English language test
Here's everything you need to know about IELTS, a popular English language test. Source: Christophe Archambault / AFP

Do you need an English language test to prove your fluency in the language? The IELTS is a tried and tested test that is often used for university admissions, job placements or migration purposes.

So, what exactly is the IELTS and what does it test students on? Here’s everything you need to know about this popular English language test:

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the modern-day benchmark to prove your English proficiency to help you to work, study or migrate to a country like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, the US, and any other country that uses English as their native language.

There are several versions of the test, but we’ll focus on the IELTS Academic test, which is ideal if you plan on studying in an English-speaking environment or university.

The English language test covers all aspects of your proficiency in English. You will be thoroughly tested, so it’s best to get yourself prepared for what’s coming your way. Source: Frederick Florin / AFP

What’s in the test?

This English language test assesses your ability to listen, read, write and speak in English, graded on a scale of one (non-user) to nine (expert user).

The listening test

This 30-minute test will assess your listening skills and comprehension of the English language. You will be played an audio file where you will need to listen to what is being said carefully before answering some questions based on the sound clip.

The reading test

This section consists of 40 questions, designed to test a range of reading skills. These include reading for gist, reading for main ideas, reading for detail, skimming, understanding logical argument and recognising writers’ opinions, attitudes and purpose, notes IELTS.

The writing test

This is the big one: your writing skills will be assessed by writing long-form answers or an essay. Your proficiency will be thoroughly tested as you will be marked for areas such as grammar, clarity and fluency.

The speaking test

Finally, this last test will assess your speaking proficiency. The examiner will have a conversation with you, about your family, hobbies and other small topics that are often used in day-to-day conversations. After that, you will be given a card to talk about a particular topic shown.

According to IELTS, the online version will be launched sometime in early 2022, so if you’re not in a rush and prefer to do it online, just wait a little longer for an announcement. Source: Alain Jocard / AFP

Where can I do the test?

You can book a slot and do your IELTS test at any IDP education or British Council centres in your country. Despite an ongoing pandemic, you can still take your English language test at these centres, both on paper and on the computer. However, some centres will only allow test takers to do it on the computer.

Can I do it online?

Not yet. According to IELTS, the online version will be launched sometime in 2022.

How much will the IELTS cost?

The fee for this English language test differs from country to country and whether you’re doing it on paper or on the computer. For instance, the cost of an IELTS test in Australia is A$375, while it can range from US$245 to US$255 in the US. Contact your nearest IELTS test centre for details.