What Is IELTS?
IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The test measures the language proficiency of those who want to work or study in countries where English is the native language spoken. These includes the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. IELTS is known and respected by universities and organizations around the world.
There are two IELTS tests a test taker can choose from, the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Both test types assess the test taker’s ability in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English, but the Reading and Writing parts of IELTS Academic have subject matter and tasks suitable for the test takers entering an academic, higher education environment.
The Listening and Speaking sections are the same. IELTS Academic measures English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher education environment.
IELTS Test Format
The IELTS exam consist of four separate parts, assessing the four language skills — Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. IELTS is a task-based test which is likely different than the tests you might have taken in high school or university. Task based language assessment focuses on what learners are able to do with the English language as opposed to what they know about language. By focusing on tasks, the IELTS Exam is able to accurately assess the language performance of a student.
While IELTS focuses on testing the four skills individually, there is inevitably an element of integration in each part, in the same way that language skills are integrated in the real world. Test tasks often entail the use of other skills and are therefore ‘integrated’ to some degree.
IELTS Computer or Paper?
You now have the choice between taking IELTS on paper or IELTS on computer. IELTS on the computer is taken at an official IELTS test centre. The test content and structure remain the same in both options and, importantly, the Speaking test remains face-to-face with a certified IELTS Examiner. With IELTS on computer there are more test dates and sessions available, allowing you to choose a test time most convenient for you. You also can get your results in 3-5 days.
How Long Is The IELTS Test?
Listening, reading, and writing are all done on the same day, as part of the same testing session, with no breaks. The speaking portion can be done up to a week before or after the rest of your test. The entire test is complete in under three hours.
IELTS Registration Fee
The IELTS Registration fee in Taiwan is NT$7300 or NT$7900 (UKVI).
IELTS Test Results
Test takers receive a Test Report Form including or listing their overall band score and their sub-scores on each of the four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
Each of the part scores is equally weighted. The overall band score is calculated by taking the mean of the total of the four individual part scores. Results are available in 3-5 days for the IELTS Computer tests and 13 days for the paper test.
IELTS TEST Centers
To find you nearest IELTS Test center in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore please click here.
IELTS Speaking Test
The Speaking test is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner, this is the most effective way of assessing a test taker’s speaking skills. This section takes between 11 and 14 minutes to complete. Every test is digitally recorded and consists of three parts. For a complete introduction on how to score well on the Speaking test, please click here.
IELTS Writing Test
The Academic test includes two tasks. In the first task, test takers are presented with a graph, table, chart or diagram and are asked to describe the information in their own words. They may be asked to describe and explain data, describe the stages of a process, how something works or describe an object or event. The second task is an essay in response to a point of view, argument or problem. Responses to both tasks must be written in an academic or semi-formal neutral style. For details on Writing test, please click here.
IELTS Listening Test
Test takers listen to four recorded texts, monologues and conversations by a range of native speakers, and write their answers to a series of questions. For a complete introduction on how to score well on the Listening Test, please click here.
IELTS Reading Test
The Academic test includes three long texts which range from the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. The texts are authentic and are taken from books, journals, magazines and newspapers and are on academic topics of general interest. All have been selected for a non-specialist audience.
IELTS Band Scores
There is no pass or fail in IELTS. IELTS test takers receive individual scores for each of the four test parts (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking) and an overall band score from 1 to 9. Each band corresponds to a level of competence in English. Your overall result will be rounded to the nearest half-band. How each part is scored is reviewed in depth on this page.
What is important to understand is that a 6.5 Band score is significantly more difficult to achieve than a Band Score of 5.5. This is because the band levels are not equally scaled — moving between a Band 5.5 and a Band 6.5 is much harder than moving from a Band 4.5 to a Band 5.5 score.
Test takers receive a overall band score and their sub-scores on each of the four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Each of the section scores is equally weighted. The overall band score is calculated by taking the mean of the total of the four individual part scores. Scores are reported in whole bands or half bands, with the score rounded up to the next band level. For example, if the average across the four skills ends in .25, it is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, it is rounded up to the next whole band.
IELTS or TOEFL?
IELTS is the most popular test for those looking to study in the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK with over three million IELTS tests taken each year. While the content is largely similar, with four basic areas of competency, the structures of the tests differ quite a bit. TOEFL questions are almost entirely multiple choice, while IELTS is a perhaps more intense test, with a broader variety of questions and tasks, including speaking directly with an examiner, short answer, small essays, and gap-filling tasks — where you'll fill in missing words.
Cancellations, Refunds and Transfers
More than 5 weeks before the test transfer the test date free of charge. Please note that the transferred test date must be within 3 months of the scheduled test date. If you cancel your IELTS test registration more than 5 weeks before the test, you will receive a 75% (British Council) or 80% (IDP) refund of the total test fee. If you cancel your IELTS test registration within 5 weeks without relevant supporting documents, you will not receive any refund. There are different policies for the UKVI, please check with the IELTS test institutes.
IELTS Preparation Time
Your preparation strategy must consider your current level of proficiency and your target. A 6.5 Band score is significantly more difficult to achieve than a Band Score of 5.5. This is because the band levels are not equally scaled — moving between a Band 5.5 and a Band 6.5 is much harder than moving from a Band 4.5 to a Band 5.5 score. You need to plan accordingly.
We have a list of FREE exam study materials to help you prepare for your IELTS test including, mock exams, test questions, study hacks and other useful tools. Click here for the list.
Who Is IELTS Steven?
His real name is Steven Tessier. His students call him ‘IELTS Steven” because of his success in helping them achieve their target band score. Steven has been preparing students for the IELTS exam for over 20 years and understands the challenges that native Chinese speakers face to achieve a high IELTS band score. He is recognized as one of the most experienced teachers in Greater China.