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   This test is for people who intend to study or work where English is the language of communication. It measures ability to communicate in English across all four language skills listening, reading, writing and speaking. IELTS is jointly managed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL) through more than 350 locations in 120 countries.

            It opens doors for you to more than 2000 educational institutions, government agencies and professional organizations across 120 countries where IELTS scores are recognized as a trusted and valid indicator of ability to communicate in English. IELTS is an English Language Proficiency test that is required to be taken by non-native students for study in countries where the medium of instruction is English. Among the popular study destinations IELTS is accepted by universities in UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA.
            It has become a mandatory test for students of many nationalities to obtain student visas to Australia. You cannot be granted an Australian student visa without an IELTS score if you are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and many other countries, TOEFL is not accepted. All other study destinations either require you to take the TOEFL or IELTS. IELTS is however not accepted by most universities in USA. TOEFL is required as a proof of English proficiency to study there.

Types of IELTS Tests:

IELTS is offered as 2 types of tests.

1. General Test:
                            This test is taken by applicants who wish to seek permanent residence or employment in countries like Australia.

2. Academic Test:
                            This test is taken by students who wish to Study Abroad.

IELTS Test Structure:
        IELTS tests the ability to listen, read, write and speak in English. Band scores are used for each language sub-skill (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking). The Band Scale ranges from 1 ("Non User") to 9 ("Expert User") the four Band Scores, one for each section are added together and averaged for an Overall Band Score. Each Band has a statement giving a summary of the English at that level. There are nine Band levels, from one (non-user) to nine (expert user). All candidates must complete four Modules - Listening, Reading, Writing and speaking to obtain an IELTS Test Report Form. Total Test Time 2 hours 45 minutes.
                            The first three modules - Listening, Reading and Writing - must be completed in one day. The Speaking Module may be taken, at the discretion of the test centre, in the period seven days before or after the other Modules. The tests are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert user.

1. Reading(60 minutes) (Scoring scale: 0-9 bands):
        Reading has 3 passages and 40 items (questions). Each item is worth one mark.
2. Writing (60 minutes) (Scoring scale: 0-9 bands):
        It consists of 2 tasks (Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2) and candidates must answer BOTH tasks.
3. Listening (40 minutes) (Scoring scale: 0-9 bands):
        IELTS Listening has four sections, each with 10 items (or questions). Each item is worth one mark.
4. Speaking (11-14 minutes) (Scoring scale: 0-9 bands):
        IELTS Speaking is a one-to-one interaction between the candidate and an examiner.

IELTS is conducted in India by IDP and British Council. For detailed information about IELTS, please refer to the official website of IELTS™.

IELTS Exam Dates:
   British Council India, IELTS exam dates.
   IDP, IELTS Test Registration centers.

IELTS level for admission to the academic world:
        The minimum score accepted for a course ranges from 5.0 to 7.5, depending upon courses and institutes you are applying to. The most common requirement is a band score of 6 to 6.5.


The registration fee for IELTS from July 1, 2013 is Rs.9,300.
You can register online or in person at IDP or British Council. The detailed information about registering for the IELTS can be found at IDP and British-Council.
IELTS is offered on specific days of the year. One can access the whole schedule which can vary depending on the country here.
IELTS can be taken unlimited number of times.(It is highly advisable not to appear for IELTS too many times as it may affect the applicant's candidature).
Your IELTS score will be valid for 2 years after from the date the test was taken.
Scoring is between 0 (Minimum) and 9 (Maximum) with 0.5 band increment. Four scores are reported on the IELTS:
  Reading score reported on a 0-9 band scale, with 0.5 band increment.
  Listening score reported on a 0-9 band scale, with 0.5 band increment.
  Writing score reported on a 0-9 band scale, with 0.5 band increment.
  Speaking score reported on a 0-9 band scale, with 0.5 band increment.
The scores are available 13 days after the exam date.
You may request for additional Test Report Form (TRF) to be dispatched directly by the test centre to the recognising institution / body. There is NO CHARGE for the additional TRF, but the candidate will have to pay a dispatch charge of Rs.1,000 if the candidate wishes to order dispatch by Courier or Rs.250 if the dispatch is by Registered Post.
No, you do not need to have the IELTS score with you at the time of applying.
Yes, schools in USA have started accepting IELTS score. More than 550 USA schools accept IELTS score. The complete list of USA schools accepting IELTS is available here.