Skip to main content


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is designed to assess the language ability of test takers who need to study or work where English is the language of communication.

The test is made up of four sections:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking.

Tests are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert user, with each section consisting of tasks of ascending levels of difficulty.  IELTS scores are accepted across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

IELTS is jointly owned by British Council; IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.

IELTS is available in two formats – Academic and General Training.

Academic module

The Academic module is for test takers wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration in the UK.  It is also a requirement for some professions in other English-speaking countries.

General Training module

The General Training module is for test takers wishing to migrate to an English-speaking country (Australia, Canada, New Zealand).

Each test user sets its own entry requirements. If you are in any doubt as to which module you should take, you should contact the organisation you are applying to in order to check their requirements.

How examiners are tested

IELTS Writing and Speaking assessments are carried out by trained and certificated examiners, all of whom are qualified and experienced English language specialists. The examiners work to clearly defined criteria and are subject to extensive and detailed quality control procedures.

Examiners are monitored by examiner trainers up to four times a year and at least once every two years. New examiners (and those who have not recently worked as IELTS examiners) are monitored at least three times in their first year. All examiners receive written feedback on their ratings and also on the delivery of the Speaking test. They may be required to take corrective action if any issues are raised about their performance.

Standardisation takes place as close as possible to the 2-yearly re-certification of the examiner. After the standardisation session, the examiners then complete a new certification set to demonstrate they can apply the assessment criteria accurately.