To ask for a transfer please phone the administration centre responsible for the test location you chose.

Q. What is the minimum age requirement to take IELTS GT test?
A. The minimum age requirement to take the IELTS GT test is 16. However, if your age is less than 18, you need to collect the Minor Consent Form, together with your timetable from the test centre. This must be signed by your parents or legal guardian and forwarded to the test centre by email. You can also bring the signed Minor Consent Form on the day of the first test component you will attend.

Q. What help is available for disabled candidates?
A. IELTS test centres make every effort to cater for the special needs of disabled candidates. If you have a special need, talk to your local test centre when registering. Centres may need three months to organise arrangements.

Q. Can I postpone or cancel my application?
A. Changing any of your booking details can be done through the test centre where you booked your test.

» If you postpone or cancel your application more than 5 weeks before the test date, you will receive a refund, minus an administration charge.
» If you postpone or cancel within 5 weeks of the test date, you will be charged the full fee unless you have a serious medical reason.
» If you provide a medical certificate within five days of the test date, you will get a refund minus the local administrative cost.

Q. Which one is better – IDP or British Council?
A. They are both the same in terms of administrating and marking your IELTS test. It is a wrong assumption that you would score higher or get some benefits if you take your test in IDP or British Council. IELTS exams are the same worldwide, it doesn’t matter who supervises the test, the British council or IDP.


Taking the Test:

Q. When should I arrive at the exam centre?
A. On the day you take the test, your identification would be checked first. You will be then asked to submit any gadget or bag you bring with you, take “Test Day Photography” and then enter the exam hall. All these processes can take up to half an hour. So, you should reach your test centre at least 45 minutes before the test begins.

Q. What can I bring into the test room?
A. You are allowed to bring only pens, pencils and erasers to take the test. You must also bring the passport/national identity card you used on the IELTS Application Form to the test. However, you are not allowed to bring any personal belongings and must leave mobile phones, watches, pagers or electronic devices in the area, designated by the test centre supervisor.

Q. Can I bring something to eat and drink? And what about medicines?
A. You can only bring water in a transparent bottle with the label removed. You can not bring anything else into the test room including sweets, snacks or tablets.

As for the medicines, candidates asking for an exemption on the grounds of medical needs should tick the relevant box when they register for the test. They also must supply medical evidence, in original, paper format, before the test date.

Q. Can I use a dictionary?
A. No, you are not allowed to use any form or type of dictionary while taking your IELTS test.

Q. What is Test Day Photography? Why does the test centre take it?
A. Many IELTS test centres have introduced a new procedure for enhancing IELTS test security that involves taking and authenticating photographs of the test-takers on the test day. Under this new procedure, IELTS administration staff will take an individual, passport-style, photograph of all candidates present on the test day. The photograph is known as ‘Test Day Photography’.

The test centre takes this photograph to ensure IELTS test security. With “Test Day Photography”, only the original candidate can take the test. The test day photograph will also be printed on a candidate’s Test Report Form.

Q. Is the IELTS GT test completed in one day?
A. No, IELTS test might not be always completed in one day. Of course, the listening, reading and writing tests are always completed immediately after each other and with no break. But, the Speaking test is held either on the same day or seven days before or two days after that, depending on arrangements of the local IELTS Test centres.

Q. Which part of the test do I take first?
A. Unless otherwise instructed or specified, IELTS test takers would need to take the Listening test first, followed by the Reading and writing tests (please be advised that there are no breaks between these tests). The Speaking test will be held either on the same day or seven days before or two days after that, depending on the arrangements of the local test centres.

Q. Who writes the IELTS test questions?
A. IELTS Authority nominates and affiliates qualified international writers and teachers. They contribute to IELTS test materials. Those IELTS test writers are from different English-speaking countries and they develop IELTS content and questions.

Q. What if I am delayed by circumstances beyond my control?
A. You have to prove that the circumstance was indeed grave and beyond anyone’s control. In such circumstances, the test centre may offer the applicant a test on the next available test date.

Q. Can I use a pen for the Listening and Reading tests?
A. No. One must use a pencil to take the listening and reading test since the answer sheet is scanned by a computer, and the computer cannot scan or read the texts, written in pen.

Q. Can I make notes on the Listening and Reading question papers?
A. Yes, you can make notes on the listening and reading question papers since the IELTS Examiner will not see the question papers.

Q. Does the Listening tape provide instructions and pauses?
A. Yes. In the beginning, instructions and pauses are provided in order to help the student hear a sample question clearly and properly. After that, students/candidates are allowed just about enough time to read and listen to section 1 questions and then answer them.

