IELTS exam

“The IELTS exam is the most popular English language ability test to study or work in a foreign country where English is one of the languages of communication. Check out the page to know the IELTS exam details and the IELTS exam updates.“

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS), established in 1989, is the most popular English language proficiency test for work, study or migration. It is an exam, accepted by most of the academic institutions and professional institutions in countries like America, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. IELTS is also the only Secure English Language Test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for visa customers applying both, from outside and inside the UK. The IELTS exam is designed to assess the English language ability of applicants who plan to study or work in a foreign country where English is one of the languages of communication.

Also Read: IELTS Fullform

IELTS Exam Details

The IELTS Exam is a test of all the four language skills, i.e. the ability to listen, read, write and speak in English. The results will be graded on a 9-band scale (1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest). The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. An IELTS mark report will be considered valid for 2 years since the result date.

There are two types of IELTS tests: Academic and General Training. The Listening and Speaking sections will be the same for both tests, but the subject of topic for the Reading and Writing sections will differ.

Recent Updates from IELTS

IELTS Registration Test Fee:

While the IELTS registration fee was initially INR 13,250. Since 1st April 2020, the registration fee has been revised to INR 14,000.

IELTS Indicator (COVID-19)

For all those who wish to take the IELTS test, but during this unfortunate time, for some reason or the other cannot go to an official test centre, IELTS has launched the IELTS Indicator.

IELTS Indicator is the IELTS exam, only taken online and live on an allocated time and duration. The exam, just like the regular IELTS, will assess the student’s skills in all 4 categories, namely, Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. The test scores will get posted within seven days after the test date.

Although the IELTS Indicator is an official product of the IELTS itself, not all the colleges and institutions have started accepting it yet, so it is advisable to check with the college you plan to apply for, before registering.

Importance of IELTS exam

As mentioned above, the IELTS exam is a required criterion for most of the academic institutions and work organizations for people coming from countries where English is not the main language of communication, and these universities, organizations, and even the visa granting authority would want to make sure that you have an understanding of the language and will not have any communication issues while staying in their country. The exam is also the only English test that is approved by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for visa candidates applying both, from inside and outside the UK. Hence, a good score band will show that you don’t have any problem communicating in English.

Is the IELTS exam compulsory?

If you’re wondering whether taking the IELTS exam is compulsory, then the straightforward answer would be no, writing the IELTS exam is not compulsory as it isn’t a required factor for many foreign universities. But by not writing the IELTS exam, there may be fewer chances of getting the visa since the visa authorities may be doubtful about your proficiency in English, without the IELTS scores. And since most of the top universities will definitely require your IELTS score, it is always advisable to appear for the IELTS and to try to get a score of at least 6 bands overall.

IELTS Eligibility Criteria

There are no specific eligibility criteria for the IELTS examination. The only criterion may be that the candidates who wish to attempt the examination must be 16 years or above. This is the only requirement that they will look for.

Check here for detailed IELTS eligibility criteria

IELTS age limit

In Canada, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has confirmed the change from age limit 18-54 to 14 – 64.

For the rest of the world, there is no upper age limit but the lower age limit is 16.

Types of IELTS

Based on the purpose of writing the exam

IELTS Academic

The IELTS Academic is for candidates who wish to migrate for the purpose of pursuing their degree, or a higher level of education, or for professionals such as medical doctors, and nurses who want to study or practice in an English-speaking country.

IELTS General Training

The IELTS General Training is for candidates who wish to migrate for the purpose of working or non-academic training in an English-speaking country.

Based on Mode of Writing the Exam

Paper-Based Test

For those who choose the Paper-Based Test, the Listening, Reading and Writing sections will be paper-based while the Speaking test will be conducted face-to-face with the IELTS examiner.

Computer Test

For those who choose the Computer Test, the Listening, Reading and Writing sections will have to be on a computer, while the Speaking test, will be conducted via face-to-face with the IELTS examiner.

Sections of the IELTS Test

There are four sections of the IELTS test:

IELTS Listening:(40 minutes)

This section comprises of four sections, with ten questions in each section. After half hour, you’ll get 10 minutes to transfer your answers.

IELTS Reading: (60 minutes)

The Reading section has three parts, with a variety of question types including multiple-choice, short-answer questions, diagrams, graphs, and so on.

IELTS Writing: (60 minutes)

The Writing section has 2 tasks. Task 1 should be written in at least 150 words, while task 2 should be written in at least 250 words.

