October 12, 2020

Understanding the IELTS

You have to take the IELTS. And that has you worried.

Before you Schedule you test it would be a Good idea to understand the test and what to expect on test day.

IELTS Summary

The IELTS, or International English Language Testing System, is one of the most popular tests for measuring English performance. It is taken by people who wish to study, live or work in an English-speaking country.

The test has four sections (a reading comprehension part, a written part, a listening compression part, and a speaking part). And there are two types of exams, one is called Academic test and the other is the General Training test.

The Academic test is the most common for those who want to study in an English-speaking country. On the other hand, the General Training test is more common for those that want to live or work in an English-speaking country.

 The IELTS takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete and is valid for 2 years. Its price varies depending on the center where the test is taken, with most being around $225.


The exam was created in collaboration by the British Council, Cambridge English Language Assessment and the International Development Program of Australian Universities and Colleges in the mid-1980s.

By 1995, more than 210 test centers were in place around the world, and approximately 43,000 students take the IELTS each year.

As mentioned, IELTS is one of the most popular tests to demonstrate knowledge of English due to its effectiveness. Also, it is accepted, sometimes exclusively, by more than 10,000 organizations in more than 140 countries.

Find an IELTS tutor at Idioma Tutors


The IELTS is calculated using a band system from 0 to 9. Scores between 0 and 2 indicate that the person has almost no knowledge of English, and a 9 indicates a native like use of English.

This band is calculated as an average of the four individual sections of the exam.

If we use the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) as a point of comparison, we could say that:

A band of 2 equals A1.

A band of 3 equals A2.

A band between 3.5 and 4.5 equals B1.

A band between 5 and 6 equals B2.

A band between 6.5 and 7.5 equals C1.

A band between 8 and 9 equals C2.

 It is important to note that these bands are approximate and should not be taken as a definitive qualifier of their level. For example, two people who are in the same band could have different English proficiency levels. This is because one could be at the lower end of the band while the other is at the upper end.  

In our next article we Will discuss each section in more detail and provide tips for how to improve your IELTS score in them.

And then in our last article we will talk about the best ways to study for the IELTS.

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About the author 

Jaimi Saunders

J’aimi has worked in the education industry for over 20 years, gaining experience in teaching, mentoring, and coaching. As a seasoned educator he is passionate about advancing teaching excellence and student motivation. In addition to working in the education industry, he is also involved in continuing his personal education and improvement. Outside of the office, J’aimi enjoys, antique vehicles, motorcycles, and travelling to new destinations.

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