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IELTS: The English Proficiency Test

July 2020

The International English Language Testing System, renowned as the IELTS, examines a student's English language skills in the areas of Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The format of the IELTS is either Paper Based or Computer Based.



The exam is divided into two modules, that is the Academic Module and the General Training. Whilst the Academic module is required when students are looking to study at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, the General Training module is required when students want to undertake vocational studies or wish to immigrate.

Test Format

Paper Based

The test is divided into four parts:

  • Listening: With 4 sections, it has 40 questions in total. It lasts for 40 minutes, inclusive of the 10-minute transfer time for students to transfer the answers onto the main answer sheet.
  • Reading: This has three passages and 40 questions in total. With one hour to complete the task.
  • Writing: There are two writing tasks.
  • Speaking: This section is usually undertaken on another day and includes 3 parts that last for 11-14 minutes.

Computer Based

  • Listening: With 4 sections, it has 40 questions in total. At the end of each part, students are given time to review the answers. Moreover, at the end of the test students are given 2 minutes to check the answers. The tests last for 30-34 minutes.
  • All other sections are similar to the paper-based tests.
  • Speaking: Here the student has the chance to select it on the same day as the other tests.


The scores are generated on a Band Scale of 0-9. While the required score varies according to the university under consideration, a score of at least 6 bands for undergraduate overseas education programs and 6.5 for postgraduate programs is considered ideal. The scores generally take 15 working days and remain valid for a period of two years.

Benefits of giving the IELTS

Apart from it being an entry requirement that students are required to give as an admission requirement to study abroad, there are a range of benefits students can avail upon giving the exam:

Helps you assess your skills: English being the language of communication, it becomes important to know where one stands in the said language. Upon attaining a good score, the confidence students have in their skills increases multifold.

Harness your skills: It's seen in many cases that students often lag in one of the areas of Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking. However, through this test, all the necessary criteria of the English language are put to test. Thus, if the student lags in a certain area they undertake the necessary work to further develop their skills.

Familiarize yourself: Upon giving the IELTS, you will be familiarized with the kind of English proficiency students are required to possess when they are seeking to attain higher education abroad.

Gain certificate: Students who have successfully given the IELTS exam are awarded a certificate. This certificate although acts as an entry requirement to study overseas, it also becomes an added feather in one's cap because it is widely recognized by professional bodies, companies, and government agencies.

Worldwide recognition: The IELTS exam is recognized by universities across several countries, and these also extend beyond English speaking countries.

Tips to ace the IELTS

Practice in the time limit: After you have prepared a sufficient amount, give the exam within the stipulated time limit. This will enable you to understand where you lag and paint a picture as to how much time you need to allocate to each section.

Get a goodnight's sleep: Although you are under pressure to give the exam, it is important that you are well-rested. This will allow you to concentrate on the exam and nail every section.

Pay attention to the grammar: Grammar is the crux of the English language; therefore, it is important that you're careful while writing. Spelling and punctuation are equally important, thus make sure you put special attention to the same.

Pay attention to word limits: Students may lose marks if they exceed the word limit, thus adhere to the word limit. If it is supposed to be between 150-250 words, make sure it stays in the limit.

Edwise offers comprehensive training services to students looking to give the IELTS exam.


Also read: Frequently Asked Questions about studying in UK

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