IELTS Speaking: (12–14 minutes)

The Speaking Test has 3 sections and is like a face-to-face interview with the examiner, where you’ll have to speak on a topic and also answer questions that the examiner asks you.

Who owns the IELTS?

IELTS test is collectively owned by:

  • British Council
  • IDP IELTS Australia (International Development Program)
  • Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)

Also Read: IDP V/s British Council

Who conducts the IELTS exams?

From August 2021, the IELTS Test can be booked only through IDP. Please head on to the official website of IDP to register for your test.

How to Register for IELTS examination

Keep your passport next to you during the IELTS registration process, as you’ll need your passport number at the time of registration. Those below 18 years of age should have their parent or guardian do the registration process for them.

IELTS-Exam Registration

  1. Firstly, you need to visit the IELTS official website.
  2. There will be a Register for test option, click on that option.
  3. Select the test that you are going to attempt, test type and date on which you will be appearing for the test.
  4. Fill in your personal details.
  5. Fill your details of registration.
  6. Upload your passport copies.
  7. Select the list of colleges for which your score has to be sent.
  8. Before submitting or making payment crosscheck the details that you have uploaded.
  9. Make the test fee payment.
  10. Once the payment is done, take the printout of the receipt.

Once the registration is done, your IELTS test centre will send you a confirmation with the date and time of your IELTS test.

Computer-delivered IELTS

In a computer-delivered IELTS, you will take the Listening, Reading and Writing test in a computer. The test is conducted in dedicated computer labs which have the latest technology. Everything is similar to paper-based IELTS, including:

  • Content
  • Question types
  • Marking

Timings vary from the paper-based test. In the paper-based test, users have to transfer answers to an answer sheet. When answering directly on a computer, there is no need to transfer the answers.

You will receive the results within 5-7 days.

IELTS Test Centres India

IELTS has exam centres all across India, so while choosing your centre, you should select it based on your location and travelling convenience, so that on the day of the exam there is minimal time spent on commuting to the centre. This is important so that you can avoid entering the examination hall in a rush, and you can be fresh and ready when you reach the centre.

Check here for IELTS Test Centres

IELTS Exam Dates

The IELTS exam is conducted up to 4 times a month and almost 48 times a year. The Academic version is available on all 48 dates in a year, and the General Training version may be available on 24 dates a year. The candidates can appear for the exams as per their convenience and can attempt it as many times as they want, keeping in mind the university examination dates. But, every time they attempt the IELTS examination they’ll have to pay the registration amount of Rs.14,000/-. It is advisable to choose an exam date that’s at least 2-3 months before the application deadline.

Check here for IELTS Exam Dates 2021

IELTS exam duration

The total test duration will be 2 hours 45 minutes.

Syllabus and Exam Pattern IELTS

The syllabus of IELTS examination is based on the 4 categories that are:

Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking and based on these categories the candidates are scored. The marks will be awarded based on the language skill of all the 4 categories.

Check here for detailed IELTS Syllabus

Also check, for IELTS Test format

The exam pattern for each of the 4 sections are:

  • Listening – The Listening section of the IELTS test is divided into 4 parts, and will have a total of 40 different types of questions.
  • Reading – The Reading section of the exam comprises of 3 summaries that deals with issues suitable for the candidate. This section also will have a total of almost 40 questions.
  • Writing – The Writing section comprises of two tasks, where you’ll have to write at least 150 words for task 1, and write at least 250 words for task 2. Along with this, there’ll be a diagram, table or data where you’ll have to analyze and write about.
  • Speaking – The Speaking section is more like a face-to-face interview where you’ll be marked based on how well you can communicate and speak your thoughts and opinions in English.

IELTS Preparation

There are lot of study materials available on the internet which will help in preparing for IELTS exam.

You can also consider purchasing books from our online store.

Books available on our store:

  1. Vocabulary eBook
  2. Self-study guide
  3. Questions from recent actual tests with suggested answers for both IELTS modules and all the four sections : Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

IELTS Scholarships

Once you’ve started planning to migrate abroad for studies, one of the main downsides is having to pay the higher tuition fees along with the living expenses. To make this process easier, IELTS offer various scholarships and student loans for students interested in pursuing their higher education abroad. Almost every college will provide the details on their official website regarding the scholarship, fellowship and financial grants.

Exam Fees for IELTS

IELTS exam fee in India:

While the IELTS registration fee was initially INR 13,250.

