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The test that opens doors around the world

This booklet contains important information to help you prepare for your IELTS test.

IELTS, the International English Language Testing System, is designed to assess the language ability of people who want to study or work where English is the language of communication.

IELTS is recognised and accepted by over 9,000 organisations worldwide, including universities, employers, professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies. Find out Who Accepts IELTS Scores.
Accessible and convenient
IELTS is offered up to four times a month in more than 130 countries. Tests are held on Saturdays and Thursdays. To find out test dates in your area, please contact your nearest IELTS test centre. To find out the contact details for all IELTS test centres worldwide visit IELTS website.

The international test
IELTS is internationally focused in its content. For example, texts and tasks are sourced from publications from all over the English-speaking world; a range of native-speaker accents (North American, Australian, New Zealand, British etc.) are used in the Listening test; and all standard varieties of English are accepted in test takers’ written and spoken responses.

The test that’s tried and trusted
IELTS has been developed by some of the world’s leading experts in language assessment, and is supported by an extensive programme of research, validation and test development.

The level of the test
IELTS is designed to assess English language skills across a wide range of levels. There is no such thing as a pass or fail in IELTS. Results are reported as band scores on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest).

The IELTS band score scale
9 Expert user
8 Very good user
7 Good user
6 Competent user
5 Modest user
4 Limited user
3 Extremely limited user
2 Intermittent user
1 Non user
0 Did not attempt the test

Preparing for your test

Make sure you are ready to demonstrate your English
1. Familiarise yourself with the format of the test by reading this booklet. If you would like more information about the format of the test and the question types used, familiar yourself with the Test Specifications. 2. Practise using Sample Questions. 3. Consider doing a practice test. Two volumes of Official IELTS Practice Materials are available for purchase from test centres. These materials include a full practice test with answers, and sample Writing and Speaking performances with examiner comments. 4. Consider enrolling in a Preparation Course to improve your performance in the test. IELTS test centres and language schools around the world offer IELTS preparation courses.

To find out more about IELTS, visit the British Council IELTS Canada webpage.

Know the IELTS rules and regulations
It’s important to familiarise yourself with the IELTS rules and regulations. These are laid out in the Notice to Candidates and Declaration which are included in the application form. When you sign the application form declaration, or agree to the terms online, you are confirming that you have read and understood the IELTS rules and regulations and agree to abide by them.

Register as soon as possible
When you feel you are ready to take the test, you need to register for a test date with an IELTS centre. Contact the centre as soon as possible, as the number of test takers who can take the test on a particular date may be limited. You will need to pay the test fee when you register.

Tell your centre if you have special requirements
In order to ensure that the language ability of all test takers is assessed fairly and objectively, IELTS provides a comprehensive service for test takers who have special requirements, including specific learning difficulties, hearing difficulties and visual difficulties.

If you require a modified version of the test, for example a Large Print or Braille version, you must give the test centre three months’ notice. This notice period is necessary for the modified test version to be prepared. If your circumstances require special administrative arrangements to be made, for example if you need extra time or you need to use access technology such as a screen reader, you must give the test centre six weeks’ notice. Please contact your test centre to discuss your requirements. Any special arrangements agreed are in accordance with the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).

Test format

There are two modules to choose from – Academic and General Training.

IELTS Academic
IELTS Academic is for test takers wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration.

IELTS General Training
IELTS General Training is for test takers wishing to migrate to an English-speaking country (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK), and for those wishing to train or study at below degree level.

Each organisation sets its own entry requirements. In some cases both Academic or General Training may be accepted. If you are in doubt as to which to take, you should contact the organisation you are applying to in order to check their requirements.

You are tested on all four language skills – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking, unless you have an exemption due to a disability (see section on special requirements). Everyone takes the same Listening and Speaking tests. There are different Reading and Writing tests for IELTS Academic and General Training.

The Listening, Reading and Writing tests must be completed on the same day. The order in which these tests are taken may vary. There are no breaks between these three tests. The Speaking test may be taken up to seven days before or after the other three tests.

Test Results

The Test Report Form
You will receive a Test Report Form which reports a score for each of the four skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking), as well as an overall band score. Half band scores may be awarded to indicate a strong performance within a particular band. Learn more about Score Processing and Score Interpretation.

Results are available 13 calendar days after the test. At some test centres test takers may collect their results on the 13th day; at others, results are mailed on the 13th day. Test centres are not permitted to give results over the phone or by fax or email.

