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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IELTS



Whether you are already preparing or thinking about taking the IELTS exam, here you will find some FAQs. Where to take the exam, the costs and how to apply for it:


1. What is the exam for?                                    

2. How long should I need to study in order to be ready?

3. Why are there two versions of the test?

4. What is the test format and how long will it take?

5. When and where can I take the exam?

6. Is the test completed in one day?

7. When do I obtain my results? 

8. What do the results mean?

9. How are the band scores calculated is the test scored? 

10. How long is the test valid for?

1. What is the exam for?


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency, from non-user (band score 1) through to expert (band score 9).


2. How long should I need to study in order to be ready?

Different people learn their second language at different places. Still, there are ways to guess at how long you might need to study. You can get a good idea of how long you should study by taking a practice IELTS and seeing what band you fall in.

If you need to raise your score by more than one band, give yourself at least a month per band that means that if you need an IELTS band 9 but are currently at a 7, you should study for two months or more. And if you must get from a 4.5 to a 7.5, study for a minimum of three months…and so on.

*So you’ve got an IELTS target score in mind, and some good prep materials. Next, you may ask yourself “How many hours should I study for the IELTS?”

Here are some tips for IELTS study: 

  • study at least five hours a week, 

  • study at least four days a week, and 

  • have one or more study sessions that last at least 1.5 hours. 

3. Why are there two versions of the test?

There are two types of IELTS test: 

Academic for people applying for higher education or professional registration

General Training for those migrating to Australia, Canada and the UK, or applying for secondary education, training programmes and work experience in an English-speaking environment. 

Both versions provide a valid and accurate assessment of the four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. 


4. What is the test format and how long will it take? 



5. When and where can I take the exam, what are the fees for 2017 and how to pay for the exam? 

LIVERPOOL

University Of Liverpool, Rendall Building, Bedford Street South, Cypress Building, Chatham Street, Liverpool, L69 7ZR

Contact: +44 (0) 151-794-2722 - ielts@liverpool.ac.uk


MANCHESTER

Academic module: Oddfellows Hall, The University Language Centre, 97 Grosvenor Street, Manchester, M1 7HF

General training: Mansfield Cooper Building, Cecil Street, Manchester, M13 9PL

Contact: +44 (0)161 306 8991 ielts@manchester.ac.uk

Applications for all tests can only be made online using the dedicated online application form which can be accessed via the following link: https://ielts.britishcouncil.org

To pay your test fee, you must only make your payment after you have obtained a reference number from submitting your online application. *DO NOT send cash in the post as they are unable to return it.*

You will receive full details of your test and venue after receipt of your documents and payment. This information will be sent to you by email.


6. Is the test completed in one day?


LIVERPOOL (1 day)

The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are administered during the morning. Please note there are no breaks during the morning tests. These are normally completed by 1.00pm. 

The speaking interviews are scheduled in 20 minute intervals beginning at 1.30pm.

You will be given your interview time during the morning of the test. Be prepared to be at the test centre for the entire day, as the interviews may go on until 5.30pm.


MANCHESTER (1 day if it falls on a Saturday / 2 days if it falls on a Thursday)

All test dates on Thursdays take place over two days, Thursday and Friday with the listening, reading and writing sections on Thursday and the speaking tests on Friday. Attendance on both days is required.

All test on Saturdays take place on one day only, with all test sections on the same day.


7. When do I obtain my results? 


LIVERPOOL

Results are issued 13 days after the test date and are sent to you by post. Results may be collected in person upon request. To do this you must email ielts@liverpool.ac.uk.

Results are sent by post through Royal Mail and are subject to their delivery standards. For international addresses, please see Royal Mail Standard Delivery policy.

MANCHESTER


Results of the IELTS test are released 13 calendar days after the test date.

Results are provided by certificate called a Test Report Form (TRF). The TRF can be sent to you in two ways:

  • By post - using the address given on your application form. If you wish to change address for the result to be sent to you, please inform the test centre a minimum of 48 hours advance of the release of your result

  • In person - results can be collected from the test centre if requested by the candidate. This request must be made to the test centre a minimum of 48 hours before results are released. Please note: In order to collect results in person, you must bring the ID document used on the day of the test to collect.

8. What do the results mean?

IELTS results are reported on a 9-band scale. This results are designed to be simple and easy to understand. They are reported as band scores on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest).The IELTS scale:



9. How are the band scores calculated is the test scored? 

A score is given for each test component – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. These individual scores are then averaged and rounded to produce an overall band score.


LISTENING

The IELTS Listening test contains 40 questions. Each correct answer is awarded one mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS nine-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands.


READING

The IELTS Reading test contains 40 questions. Each correct answer is awarded one mark. Scores out of 40 are converted to the IELTS nine-band scale. Scores are reported in whole and half bands. 


The Academic and General Training Reading tests are graded on the same scale. The distinction between the two tests is one of genre or text type. However, Academic Reading tests may contain texts which feature more difficult vocabulary or greater complexity of style. It is usual that a greater number of questions must be answered correctly on a General Training Reading test to secure a given band score.

The tables below indicate the average number of marks required to achieve a particular band score in Listening, Academic Reading and General Training Reading.



WRITING

Examiners use assessment criteria to award a band score for each of the four criteria:

  • Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2)

  • Coherence and Cohesion

  • Lexical Resource

  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

The criteria are weighted equally and the score on the task is the average.


SPEAKING

Examiners use assessment criteria to award a band score for each of the four criteria:

  • Fluency and Coherence

  • Lexical Resource

  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy

  • Pronunciation

The criteria are weighted equally and the Speaking band score is the average.


10. How long is the test valid for?

While it is up to each organisation to set a validity period that works for their purposes, the IELTS partners recommend a 2-year validity period for IELTS test results based upon the well-documented phenomenon of second language loss or 'attrition’.


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