Since 1st April 2020, the registration fee is now revised to INR 14,000.

Is there a discount in the fee for IELTS?

There is absolutely NO DISCOUNT in the fee for IELTS exam.

Exam cancellation fees in IELTS

  • If you cancel the application before more than 5 weeks of the test date, the candidate receives a refund, deducting 25% of the administrative fees.
  • If you cancel the application prior to 5 weeks of the test date, the candidate will not receive the refund.
  • In case the candidate registers and does not appear for the exam, then also the amount will not be refunded.
  • If any candidate produces a medical certificate within 5 days of the test, the amount will be refunded deducting some administrative fees.

Exam Rescheduling fees in IELTS

You can reschedule the test via BC and IDP.

For BC:

  • You can request for rescheduling, up to five weeks before the test date – free of charge.

For IDP:

  • for rescheduling  a test date (i.e.  to postpone or pre-pone) to another date must be done at least three (3) weeks prior to the original test date.
  • An administrative charge is applicable as follows:
Test type  Fee details 
IELTS for UKVI INR 3,775
Computer-delivered IELTS INR 3,500
IELTS for life skills INR 3,475

Scoring and Band Scale

Test takers receive a score for each test component – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The individual scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an Overall IELTS Band Score. Basically, when you get your score report, you’ll be evaluated for each of the four skills on a band of 1 – 9 and you’ll also score an overall band score.

IELTS evaluation

You will be assessed based on the following four criteria:

  • task achievement
  • coherence and cohesion
  • lexical resource
  • grammatical range and accuracy.

These are also called as band descriptors or performance descriptors


As I mentioned earlier, there is no pass or fail in IELTS, so the cut-off score you’ll have to target for the IELTS exam, will depend on the college or university you’re planning to apply to, as each university’s IELTS score requirement will vary.

Top universities accepting IELTS score

Top universities in the world accept IELTS as a test for English language proficiency. But the minimum requirement varies for different countries. In the UK,  University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and Imperial College London accept IELTS scores. The minimum IELTS score required for pursuing undergraduate courses in these Universities is an IELTS band of 7.0. In Canada, top universities like University of Toronto, British Columbia and Mcgill University accept IELTS scores. The minimum IELTS score required for pursuing undergraduate courses in these Universities is an IELTS band of 6.5. In the US, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford and Harvard universities accept IELTS scores. The minimum IELTS score required for pursuing undergraduate courses in these Universities is an IELTS band of 7.0.


For a computer-delivered test, IELTS results are released between 5–7 days. For a paper-based test, a Test Report Form is posted to test takers 13 days after their test.

IELTS validity

The Test Report Forms (TRF) will be valid for two years since the result posting.

IELTS certificate

IELTS certificate is nothing but the Test Report Form (TRF) containing details about the results obtained by a candidate in an IELTS exam.


The intakes vary across countries.

In Australia, they have Fall and Spring intakes

In Canada, they have Fall, summer and winter intakes

In the UK, they have Summer and winter intakes

Application processing time varies for intakes across countries. So book your IELTS tests in such a way that you have your results ready well before the processing of your application.

How to send IELTS score to universities?

You will receive a TRF (Test Report Form) containing your IELTS scores within 13 days of attempting the IELTS exam.

There are three ways by which TRF can be sent to universities. They request can be made :

1.  During the registration process: If you place the request during registration, you have to provide  the names and addresses  of universities when booking the test on the website of the test center or fill the application form with 5 universities and send it to the nearest test center.

2. Within a month of attempting the exam.

3. After a month of attempting the exam: If you want additional TRFs to be sent to colleges after a month of attempting the IELTS exam , you must fill a form called Application for the Issue of Additional TRFs. Every additional TRF requested post one month period will be charged an extra fee.

Mode of delivery: 

You can send your score either as an electronic mail or as a paper TRF . Before deciding on the mode of  delivery, check the university’s official website on how they want the scores to be sent. You have to make a payment if you want to send as paper TRFs.

IELTS – In Conclusion

I think at the end of the day, it’s important to understand that IELTS is no more difficult than any other exam. If you do your preparations well, listen to E-books, and practice reading, writing, and speaking in English, you’ll find the IELTS Exam questions quite straightforward. There is no pass or fail in IELTS as the results will be graded on a 9-band scale (1 being the lowest and 9 being the highest). And always remember to check the score you require, as the requirement will vary based on your visa and the institution/organization which you plan to apply for.