You will receive only one copy of the Test Report Form. It’s important that you keep it safe as replacement Test Report Forms will have an extra cost. Test centres will send copies of your Test Report Form to up to five organizations free of charge, only if you have selected them at the time of your online registration. Any additions after your registration will be subject to a fee. Please note: If your TRF is lost, there is an additional fee for re-printing.
Preview your results online
You can preview your results online in 3-5 calendar days after the test for Computer-Delivered IELTS and 13 calendar days after the test for IELTS on paper. Results remain online for 28 days. Please note that the online preview of results should not be used as an official confirmation of your performance. Read more about IELTS Test Results.

Results validity period
Organisations will not usually accept a Test Report Form that is more than two years old unless you provide evidence that you have actively maintained or tried to improve your English since taking the test. The IELTS Test Partners cannot confirm the validity of test results that are more than two years old.

Re-taking IELTS

There are no restrictions on Re-taking IELTS. You can register for a test as soon as you feel you are ready to do so. Please note that your score is unlikely to increase unless you make a significant effort to improve your English before re-taking the test. Learn more about Re-taking IELTS.

Enquiries on results

If you are unhappy with your test result, you can apply for a re-mark (Enquiry on Results) at the centre where you took the test. You must make the application no later than six weeks after the test date. You can choose which test components are re-marked. There is a fee for this service which will be refunded if your score on any component is increased. Enquiries on Results take 3 weeks to complete. More information refer to Enquiry on Results (EOR).

Completing the Listening/Reading answer sheets

IELTS five steps to success


To find out the contact details for all IELTS test centres worldwide visit IELTS website, where you can also download the application form.


Read through all the information you receive with the application form carefully. Complete the paper application form or online registration and submit it to your nearest test centre. You will need to enclose the test fee or make the payment online. Make sure you enter the number of your identity document (your passport or national identity card) and attach a clear colour photocopy or scanned copy of your identity document to the application form. The identity document must be valid at the time of registration and the same ID document must be presented on the day of the test.


The test centre will give you written confirmation of the date and time of the test. Your Speaking test time will be scheduled on the same day as the written tests or on a different day within a 7-day window before or after the written tests. The test centre will confirm your Speaking test time.

Test day

Your identity will be checked on the day of the test and before the Speaking test. You must present the same identity document that you used when you registered for the test. Your photograph will be taken as an additional security measure, and it will appear on your IELTS Test Report Form. In addition a finger scan may be taken. Learn more about IELTS Test Day Information & Schedule.


Results will be available 13 calendar days after the test. At some test centres test takers can collect their results on the 13th day. At other test centres results are mailed to test takers on the 13th day. Test centres are not permitted to give results out over the phone or by scan or email. Preview of your results is available online 13 calendar days after the test. Results will remain online for 28 days. Please note that the online preview of your results should not be used as an official confirmation of your performance. Learn more about IELTS Results.

Road to IELTS – Free IELTS Prep Tool

Get a free IELTS Preparation tool upon registering for your IELTS test with Coast English Testing. ‘Road to IELTS’ is a comprehensive e-learning platform where you can get access to sample test papers, tutorial videos and practice tests.

Road to IELTS Includes

· Online prep material available for both IELTS Academic and General Training.
· Test guidance from previous test takers.
· Tutorial videos from IELTS experts.
· Timed practice tests available for both IELTS on paper and IELTS on computer tests.
· “My Progress” section to measure your performance.
· “My Profile” section to remind you of your IELTS test date.

Course Benefits:

· Get advice from expert IELTS teachers.
· Access to IELTS mock papers – You can either print them to get a IELTS on paper test feel or do them on the IELTS on computer simulator.
· Study Planner – This will help you measure and track your performance.
· Interactive Exercises & Instant Feedback– Get access to over 300 interactive exercises. This also comes with marking and feedback.
Free Version Last Minute Version Speed Version Success Version Premium Version
Who can access Free for everyone (Academic or General Training) Free when you register for IELTS with British Council Can be purchased from IELTS Practice Can be purchased from IELTS Practice Can be purchased from IELTS Practice
Practice test papers 3 tests 6 tests 18 tests 27 tests 27 tests
Speaking part 2 tests 1 test 2 tests 6 tests 9 tests 9 tests
Interactive activities 19 75 324 324 324
Advice and tutorial videos 4 9 13 13 13
Access period - Up to 1 week after the test date 31-day access 31-day access 90-day access
My Progress - Yes Yes Yes Yes
Improve your English - - - Grammar, Writing and Study Skills for IELTS Grammar, Writing and Study Skills for IELTS
To access more free IELTS preparation material, visit the British Council IELTS Canada preparation webpage.

Register for IELTS to get free access to Road to IELTS