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IELTS Test Knowledge

IELTS Test Knowledge - Basic Information

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. This is a test of English language proficiency, which measures the ability of examinees to communicate in the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

The IELTS is managed by three main institutions: the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL). This is important to understand in order to prepare for what is essentially a test of English and American English.

Many students who have prepared for or appeared for the TOEFL iBT are surprised when they face difficulties understanding accents and expressions used by British speakers in the IELTS. This is why thorough preparation, in a language school or through self-study, is as essential to success in this test.

There are two versions of the IELTS exam: general and academic. Examinees must know in advance which one is needed for their purposes and results are not interchangeable. Each test lasts two hours and forty-five minutes. Candidates are required to pay a fee for test administration.

Generally speaking, the IELTS is taken by those who wish to study, live or work in a country where English is the primary language of communication. Specifically, the test is taken by three broad categories of people:

  • Those who want to study English in a middle-school, college or university in the United States, Canada, UK, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand
  • Those wishing to apply for immigration to countries like Canada, Australia or New Zealand
  • Those who have to prove their English proficiency to meet the needs of professional associations or regulatory agencies in several countries


The IELTS has existed since 1989. Today, more than 1.2 millions people in over 120 countries appear for this exam every year.