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The World

Speaks IELTS
IELTS is the world’s proven English language test.
Established: In use since 1989, the IELTS test has been tried and tested.

Extensive: More than 1 million people take the test each year. Wouldn’t you like access to that
size of applicant pool?

Leading: More than 6,000 organizations across the world rely on IELTS—it is the leading English
language test of this type.

Innovative: IELTS is committed to research and innovation. The test is constantly evolving to include
the latest in educational measurement research and applied linguistic theory and practice to meet the
needs of stakeholders.

Flexible: With two modules available—Academic and General Training—IELTS meets the needs of all
test takers.

Accessible: It is one of the most widely available English language tests in the world, offered up to
four times in a month in more than 125 countries and territories.

Authentic: It is the test of real communication skills. The IELTS speaking test is conducted by a
trained, professional examiner, not a computer.

IELTS is jointly managed by British Council, University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL), and
IDP:IELTS Australia. The IELTS test is designed and set by some of the world’s leading experts in language assessment
to give a true picture of your language skills.

© Copyright 2009 by Hobsons, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WORLDWIDE.

© Copyright 2009 by International English Language Testing System. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WORLDWIDE.
Hobsons®, Hobsons logo®, KeyFacts®, and USeduguides™ are trademarks of Hobsons. All other trademarks are owned by
their respective owners. Hobsons U.S. Office 50 E-Business Way, Suite 300 Cincinnati, OH 45241 USA +1 513 891 5444. Our Publishing Partner
Dear Admissions Representative,

IELTS— the International English Language Testing System—serves colleges and universities
across the United States and throughout the world, as well as global governments and commercial
organizations. Our goal is to help you recruit international applicants who are able to communicate
effectively in English and who are ready to be academically successful at your institution. Our high-
quality, practical, and secure test ensures that you can better determine which students can actively
engage in your academic community.

Selecting applicants with the right level of English has never been easier.

If you’re considering adding IELTS to your admission criteria, we’re eager and excited to show you all
we have to offer. If you’re already using IELTS scores to evaluate international applicants, you know
the benefits of our approach, but there is much more for you in this publication—including details on
the test sections and how to use IELTS scores in your admission process.

Here’s what you’ll find inside this guide:

p4 IELTS: The Quality Test

Learn what makes IELTS the world’s leading English language test of its type, and how we want
to help you succeed in international recruitment.

p5 What’s on the Test?

Learn about the sections of the IELTS test and how your potential students are evaluated on their
reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.

p6 Using IELTS Scores in Your Admission Process

Learn how the IELTS test is scored and how you can use these scores to enroll students with the
English skills your school requires.

Accessible and IELTS is one of the most widely available English language
tests in the world. It can be taken up to four times in a
Convenient month in more than 125 countries and territories. Our test
centers have a greater testing capacity than most other
tests. For a full list of IELTS centers worldwide, visit

IELTS: The Quality Test
The effectiveness of IELTS has been proven since 1989. Some of the world’s leading experts in
English language assessment have designed the test to be fair, accurate, and relevant wherever and
whenever it is taken. An extensive program of on-going world-class research, validation, and test
development ensures that IELTS accomplishes its goals.

Test takers and those relying on the results benefit from the authenticity of the IELTS tests—we
encourage, reflect, and test the use of English for study, work, and life. You can be sure that an
IELTS score demonstrates real ability.

Face-to-Face Speaking Assessment

The most effective way to assess speaking skills is through direct interaction between a test taker
and a trained, professional examiner. We want to judge a test taker’s ability to communicate in an
authentic real-life situation, not just respond to recorded prompts. That is why trained examiners
conduct a face-to-face assessment with each IELTS candidate individually. The face-to-face speaking
assessment remains an essential part of IELTS, setting it apart from all other English language
proficiency tests.

