A Comprehensive Guide to Writing the IELTS
Earn high scores on the reading, writing, listening and speaking sections of the IELTS by reading about registration, costs, eligibility, and tips from experts in our blog!
What is the IELTS?
One of the world's most well-known and respected English language competence examinations is the International Language Testing System or IELTS.
This test is necessary for students hoping to pursue higher education in English-speaking countries.
Over 10,000 educators from all over the world accept and esteem the test. A few non-English speaking countries are home to universities with programs taught in English. As a result, these universities often require prospective international students to submit their IELTS scores with their applications.
What are the Types of IELTS?
There are two types of exams that IELTS provides. IELTS Academic is intended for students who want to pursue further education at institutions of higher learning abroad.
It is also ideal for those looking to train at a professional institution in another country.
The IELTS General Training Test is most appropriate for people who want to work abroad, obtain work experience, or pursue professional training.
How to Register?
You can either sign up for the IELTS online or register by post. To begin, you have to choose your test centre. Your IELTS test registration and payment will open once you have completed this step.
If you prefer to apply via the post, you must download and fill out the IELTS application form before submitting it to the nearest IELTS centre.
Once your application has been processed, you will receive a mail confirming the date and time of your written and spoken IELTS test.
What is the Cost of the IELTS Exam?
To take the IELTS exam (academic and general training), you will have to pay a fee of Rs. 15,500 for the pen and paper-based and computer-delivered tests. However, if you are writing the IELTS for UK visas and immigration, you will have to pay a fee of Rs. 15,750. There are a variety of options to pay for the test. You can pay via credit card, debit card, net banking, payment wallets, demand drafts or cash.
Some Indian centres do not accept cash or credit and debit cards.
What is the Eligibility For IELTS?
The IELTS is open to almost everyone. The main requirement to give the exam is a passport. Adults over 16 are also recommended to take it.
What is the Test Duration and Format for IELTS?
The listening, reading and writing test is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
- The listening section is 30 minutes long.
Four recordings of native English speakers will be provided, and after listening to each recording, you will have to write down answers to questions about the recording.
- The reading section is 60 minutes long
It requires you to read three passages and answer 40 questions about the passages. The questions test the reader's ability to -
- identify information in the passages
- identify the writer's views and opinions
- match features
- match information
- match sentence endings
- complete sentences
- complete tables
- complete flowcharts
- answer short questions
- Complete notes
- Match headings
- Complete summaries
- Label diagrams
- Multiple-choice questions
There are two tasks in the written portion, and you have 60 minutes for each.
- The first task requires you to interpret, enumerate, or summarize a chart, diagram, table, or graph.
- Whereas, the second task requires you to respond to a piece expressing an issue, point of view, or argument.
The speaking portion of the IELTS takes around 15 minutes and is divided into three parts.
- The first part will question you about familiar subjects and yourself in the first section. Consequently, these topics could include your interests, ambition, family, home, work or studies.
- In the second part, you will have to speak about a topic on a card provided to you. After a minute to think about it and two minutes to talk about the topic, you will be asked a question or two about it.
This is also part three of the speaking section, where you can discuss more abstract ideas and your thoughts about the issue.
The four sections of the IELTS are scored on bands of 9, and the average score is considered the final result. The score you earn will be between 0 and 9 and includes half bands (.5). Hence, the highest possible score you can earn is 9, while the lowest possible score is 0. There is no negative marking for incorrect answers, so answering every question is advisable.
One point is awarded for each correct response in the listening and reading sections. The bands are then established using the total score for each component. Additionally, bands are assigned to the speaking and writing parts.
- Your final score will be rounded up to the higher half-band if your total score is 7.25 bands; in this example, it will be 7.5.
- If you earn 7.75, your final score will be 8 bands.
