The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. Considering that IELTS is one of the major English-language tests in the world, it is accepted by most Australian, British, Canadian and New Zealand academic institutions, in addition by many academic institutions in the United States of America and also by various professional organisations around the globe.
No minimum score is required to pass the test. An IELTS result or Test Report Form is issued to all test takers with a score from “band 1” (“non-user”) to “band 9” (“expert user”). There is also a “band 0” score for those who did not attempt the test. Institutions are advised not to consider a report older than two years to be valid, unless the user proves that they have worked to maintain their level.
IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert use. The Academic version is for test takers who want to study at tertiary level in an English-speaking country or seek professional registration. The General Training version is for test takers who want to work, train, study at a secondary school or migrate to an English-speaking country. The difference between the Academic and General Training versions is the content, context and purpose of the tasks. All other features, such as timing allocation, length of written responses and reporting of scores, are the same.
IELTS Academic and General Training both incorporate the following features: IELTS tests the ability to listen, read, write and speak in English. The speaking module is a crucial component of IELTS. It is conducted in the form of a one-to-one interview with an examiner. The examiner assesses the test taker as he or she is speaking. The speaking session is also recorded for monitoring and for re-marking in case of an appeal against the score given. Band scores are used for each language sub-skill (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). The Band Scale ranges from 0 (“Did not attempt the test”) to 9 (“Expert User”).
Again, there are two modules of the IELTS, Academic Module and General Training Module. IELTS Academic is intended for those who want to enrol in unversities and other institutions of higher education and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study of practise in an English-speaking country. IELTS General Training is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience, or for immigration purposes.