IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It came into existence in 1989. IELTS is currently managed by the British Council, IDP Australia in association with Cambridge English language assessment. This testing system is designed to evaluate the ability of non-native speakers of English who intend to get employed or study in countries where English is the media of communication.
IELTS is one of the major platforms of English language tests in the world. Some of the others which offer these tests are PTE Academic, TOEFL, etc. IELTS is accepted in most of the institutions in many countries including Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, etc. In the United States alone more than 3000 institutions accept IELTS. IELTS is the only English language testing platform that is accepted by UK immigration and visa services for those who want to pursue a career or education in the UK.
IELTS was launched in 1980 by the Cambridge English language assessment and British council. This had an innovative format that changed the approach towards English language learning and teaching; it stressed more upon ‘English’ as a communicative language learning. Tests were held with an intention to know the use of the English language in the real world.
In the early 1980s, the number of test takers was low, so a new project was initiated which redesigned IELTS. To make sure there must be international participation to redesign the project, the IDP (International Development of Program) of Australia joined the Cambridge English language assessment together with the British Council and formed IELTS in a partnership which delivers test-taking till today. After the partnership, a new name was coined to the test i.e. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Hence, IELTS went live by 1989 thus increasing the number of test-takers every year. The tests were conducted under two non-specialized modules i.e.
speaking and listening and two specialized modules i.e writing and reading.
IELTS is divided into 2 segments:
General Training Module: This is done for immigration purposes or those who want to gain work experience.
Academic Module: This is applicable for those who want to enter foreign universities with the purpose of higher education and want to study and practice in English speaking countries only.
Apart from these two segments, a separate test is conducted by IELTS partners known as IELTS life skills. In this, the individual needs to prove their English speaking and listening skills at the CEFR level. It can be used to apply for a visa of a family of a settled person or to apply for citizenship in the UK.
The total test time would be 2 hours 45 minutes. It is divided into 4 parts:
Writing- 60 minutes
Reading- 60 minutes
Listening- 30 minutes (additional 10 minutes transfer time)
Speaking- 11 to 14 minutes.
Listening: This segment comprises 4 sections, total comprising 40 minutes. The first two sections are about social situations and the next two sections are about educational and training situations.
Reading: The reading paper comprises 3 sections ranging between 2000-2800 words. Test takers need to be careful before noting down the answers since an individual can lose marks for grammatical mistakes.
Writing: The writing paper has 2 assignments. In assignment 1, an individual needs to write 150 words in 20 minutes, and in assignment 2, the individual must write 250 words in 40 minutes.
Speaking: This is a face to face interview between examiner and candidate.
When all the tests are taken, the scores are averaged and rounded up to finalize overall band score. There is no minimum and maximum marks in this. The score is on a nine-band scale. Each band represents how competent an individual is in English.
Q1. What is the Full Form of IELTS?
Ans: IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. This is a platform which is taken up by the non-native English speaking individuals who want to pursue education or jobs in countries where English is a mandatory medium of communication.
Q2. What is the Validity of IELTS?
Ans: The IELTS exam score is valid for 2 years from the date of the result declaration.
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