To better understand how many questions you will have to get right to get a certain number of bands, refer to the following table -
Band Score out of 40
- 5 -16
- 6 -23
- 7 -30
- 8 -35
Band Score out of 40
- 5 -15
- 6 -23
- 7 -30
- 8 -35
As you cannot fail the IELTS, the required score depends on the university and country's requirements. Each university will have its IELTS requirement, and you will have to check its website to find the minimum score they will accept. Most countries require a minimum score of 6.5 for postgraduate and 6.0 for undergraduate courses. These countries include Canada, Australia, the USA, and New Zealand. The UK also accepts 5.5 as the minimum IELTS score.
The IELTS scores will be delivered within 13 days of giving the test. The results will be available to view for 28 days.
You can check the results online or opt for an SMS update from the centre, as most centres will provide you with this option. Additionally, You can even ask the centre to post the results or pick up the results in person.
You will need your ID number, passport, and candidate number to get your results.
When you sign up for your IELTS, you can choose five universities or organizations to receive your IELTS results. If you wish to send your scores to additional organizations, you will have to pay a small administration fee.
Validity and Retakes
Your IELTS scores are valid for three years. You can opt to retake the IELTS at any time without restrictions based on when you took it last. However, you will have to check in advance and apply for an available date and time slot that you find favourable.
The IELTS exam is conducted 2-3 times a month, so you can even take it twice.
IELTS to let students in India retake single modules from March 2023
Starting March 2023, students will have the option of retaking the IELTS for one component if they did not get the desired score on the first attempt.
Currently, students must retake the entire test for all four modules: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. So, if a student wants to improve their band score, they will have to take the whole test again instead of only retaking the module.
Transfer, Cancellation, And Refund
If you wish to postpone or cancel your IELTS test, you will have to do so at least five weeks before your scheduled test date. You can do this in person or via email. If you do not do this within five weeks, you will not receive a refund.
There are exceptions, however, and in these cases, you will receive a refund if you provide proof of your inability to sit for the test. The exceptions include serious illnesses or injuries, loss or bereavement of a close family member, and hardship or trauma caused by a crime committed against you or a result of an accident.
Also worth noting, is that you cannot cancel or postpone different parts of your test. For instance, your speaking test is still part of the IELTS test, so you cannot postpone just this part of your test.
As the location of your IELTS test may differ from the test centre where you booked your test, you should check the location, date and time and make sure you arrive before the test starts. You may not be admitted to the test if you arrive after the trial has started.
Since electronic devices, including your phone, are not permitted in examination rooms, it would be best to leave them outside.
Once you begin your test, which will take 2 hours and 40 minutes, you will have no break between the three parts of the difficulty – listening, reading and writing. It would help to eat something before the test because you can only bring drinks in transparent bottles.
You should carry proof of identification as well. The staff will confirm your identity, so ensure you have the relevant ID mentioned in the documents you receive after registering for the exam.
In addition to checking your ID, the IELTS staff will also click your photograph before the exam commences, and they will place this photo on your Test Report form. Centres in certain countries also require your biometrics.
Your ID, a pencil or pen, and an eraser are the only items you can keep on your desk for the test.
If you have questions or need to use the restroom, you can raise your hand to alert the invigilator. If your headset does not work during your listening exam, let the invigilator know as soon as possible.
Once you have completed your test, you must stay seated until the invigilator permits you to leave the room.
Additionally, if you experienced any problems during your test that may have hindered your performance on the test, you will have to raise a complaint within a week of the test date. You can fill out a Test Day Incident Form.
Expert Tips From Our Counselors:
- Do your research on the test center before you book your IELTS test accordingly as students have complained about faulty headsets and computers.
- If you make a mistake during your spoken exam, pointing it out will not draw more attention to the mistake. The chances of the examiner noticing the error are high. Correcting the mistake will show the examiner that you are aware of it and can correct it yourself.
- While you can use a pen or pencil for your IELTS writing, using a pencil is always recommended for your IELTS writing, listening and reading sections, as you can always erase in case of a mistake. Don’t forget to carry an eraser.
- Do not wear a wristwatch to the exam.