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This article is for those who are new to the topic of "What is the "IELTS"?", want to learn about the meaning of "IELTS" and provides some basic information, as an overview, in that regards. As it is primarily for people who have limited knowledge of the IELTS and want more of a general understanding, for various specific techniques and practice activities for the IELTS, please refer to other articles on the site for IELTS - however this article might have a few new general bits of information, even for people who are in the middle of taking the IELTS, that might perhaps be of interest.
The first thing to say in regards to this information article, is that "IELTS" stands for "The International English Language Testing System". Its pronunciation is: "/ˈaɪ.ɛlts/". The IELTS is a very famous English learning exam around the world and many people take it in order to migrate around the world for a job, or to take further study. Often people might take it for countries such as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom in addition.
Whilst it may be the case that some people have a good level of English and can pass it quickly, others may attempt it numerous times and even for many years and some eventually give up - one thing to remember if you are taking the IELTS, is that it should not be underestimated. In addition, for the writing and speaking, it is somewhat subjective and if for example 100 examiners grade a person's speaking and writing, it might not be the case that all would have the same result as each other. Please use the menu links below to navigate to any sections you want, or otherwise you can simply scroll down the page.
There are two versions of the IELTS exam, which are the General and Academic IELTS. The Academic can enable you to enter a university or other higher educational center. It can also be of assistance for doctors who want to work in the UK - in about 2014, the level has become harder for doctors to achieve to work in the UK.
Additionally, the General IELTS is for those who are not specifically interested in academic study and may often be for imigration purposes.
IELTS is accpeted in numerous Australian/British/Canadian/Irish/New Zealand ansd South African academic orgisations. It is also apparently accepted by some place in the US and various professional orgisations globally. Moreover, for some countries like Australia and New Zealand, it can also be necessary in order to be able to immigrate there, whilst Canada may have some alternatives (as was the case in 2014).
For the IELTS, there is no minimum score to pass - the minimum amount possible is 1 and the maximum is 9 - for those who do not attempt the IELTS at all, there is also a band 0. Moreover, it is reported that after 2 years (as of 2014), an institution should consider an IELTS certificate is no longer being valid, other than if the student could prove they have maintained their level.
It is reported that in 2009, there were 1.4 million exam takers from more than 130 nations and that in 2011, this amount had increased to 1.7 million - by 2012, 2 million had taken it during that year.
The structure of the IELTS exam, is that there are 4 sections, which are the Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. Unlike an exam like the CAE, there is no more specific grammar section, which has the "Use of English", although grammar is inevitably tested for the IELTS in each section of the exam. One thing to note, is that if your goal is to get all four sections and you fail one of them, then you will need to take the IELTS exam again, unless the organisation with authority for your offer allows this.
For the IELTS listening, there are 4 sections and it takes up to 40 minutes, the reading has 3 sections with a time of 60 minutes, the speaking 3 sections for around 11-14 minutes and the writing 2 sections taking 1 hour in total.
The IELTS exam as mentioned can be from grade 0 at the least (non-taker) to 9 at the top level and I may have heard that an examiner normally requires 9 in each section to become an IELTS examiner. Moreover, the band is rounded up, so if the average of all the sections is 5.25, that is rounded up to 5.5 etc..
The classifcations are that 0 is "did not attempt", 1 is "non user", 2 is "intermittent user", 3 is "extremely limited user", 4 is "limited user", 5 is "modest user", 6 is "competent user", 7 is "good user", 8 is "very good user" and 9 is "expert user".
It is reported that the exam may take place around 48 times a year. As of 2014, it is reported that there is no time limit for those retaking the exam.
For those taking the IELTS, it is reported that in 2012, for the main 40 frequent nations of origin, that Germany got an average or 7.2, Greece 6.8, Malaysia was 6.8, the Philippines 6.8 and France 6.7. The IELTS grade required may vary a lot depending on which location you are trying to go to. Needless to say top unversities such as Cambridge and Oxford may have higher requirements, such as at least 7 each section/average etc., depending on the course.