About the IELTS test

What is IELTS?
IELTS is the International English Language Testing System which tests English proficiency across the globe. Conducting 1.4 million tests globally, IELTS is the world’s most popular English testing system.


Which organisations accept IELTS?
IELTS is accepted by more than 6000 organisations worldwide. These include universities, immigration departments, government agencies, professional bodies and multinational companies.


Who owns IELTS and who writes the test?
IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL) and offered through more than 500 locations in over 130 countries. International teams of writers contribute to IELTS test materials. Ongoing research ensures that IELTS remains fair and unbiased. Test writers from different English-speaking countries develop IELTS content so it reflects real-life situations.


Why are there two versions of the test?
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.


Which version should I do?
Read the explanation of the Academic and General Training tests, then contact the organisation or institution to which you are applying to find out what it requires.


What is the test structure and how long will it take?
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. Find out more and see a test sample.


How do I practice and prepare for my test?


The Official IELTS Practice Materials explains the test format in detail and gives you practice tests and answers. You can order your Official IELTS Practice Materials here:


Order IELTS preparation materials


What help is available for disabled candidates?
Test centres make every effort to cater for the special needs of disabled candidates. It is our aim for all candidates to be assessed fairly and objectively. If you have a special need, talk to your local test centre when registering. Centres may need three months to organise arrangements.

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