International English Language Testing System, or also known as the IELTS, is a standardised English language proficiency test for non-native speakers. It is designed to help people study, work or migrate to a country where English is most likely the native language.
The IELTS is one of the most popular and biggest English language tests around the world. The test is graded on a scale of 1-9 and during the exam the students ability to read, write, listen and speak will all be assessed.
There are usually three main reasons for taking the IELTS exam - working, studying or immigrating to an English speaking country. In order to do that, every person must demonstrate a high level of English. The test is globally recognised by over 11,000 universities, schools and employers.
Most commonly, the people taking the exam are students who wish to study abroad. The exam is a standard requirement for most universities in the UK, Canada, Australia etc.
However, the exam shouldn’t just be seen as an entry requirement. If a student prepares thoroughly and does well on the exam, they will certainly have an easier time in the actual degree they choose as well. All of the skills tested during the exam - speaking, listening, writing and reading will be a crucial part in every student's course and the IELTS exam is a great way to prepare.
As previously mentioned, the exam consists of four parts - listening, reading, writing and speaking.
The test starts with the listening part which takes about 30 minutes. During that half hour students will listen to a few recorded texts and conversations between native speakers while answering a series of questions.
After listening, the reading part will take 60 minutes and consist of 40 questions. The questions aim to assess the student’s ability to understand the main idea, notice details, skim through information and recognise writer’s opinions.
The writing part also takes one hour and has two separate parts. During the first exercise participants will be presented with a graph or a chart and will have to describe or summarise the information in their own words. In the second part, they will have to write an essay in response to a particular problem or point of view.
Last but certainly not least, the speaking part of the exam comes last. It is also the shortest part of the IELTS and takes about 15 minutes. In the beginning the participant will be asked questions about their personal life, such as their family, home, hobbies etc. After that they will receive a card with a particular topic which they will have to discuss and give an opinion on.
The needed score entirely depends on what you need it for. Job opportunities and universities might have different requirements. Usually, for most universities a grade between 6.5 and 7.5 is required, but you’ll have to check what the requirements for your specific university are when applying.