IELTS is the International English Language Testing System which tests English proficiency across the globe. Conducting 2 million tests in the past year, IELTS is the world’s most popular high stakes English-language test for study, work andmigration.
IELTS is accepted by more than 9,000 organisations worldwide. These include universities, immigration departments, government agencies, professional bodies and multinational companies.
IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment and offered through more than 1,100 test centres and locations in over 140 countries.
IELTS has two versions – Academic and General Training. The Academic test is for those who want to study at a tertiary level in an English-speaking country. The General Training test is for those who want to do work experience or training programs, secondary school or migrate to an English-speaking country. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests.
IELTS has four parts – Listening (30 minutes), Reading (60 minutes), Writing (60 minutes) and Speaking (11–14 minutes). The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are done in one sitting. The Speaking test may be on the same day or up to seven days before or after the other tests.
Overall band score
Candidates receive a Test Report Form setting out their Overall Band Score and their scores on each of the four sub-tests: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Each of the sub-test scores is equally weighted. The Overall Band Score is calculated by taking the mean of the total of the four individual sub-test scores.
Overall Band Scores are reported to the nearest whole or half band. For the avoidance of doubt, the following rounding convention applies: if the average across the four skills ends in .25, it is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, it is rounded up to the next whole band.
Thus, a candidate achieving 6.5 for Listening, 6.5 for Reading, 5.0 for Writing and 7.0 for Speaking would be awarded an Overall Band Score of 6.5 (25 ÷ 4 = 6.25 = Band 6.5).
Likewise, a candidate achieving 4.0 for Listening, 3.5 for Reading, 4.0 for Writing and 4.0 for Speaking would be awarded an Overall Band Score of 4.0 (15.5 ÷ 4 = 3.875 = Band 4.0).
On the other hand, a candidate achieving 6.5 for Listening, 6.5 for Reading, 5.5 for Writing and 6.0 for Speaking would be awarded band 6 (24.5 ÷ 4 = 6.125 = Band 6).