The International English Language Testing System, also known as IELTS, is an examination of English language proficiency that is held all across the world. Held in more than 500 centers, this test takes place four times a year. The IELTS assesses the candidates on the basis of their listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. This exam needs to be taken by candidates who are either desirous of pursuing higher education or seeking employment opportunities in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada.
Types of IELTS: The candidates can either appear for the General Training format or the Academic. The former is applicable for the candidates who want to migrate for the purposes of employment in a different country. The Academic is for the ones who want to pursue higher education abroad.
Format of IELTS: The candidates can choose from two formats of the IELTS examination- the General Training or the Academic. The test will take place in the following format:
- The test would begin with the Listening section that will last for 30 minutes. This section will be divided into four parts having 40 items.
- For the Reading section, the General Training and the Academic will consist of 3 sections having 40 items that need to be solved within an hour.
- For the Writing section, both the formats will have 2 tasks assigned of 150 and 250 words that need to be completed within 60 minutes.
- All the above sections have to be completed together within a particular day and the Speaking section can either be offered on the same date or any other day of the same week. This section will last for a maximum of 14 minutes.
Fee for IELTS: For the candidates in India, the test fee is INR 7,600.
Eligibility for IELTS: Students as well as professionals in the field of medicine are eligible to take the IELTS examinations. However, the candidates should not be less than 16 years of age. There is no academic qualification required to appear for this test.
How to register for IELTS: In order to register for the IELTS, the following steps have to be followed:
- The candidates should visit http://www.ielts.org/ which is the official website of the IELTS and find their nearest IELTS center. In the same website, they will be able to find the dates of the examinations and pick one that is suitable for them. The candidates will also be able to find the registration deadlines for the examination dates.
- The application form can be downloaded from the same website and after duly filling it in, the form has to be sent to the postal address that is mentioned on the website.
- Two copies of the candidate’s passport size photographs have to be sent along with the application form and each of the photographs must be signed. The candidates should not be wearing glasses in the photographs. A copy of the valid passport also has to be sent.
- The application form and the required documents have to be then taken to the test centers along with the requisite fees.
- Once the registration procedure is completed, the test center will confirm the date of the test, the venue and the time.
Evaluation of the IELTS examination: Candidates do not fail or pass in this examination. The evaluation is done on a 9-band scoring system where the candidates receive their scores in individual bands for the separate sections. All the educational institutions set their levels according to which they select the candidates.
Test Dates: For the year 2012, the IELTS examination is scheduled to be held on the following dates:
|January||17th, 12th, 14th, and 21st||7th and 21st|
|February||4th, 9th, 18th, and 25th||9th and 18th|
|March||8th, 10th, 17th and 31st||10th and 31st|
|April||12th, 14th, 21st, and 28th||12th and 21st|
|May||10th, 12th, 19th, and 26th||12th and 26th|
|June||9th, 14th, 16th and 30th||9th and 30th|
|July||7th, 12th, 21st, and 28th||12th and 21st|
|August||4th, 9th, 11th, and 25th||4th and 25th|
|September||1st, 6th, 15th and 22nd||1st and 22nd|
|October||11th, 13th, 20th, 27th||13th and 27th|
|November||3rd, 8th, 17th, and 24th||8th and 17th|
|December||1st, 6th, 8th, and 15th||1st and 8th|
Institutes that accept IELTS score: The list of some of the institutes that accept the IELTS score has been given below:
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Arizona State University
- Boston University
- University of Oregon
- University of Nebraska
- Oklahoma State University
- University of Missouri
- Central Michigan University
- University of North Alabama
- San Francisco State University
- Colorado State University
- The University of Nottingham
- Essex University
- University of Cambridge
- University of Oxford
- Liverpool University
- University of Edinburgh
- Birmingham University
- University College London
- Glasgow University
- University of Alberta
- Athabasca University
- University of Calgary
- Augustana University College
- University of Lethbridge
- Concordia University College of Alberta
Reference books for IELTS preparation: The recommended reference books for the IELTS examination have been listed below:
- Cambridge Practice Tests for IELTS I
- IELTS Practice Tests Plus, by V. Jakeman
- Cambridge IELTS 4
- Check Your Vocabulary for the IELTS Examination, by Rawdon Wyatt
- How to Prepare for IELTS, by Rawdon Wyatt
- On Course for IELTS, by Darren Conway
How to Prepare for IELTS: Aside from solving practice sets from the reference books, the candidates must read a lot of English books, watch English movies and listen to songs of the same language so that they are much at ease with it. Such activities will also improve their vocabulary and enable them to express themselves fluently and without faltering.