Q. What kinds of accents can be heard in the Listening and Speaking tests?
A. Since IELTS is an international test, a variety of English accents are used in both of these tests in order to test the linguistic skills and abilities of the examination participants as far as the English language is concerned. The accent may include British, American, Canadian, Australian, South African, Irish and other English.

Q. Is there a similar period of 10 minutes in the Reading test to transfer answer?
A. No. The Reading test is specified for a stipulated period of one hour, and one must write all the answers on the answer sheet within this one hour period. No separate time will be given.

Q. What is the IELTS GT Speaking test?
A. The Speaking test is a conversation between an IELTS participant and a certified IELTS examiner. By the way, please be advised that the Speaking test is made up of three sections, and the whole conversation between the examiner and the candidate is recorded on an audio cassette or a digital recorder.

Q. What do I need for the IELTS GT Speaking test?
A. You must bring the same identification documents you supplied on an IELTS Application Form to take the Speaking test. The ID will be checked before you can enter the interview room. Personal belongings, like electronic devices and watches, are not allowed in the Speaking test room.

Q. Can I get a better score at an IELTS test centre than at others?
A. No, you can’t. IELTS questions, tests and result standards are strictly maintained all over the world. So, no matter where you take the test, you would be assessed based on the same sets of criteria.

Q. Can I repeat only a particular section of the IELTS test?
A. No, you can’t repeat a particular section of the IETLS test. You have to take the full test (four sections of the test) each time you take the test.

Q. If I retake the test, will I get a discount?
A. No, you will not get any discount for retaking the IELTS test. Each time you register for the test, you need to pay the full amount for the test registration.

Q. What happens if I am absent on the IELTS test date (without any valid reason)?
A. If you are absent on the IELTS test day, you will be treated as a ‘No Show’ candidate. You will lose the full test fee.

Q. What if I am absent (or sick on my test day) for a valid reason?
A. If you are unable to attend on test day due to a serious medical condition, let your test centre know as soon as you can. You’ll need to provide a medical certificate within 5 days of the test date and you will receive a refund minus the local administrative cost.

If there are circumstances beyond your control that prevent you from attending the test day – for example, a transport strike or serious weather event – the test centre may offer you a test on the next available test date. If you are absent on the test day with no prior notice, you will lose your full fee.


Result:

Q. How are the tests marked?
A. IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system in order to measure and report test scores in a consistent manner. A candidate receives individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking, and an Overall Band Score on a band scale from one to nine.

Q. Who sets the pass mark for the IELTS GT test?
A. There are no “pass” or “fail” marks in IELTS. Scores are graded on a 9-band system. But, still, one would be well advised to keep in mind that each educational institution or organisation sets its own level of IELTS test scores to meet their individual requirements.

Q. When will I receive my IELTS test results?
A. The Test Report Form will be posted 13 days after the test is taken to an address that a test taker provided to the exam centre. Since an applicant will receive only one copy of the test scores, he/she would be well advised to keep the test reports in a secure place. However, if you take a computer-delivered IELTS test, you will get your result much earlier, usually five to seven calendar days from the test date.

Q. Can I see my result on the internet?
A. Yes, you can see your result online once it is published on the internet. You will receive an email on the 13th day from the date you take the test, and your login information to view your IELTS result will be given on that email.

Q. For how long my IELTS result will be valid?
A. Your IELTS test result will be valid for two years from the date of taking the test.

Q. What if I feel my IELTS test result is wrong?
A. If an applicant wants to make an enquiry about his or her test results, he/she may need to apply at the centre where the applicant booked his or her test within six weeks of the test date. However, it is important to remember that one has to choose which section(s) of the test he or she wants to have re-assessed. Anyway, there is a charge for an enquiry on IELTS test results, but the charge will be refunded if the score increases for any section of the test. The result should normally be available within 2-21 days, depending on the number of sections that are requested for re-marking.

Q. What if I lose my Test Report Form?
A. Test Report Forms (TRF) are valid for two years from the date you take the test. However, copies cannot be sent to test takers directly, in case if a test report is lost. But the IELTS test centre will forward a Test Report Form to the relevant institution or embassy. Up to five copies will be sent free of charge. Additional copies will incur a small administration charge. For further information on this subject, one may want to talk to his or her test centre. One can also contact the British Council/IDP for further information on the lost test report.

Q. How soon can I re-sit/retake the IELTS GT test?
A. Fortunately, there is no limit on sitting the test. However, IELTS authority recommends the applicants to do additional study before taking another test again. Some test centres offer preparatory courses and language classes, and the applicants can certainly take advantages of these preparatory courses and classes before appearing for the test again. One can also improve his or her skills by using the IELTS Official Practice Materials from different IELTS test resources.

Q. Can I combine test scores from my two IETLS exams?
A. No, you can’t. IELTS does not permit you to combine or average your test scores from multiple exams.

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