Continual Research-Driven Improvement

IELTS is at the cutting edge of English language testing. Our approach to test development, design,
delivery, and evaluation is constantly refined to incorporate advances in applied linguistics, language
pedagogy, language assessment, and technology. The steady evolution of IELTS in response to such
advances has ensured its contemporary relevance and continued usefulness for all test stakeholders.

IELTS has benefited from decades of progressive change, and we have always maintained our core
commitment to assessing all four language skills—listening, reading, writing, and speaking—to the
highest standards.

Production of Test Materials

Every test version is unique, so no candidate will ever receive the same test paper twice.

The production of IELTS involves an extensive and scrupulous process. We use the highest
qualitative standards as well as quantitative statistical data to ensure that test materials are suitable
and valid—and test to the same level of difficulty every time.

As part of the production process, writers in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK
are commissioned to provide test item materials which are then professionally tested and measured
against the highest quality standards. These test item materials are subjected to rigorous editing
procedures and trialled on internationally representative groups of test takers to ensure that they
are appropriate.

What’s on the Test?
IELTS comes in two modules—Academic and General Training. Both modules cover the four language skills of listening,
reading, writing, and speaking. All test takers take the same listening and speaking parts of the test; there are separate reading
and writing components for the Academic and General Training modules (the distinction lies in the subject matter and type of
vocabulary used). Both modules are graded using exactly the same criteria, so there is no difference in the level of English.

The Academic module is for candidates wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking proof
of language proficiency for professional registration and licensing. The General Training module is for immigration purposes,
for those wishing to study or train at below a bachelor degree level, or for those wishing to gain entry into certain professions.

30 minutes, 40 questions (in four sections)

Candidates are tested on a wide range of listening skills, including: ability to understand main ideas
and detailed factual information; ability to understand the opinions and attitudes of speakers; ability to
understand the purpose of an utterance; and ability to follow the development of ideas.

Recordings in sections one and two are in a social context, while those in sections three and four
are set in educational or training contexts. The recordings feature both monologues and multi-person
conversations in a range of native-speaker accents.

60 minutes, 40 questions (based on three texts)

Candidates are tested on a range of reading skills, such as reading for gist, skim reading, and detailed reading.

Academic Reading texts are taken from books, journals, magazines, and newspapers and range from
the descriptive and factual to the discursive and analytical. General Training Reading texts are taken
from books, magazines, notices, advertisements, company handbooks, and guidelines—materials
candidates are likely to encounter on a daily basis in an English-speaking country.

60 minutes, two tasks

Task 1 requires at least 150 words and Task 2 requires at least 250 words. Task 2 contributes twice
as much as Task 1 to the Writing score. For both tasks, candidates need to demonstrate their ability to
respond appropriately in terms of content, vocabulary, grammar, and the organization of ideas.

Academic Writing tasks require test takers to write in a formal style, while General Training Writing
tasks allow test takers to write in a more personal or semi-formal style.

11-14 minutes

Individual candidates have a face-to-face oral interview with an examiner. The Speaking test is recorded.

In Part 1, candidates answer general questions about themselves and a range of familiar topics, such as
their home, family, work, studies, and interests. This part lasts four–five minutes.

In Part 2, candidates are given a card which asks them to talk about a particular topic. They have one
minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The examiner then asks one or two questions
on the same topic to finish this part of the test.

In Part 3, candidates are asked further questions that are connected to the topic of Part 2. These
questions give the candidate an opportunity to discuss more abstract issues and ideas. This part of
the Speaking section lasts four–five minutes.

Using IELTS Scores in Your
Admission Process
The level of English needed for a candidate to perform effectively in study, training, or work varies
from one situation to another. That is why each individual university or institution can set its own
minimum IELTS score for applicants, depending on specific requirements.

