What does IELTS mean?

Did you know that 3.7 million IELTS tests were taken in 2019?


IELTS is the world’s most popular test of English for higher education and global migration. It is accepted by universities and employers all over the world.

What does IELTS mean?

IELTS is an acronym for International English Language Testing System

What does the IELTS Exam test?

IELTS tests the complete range of English language skills required when studying, training or living in English-speaking countries – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

There are two versions of the IELTS exam: Academic and General Training

Academic – to study at an English-speaking university or Institutions of Higher and Further Education. Admission to undergraduate and postgraduate courses is based on the results of the Academic test.

General Training – for work experience or immigration purposes. The tasks in the General Training test are normally about workplace, general life or social situations.

The scores for each version are not interchangeable (e.g. you can’t use a score from sitting the General Training version when applying to study at a university) so it is important to know which of version of IELTS you need to take before taking the exam.

How long is the IELTS exam? 

The IELTS Test takes 2 hours and 45 minutes and is divided into the following sections:

Listening – 4 sections (40 questions) – 30 minutes + 10 minutes Answer Transfer

Reading – 3 sections (40 questions) – 60 minutes

Writing – 2 tasks (of at least 150 and 250 words) – 60 minutes

Speaking – 3 Parts – Between 10 and 14 minutes

The Listening, Reading and Writing tests must be completed on the same day. There are no breaks between the three written tests. The Speaking test may be taken up to seven days before or after the other three tests.

All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking modules.

The Reading and Writing modules are different depending on whether the Academic or General Training Test is taken.