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IELTS FAQ

1.  What does IELTS mean?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration.The IELTS test assesses your abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking – in less than three hours.
                                                                                    
2.  Which organizations accept IELTS?
IELTS is accepted by over 10,000 organizations in more than 140 countries. These include universities, schools, colleges and training organizations, government departments and immigration authorities, professional and industry associations, multinational companies and employers.

3.  Who owns IELTS and who writes the test?
IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. International teams of writers contribute to IELTS test materials. Ongoing research ensures that IELTS remains fair and unbiased. Test writers from different English-speaking countries develop IELTS content so it reflects real-life situations.
 
4.  Why are there two versions of the test?
There are two types of the IELTS test: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English-speaking environment. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training. The IELTS General Training test is for those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts. Listening and Speaking are the same for both tests, but the subject matter of the Reading and Writing sections differs depending on which test you take.
 
5.  What is the test format and how long will it take
The IELTS test has four sections Listening (30 minutes), Reading (60 minutes), Writing (60 minutes) and Speaking (11-14 minutes). The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. You will take the first three parts of the test on the same day, in the following order: Listening, Reading and Writing (there are no breaks between these tests). Your Speaking test will be held either on the same day or seven days before or two days after, depending on local arrangements.

6.  When can I take IELTS?
IELTS is available on 48 fixed dates a year up to four times a month, depending on local demand.
 
7.  How much does IELTS cost?
IELTS has a set fee for its test. The Academic and General Training tests are the same cost. When you apply online, you will be told the fee.
 
8.  What if I need to postpone or cancel my application?
If you postpone or cancel your application more than 5 weeks before the test date, you will receive a refund minus an administration charge. If you postpone or cancel within 5 weeks of the test date, you will be charged the full fee unless you have a medical reason. If you provide a medical certificate within 5 days of the test date, you will receive a refund minus the local administrative cost.
 
9.  What if I am absent or sick on the test day
If you are away on the test day with no prior notice, you will lose your full fee. However, in cases of serious illness, if you provide a medical certificate within 5 days of the test date, you will receive a refund minus the administrative cost.
 
10.  Is the IELTS test completed in one day?
The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are always completed immediately after each other and with no break. The Speaking test will be held either on the same day or seven days before or two days after that, depending on local arrangements.
 
11.  What can I bring into the test room?
Only pens, pencils and erasers. You must bring the passport/national identity card you used on the IELTS Application Form to the test. You must leave everything else outside the examination room. Mobile phones, pagers and electronic devices of any kind must be switched off and placed with personal belongings in the area designated by the supervisor. If you do not switch off your phone/pager or any other electronic devices, or keep it on you, you will be disqualified. Personal watches are not allowed in the test room.
 
12. Which part do I take first?
You will take the Listening test first, followed by the Reading and Writing tests (there are no breaks between these tests). Your Speaking test will be held either on the same day or seven days before or two days after that, depending on local arrangements.
 
13.  What kinds of accents can be heard in the Listening and Speaking tests?
As IELTS is an international test, a variety of English accents are used in both of these tests.
 
14.  Does the Listening tape provide instructions and pauses?
Yes. At the beginning, you hear instructions and a sample question. Then you read section 1 questions, listen to section 1 and answer the questions.
 
15.  Is there a similar period of 10 minutes in the Reading test to transfer answer?
No. The Reading test is one hour, and you must write all your answers on the answer sheet in this time. You will not be given an extra 10 mins to transfer answers.
 
16.  Can I use a pen for the Listening and Reading tests?
No. You must do it in pencil. The answer sheet is scanned by a computer which cannot read pen.
 
17. Can I make notes on the Listening and Reading question papers?
Yes. The IELTS Examiner will not see your question paper.
 
18.  What is the Speaking test?
The Speaking test is a conversation with a certified IELTS Examiner. The Speaking test is made up of three sections. It is recorded on an audio cassette or a digital recorder.
 
19.  What do I need for the Speaking test?
You must bring the same identification documents you supplied on your IELTS Application Form and used for the rest of the test. Your ID will be checked before you enter the interview room. Personal items, including electronic devices and watches, are not allowed in the Speaking test room.
 
20.  How are the tests marked?
All Academic and General Training IELTS tests are scored using a band scale from 1 (a non-user) – 9 (an expert user). Candidates are given a band score from 1 to 9 for the Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking tests. Candidates can be scored whole scores (4.0, 5.0, etc.) or half scores (4.5, 5.5, etc.). The average of the scores for each part of the test (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) then becomes the candidate’s overall band score.
 
21.  Who sets the pass mark for the IELTS test?
There is no pass or fail in IELTS. Scores are graded on the 9-band system. Each educational institution or organization sets its own level of IELTS scores to meet its individual requirements.
 
22.  When will I receive my test results?
It depends on the test format. IELTS results are available 13 days after you take the paper-based test. However, it only takes 5-7 days to get results if your test is computer-based! Your results will be delivered to you or you can pick them up in person. Your results are delivered in a Test Report Form (TRF). IELTS test centers will only provide one copy of the TRF.

23.  What if I lose my Test Report Form?
Test Report Forms are valid for two years. Copies cannot be sent to test takers but IELTS will forward a Test Report Form to your relevant institution or embassy. Up to five copies will be sent free of charge. Additional copies will incur a small administration charge. Talk to your test center for further details.
 
24.  How soon can I re-sit the test?
There is no limit on sitting the test. However, IELTS recommends you do additional study
before taking the test again. Some test centers offer preparatory courses and language classes. You can also improve your skills by using the IELTS Official Practice Materials.
 
25.  What if I feel my test result is wrong?
You can apply for an ‘enquiry on results’ procedure at your test center within six weeks of the test date. You must pay an enquiry fee, which is fully refunded if your bands core changes. Your result will normally be available in 2-21 days, depending on several factors including the number of sections requested for re-mark
 
26. What if I am delayed by circumstances beyond my control?
The test center may offer you a test on the next available test date.

 
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