IELTS scores are accepted by over 7,000 organisations worldwide, including universities, employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies. IELTS is designed by experts to fairly assess the language ability of candidates who want to study or work where English is the language of communication.
Over 1.7 million IELTS tests are taken each year. Find out why more people go to more places with IELTS.
What is IELTS?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s leading English language proficiency test, taken by over 1.7 million people each year.
IELTS assesses all of your English skills — reading, writing, listening and speaking, and is designed to reflect how you will use English at study, at work, and at play, in your new life abroad.
The test is developed by some of the world’s leading experts in language assessment. It has an excellent international reputation, and is accepted by over 7,000 organisations worldwide, including schools, universities, employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies.
Uniquely IELTS tests your English conversation skills through a face-to-face speaking test which means that you are assessed by having a conversation with a real person. This is the most effective and natural way of testing your English conversation skills.
Whatever your reason for taking IELTS, make the most of your language skills. Download the guide for test takers.
IELTS for study, work and emigration
IELTS for study
IELTS opens doors to international education. The test is accepted by thousands of US universities, including Ivy League institutions, and most universities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and in the UK and many institutions that teach through the medium of English in Europe. Follow the link to find out the scores required by academic institutions.
IELTS for work
IELTS is the world’s leading English language test, accepted by employers and professional bodies in English-speaking countries worldwide.
IELTS for emigration
If you plan to emigrate to an English-speaking country, your English language skills will be important to you. Governments use IELTS to process immigration and student visa applications in many English-speaking countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Even native English speakers sometimes need an English language qualification to emigrate to some English-speaking countries. You will need to check the IELTS scores for emigration needed in the country of your choice before you book your IELTS test..
Which version of IELTS is right for me?
There are two versions of IELTS to choose from:
·IELTS General Training
Always check with the organisations you wish to apply to before you book your test!
Every organisation sets its own entry requirements. In some cases both versions of IELTS may be accepted. Visit Who accepts IELTS? to search for the organisations you want to apply to, and find out which version you need. If you are in doubt as to which version to take, you should contact the organisations directly in order to check their requirements.
Whichever test version you choose, IELTS can help you make the most of your time in your chosen country.
IELTS test format and scoring
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, and has not changed significantly 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.
There are two versions of the IELTS test. See the ‘IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training’ page to check which version you need to take.
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.
You cannot fail the test. IELTS is designed to assess English language skills at all levels. 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 nine-band system.
Why take IELTS with British Council?
We have 75 years’ experience in English language teaching and assessment and can help you reach your goals.
·We connect people worldwide with learning opportunities and creative ideas from the UK Wherever you are, whatever your plans are, we are here to help
·English language is our business
·We are an international charity committed to developing a wider knowledge of the English language. Our English teaching and exams help people around the world improve their education and open new career prospects
When you take IELTS with the British Council, you can expect:
- Unrivalled availability on IELTS test days
- Test centres in over 100 countries providing the same high standards wherever you take your test
- Friendly, helpful and highly professional staff
- First class courses and resources
- Expert advice on how to prepare for the test
- Online booking facilities
- Flexible payment options and fees in local currencies
- Online results preview available 13 days after your test
What can we do for you?
The British Council is the first choice of many test takers for preparation, courses, resources and testing.
- We offer a wide range of IELTS preparation materials online
- Road to IELTS’ – 30 hours of free online tuition when you book your test online
- Special arrangements for candidates with special needs organised by our experienced test centre staff
Who accepts IELTS?
IELTS is accepted worldwide; find the score you need for your chosen organisation. IELTS is recognised by over 7,000 organisations worldwide, including educational institutions, employers, governments, immigration authorities and professional bodies.
You can find out the score you need to access the education, emigration, employment, professional registration or training opportunity of your choice bysearching here.
Meet IELTS candidates
Don’t take our word for it though, listen to some IELTS candidates who have taken the test and find out what they think about their experiences.
IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.