What is IELTS?
IELTS is the International English Language Testing system for everybody who wants to study or work in an English-speaking country. There are three types of test: IELTS Academic, IELTS General training and IELTS Life Skills.
The Academic version of IELTS is made for entry to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels or for professional registrations purposes.
IELTS General Training
The General Training test of IELTS is made for everybody who wants to apply to study at below degree level or to migrate to an English-speaking country, like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In addition, it is the preferred test for vocational training, such as in hospitality and leisure, in the tourism or in the construction industries.
IELTS Life Skills
The IELTS Life Skills test is for everybody who wants to have an official certificate about his or her language skills in English. The test is available on the levels A1, A2 and B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and includes a speaking and a listening part.
What is IELTS for?
IELTS for study
As evidence of English proficiency, the IELTS is accepted by 10.000 institutions all over the world, including universities in non-English speaking countries where you can attend courses in English. If you need the IELTS for study, you have two possibilities: IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training.
IELTS for work
There are also some industries which ask for the IELTS. These industries include the following ones:
- health care professions
- veterinary practice
Organisations use IELTS to select the right people for the job. So if you want to know the score which is necessary for your chosen organisation, you can check it here. But the required proficiency levels depend on the organisations, the professions, the country and the jurisdiction. In addition, every organisation determines the IELTS band score and the version of the test (Academic or General Training) they want.
IELTS for migration
IELTS is also a possibility for all persons who want to migrate to another country, like Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United Kingdom. But each of these countries has its own requirements which you can check on the website of the relevant government:
If you want to go to Australia, you have to demonstrate your English skills to the Department of Home Affairs. The score you need for success depends on the one hand on the organisation where you would like to study or to work and on the other hand on the visa type.
Moreover, there are about 50 locations where you can take the IELTS on Thursdays and Saturdays, 48 times per year.
If you want to go to Canada, you need to demonstrate your English skills to the IRCC – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Like for Australia, the score you need for success depends on two parts: the organisation where you want to study or to work and the visa type.
There are more than 150 locations in Canada where you can take the test.
If you want to go to New Zealand, you have to demonstrate your English skills to Immigration New Zealand. Also, in New Zealand, the score you need depends on the visa requirements and on the chosen organisation.
In addition, there are 16 locations where you can take the test.
If you want to go to the United Kingdom, you need to demonstrate your English skills to the IELTS partners which include among other things The British Council. But the IELTS Academic, IELTS General Training and IELTS Life Skills are for everybody who wants to live, work or study in the United Kingdom. Moreover, they are also accepted by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
What should you know about the test?
The IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Training include four parts: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The listening and speaking part are the same for both tests, only the reading and writing part adjust the topics to the respective version of IELTS.
Furthermore, the IELTS can be taken on paper or on the computer.
In addition, IELTS uses a scale with nine different bands to identify the language level:
- 1 – Non user: The person isn’t able to use the language, except a few words.
- 2 – Intermittent user: The person has difficulties to understand spoken and written English.
- 3 – Extremely limited user: The person understands only general topics and isn’t able to have a frequent communication without breakdown.
- 4 – Limited user: The person has a basic competence to familiar situations and isn’t able to use complex language.
- 5 – Modest user: The person is able to have easy conversations.
- 6 – Competent user: The person can use and understand complex language, focusing on familiar situations.
- 7 – Good user: The person can use and understand complex language.
- 8 – Very good user: The person can handle complex and also detailed conversations and argumentations.
- 9 – Expert user: The person is fluent in English and can understand everything without any problems.
How can you prepare yourself?
If you want to prepare yourself for an IELTS, you should – first of all – check the test format.
After knowing what will be expected to you, you can start with sample test questions for each part of the test. On IELTS.org you can find many different PDFs to practice.
Of course, there are a lot of official IELTS practice materials which also help to prepare yourself.
But there are also other possibilities: For the reading part, you can read books, newspapers and magazines in English. For the speaking part, you can talk to natives via skype to improve your speaking skills. For the listening part, podcasts and audio books are great. And for the writing part, it is helpful to write as much as you can in English, like letters and mails, but also your shopping list or notes. But the best of all to prepare yourself for an IELTS is a preparational class:
IELTS preparation classes on CourseFinders.com
On CourseFinders.com, we have more than 200 schools all over the world which offer IELTS preparation classes. So, check these schools to get prepared for the next one:
Leeds Language Academy – United Kingdom
The Leeds Language Academy is located in the heart of Leeds and is accredited by the British Council. The preparational class they offer is designed for students who want to take the IELTS Academic. In addition, students practice all parts of the test and get a personalised feedback on practice test and of personal progress.
Here you get more information: Leeds Language Academy
CEC – Cork English College – Ireland
The Cork English College exists since 1978 and is located in the city centre. This language school is an official IELTS testing centre and teaches English for study and work purposes. In addition, they want to help their students to achieve the best possible result in the exam.
Here you get more information: Cork English College
CultureWorks London: On-Campus – Canada
CultureWorks is a language school in London which prepares students from all over the world for their studies in Canadian colleges and universities. In addition, the IELTS preparation class is taken online, but also in face-to-face sessions with an expert teacher.
Here you get more information: CultureWorks
Languages International – New Zealand
The Languages International school is located in the heart of Auckland and offers preparational classes for IELTS. These classes are available as a full-time course, but also as a part of a full-time course with English for University, General English or English for Business.
Here you get more information: Languages International
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