The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration, with over 2.9 million tests taken in the last year.
What is the test format and how long will it take?
IELTS has four parts – Listening (30 minutes), Reading (60 minutes), Writing (60 minutes) and Speaking (11–14 minutes). The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are done in one sitting. The Speaking test is held on the date you choose during your registration.
Who Takes the IELTS and Why?
In Canada, IELTS is the most popular English-language test that’s used for work, study, and migration. It is also recognized by over 10,000 organizations in 140 countries around the world. Developed in consultation with experts from around the world, the IELTS test is researched and monitored to ensure that it is fair for all candidates, regardless of their background.
As an IELTS Examiner, I’ve seen people of all ages and backgrounds, and from a wide variety of countries take the IELTS. In fact, meeting people from different countries is one of the perks of being an IELTS examiner!
Over the years I’ve learned that the reasons for taking the IELTS vary as much as the people who take the test.
Higher Education/Professional Field
There are two versions of the IELTS: the IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Training. Before registering for the exam, candidates must decide which version they’ll take. Candidates should consider their goals and needs when determining which version to take. If you are not sure whether you should take the IELTS Academic or General Training, I strongly recommend that you get some advice from the organization you are applying to (i.e. the school, government body, etc.).
The IELTS Academic is taken by those planning to study for higher education, such as in a university or college. For these candidates, their admission to an undergraduate or postgraduate program or courses may be based on the results of the IELTS Academic.
Another group of people who may take the IELTS Academic are those planning to work in a professional field such as engineering or accounting.
Training and Migration
The General Training version is usually taken by those wishing to study, work or get training for their jobs in an English-speaking country. This exam is also taken by those wishing to migrate to an English-speaking County such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the UK.
Non-Native Speakers Only?
Some people are surprised to learn that both non-native and native English speakers may have to take the IELTS, depending on their needs and goals. As an examiner, I ‘ve met native speakers who plan to attend university, those who are migrating, or those who are seeking career opportunities. In some cases, native English speakers, just like non-native English speakers, are required to prove their language ability; many do so by taking the IELTS.
One of the reasons IELTS is so popular with so many people is that it’s accepted by more than 10,000 organizations in over 140 countries. A wide variety of organizations, such as universities, colleges, schools and governments, as well as professional and industry bodies, accept IELTS results.
Living or Working in Canada
For those applying to live or work in Canada, you may be aware that there are Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) requirements.