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What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication.

IELTS is recognised by over 11,000 organisations in more than 140 countries worldwide. These organisations include universities, employers, professional bodies, and immigration authorities.

Paper or computer

You have the choice of taking IELTS on paper or on computer in a number of locations. The Listening, Reading, and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day. The Speaking test, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests.

Whether you choose to take IELTS on paper or computer, the Speaking test will still be face-to-face with trained IELTS Examiner, as this is the most effective way to assess your speaking skills.

In 2022, IELTS will launch an online version of their Academic test, which will have the same format and content as the paper and computer versions available in test centres. Initially, the online Academic test will be available in a limited number of countries. Learn more about IELTS online.

Why book IELTS with the British Council?

Book with the British Council, and you will receive:

  • Free access to a last-minute preparation course 'Road to IELTS': which includes nine videos giving advice and tutorials, 100 interactive activities, and two IELTS Academic practice tests for each of the four skills.
  • Convenient dates and locations: we have multiple test locations in countries all around the world. There are more than 800 official British Council IELTS test centres, all of which are conveniently located and have modern facilities.
  • Five extra Test Report Forms for free: we send these free of charge to institutions you're applying to (e.g. universities, colleges, immigration offices)
  • Easy booking and friendly, professional staff: you can book the test online or in person with convenient payment options. Our experienced staff will help you every step of the way to make sure that your IELTS journey runs smoothly.

How IELTS is scored

You will be awarded an IELTS band score from 0-9 for each test section, which reflects your proficiency in English. Your IELTS Test Report Form will show a score for each of the four skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) and an overall band score.

You can score whole band scores (for example 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half band scores (e.g. 5.5, 6.5, 7.5) in every section of the test. Your IELTS score is valid for 2 years.

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