IELTS results are reported as band scores, on a scale from 1 (the IELTS Band Scores
lowest) to 9 (the highest) in half-band increments, as noted in the chart 9 Expert user
to the right. Candidates receive an overall mean band score as well as 8 Very good user
individual scores for each test component (Listening, Reading, Writing, 7 Good user
and Speaking). 6 Competent user
5 Modest user
Educational institutions using IELTS may consider the overall band 4 Limited user
score as well as the individual scores recorded for the four components 3 Extremely limited user
of the test. The scores indicate a candidate’s particular strengths and 2 Intermittent user
weaknesses and allow you to assess their suitability for a specific 1 Non user
0 Did not attempt the test
situation. For example, if the candidate is applying for a program that
requires a lot of reading and writing assignments but no lectures, the
listening score may not be as important as the reading and writing scores.

The table below gives guidance on acceptable IELTS scores for different courses. The appropriate
level for admission to your institution is something that you decide. We will, however, be happy to
provide any advice or assistance you may need.

Further information on test content and setting minimum band scores, as well as samples of test
material, are provided on the IELTS Scores Explained DVD, available from

Band Linguistically demanding Linguistically less Linguistically demanding Linguistically less

academic courses demanding academic training courses demanding training
courses courses
e.g. Medicine, Law, e.g. Air Traffic Control,
Linguistics, Journalism, e.g. Agriculture, Pure Engineering, Pure Applied e.g. Animal Husbandry,
Library Studies Mathematics, Technology, Sciences, Industrial Safety Catering, Fire Services
Computer-based work,

7.5-9.0 Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable

7.0 Probably acceptable Acceptable Acceptable Acceptable
6.5 English study needed Probably acceptable Acceptable Acceptable
6.0 English study needed English study needed Probably acceptable Acceptable
5.5 English study needed English study needed English study needed Probably acceptable

Over one million people take the IELTS test each year.

Selecting applicants with the right level of English has never been easier.

Test Results You Can Trust
IELTS test results are used for admission to universities, colleges, and professions, as well as for
immigration to English-speaking countries such as Canada, Australia, and the UK. For this reason it
is essential to ensure the security of candidate results. IELTS has a number of measures in place to
safeguard against the falsification of results.

The authenticity of any Test Report Form (TRF) you receive from applicants can be securely checked
by using our free TRF Online Verification service. This secure and easy-to-use service is an invaluable
tool for verifying test results. If you would like more information, or if you want to register for the free
TRF Online Verification service, visit

In addition, Test Report Forms are printed on security-enhanced paper. They are authenticated by a
center stamp, an IELTS validation stamp, and a photograph of the candidate.

Test Center Security

All IELTS test centers are required to follow a detailed Code of Practice that ensures the highest
standards of security throughout the testing process, from registration to the recording and mailing
of results. Candidates must provide government-issued photographic evidence of identity when they
register and on the day of the test. In addition, every IELTS test center administrator is trained to the
level of immigration officials in order to ensure they can detect imposters and fraudulent documents.

Increasing Your Efficiency

IELTS results are issued to candidates just 13 calendar days after they take the test. Official IELTS
test centers can send Test Report Forms to you directly, so you can trust the results you receive.

In order to simplify the processing of applications and to make the verification of results more
convenient, you can download IELTS test scores of all candidates applying to your institution in a
single file from a secured Web site. This eliminates the need for you to process TRFs individually.
It also allows you to receive results faster and upload them directly to your data system. Our free
E-Downloads service is available to all registered organizations that recognize IELTS scores. It
is the most secure, practical, and efficient way to receive results. To find out more about our free
E-Downloads service, contact us at

Next Steps
Take advantage of all the benefits offered by IELTS in three simple steps:

Set a minimum IELTS score for your applicants. Use the “IELTS Scores Explained” DVD
or contact us for advice.

Include the minimum score in your recruitment and publicity literature

Register your institution with us free of charge by completing the online form

We will then include you on our online global database, giving your organization even greater
exposure to millions of potential candidates worldwide.
When the question
is English ability—
IELTS International IELTS is the answer
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Are you welcoming them to your school?
IELTS test each year.
Over one million people take the