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IELTS in its full form stands for the International English Language Testing System – an English Language proficiency test developed and run by the British Council in partnership with IDP Education and Cambridge Assessment English.

The IELTS system is highly regarded and widely recognised as the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration. Whether you are looking to study, develop your career, or settle in an English-speaking country, IELTS can pave the way.  

Find out where IELTS can take you

  • Australia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Canada
  • New Zealand

Which test should I take?

IELTS can help you move forward with a variety of life choices, from improving your English language skills to relocating abroad to study or develop your career. The two main IELTS tests available are:

  • IELTS Academic
  • IELTS General Training

The right test for you will depend on whether your main goal is to study or to work in your chosen country. If you need help deciding which IELTS test is right for you, some key differences are outlined below.

IELTS Academic

The IELTS Academic test is designed to measure your English language proficiency and to assess if it is suitable for an academic environment. The test reflects aspects of academic language and evaluates whether you’re ready to begin training or studying in English.

Take IELTS Academic if you want to:  

  • Study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level in an English-speaking country
  • Apply for Student Route visa (Tier 4) to study at a UK university that is a Student Route (Tier 4) Sponsor
  • Work for a professional organisations in an English-speaking country.

Book Your IELTS Academic Test  

IELTS General Training

The IELTS General Training test is designed to measure your English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The test reflects both workplace and social situations.

Take IELTS General Training if you want to:

  • Train or study below degree level
  • Work or undertake work-related training in an English-speaking country
  • Emigrate to an English-speaking country
  • Get another job in your own country where a recognised proficiency in the English language is required.
  • Book Your IELTS Academic Test  

Ways to take your IELTS test

Depending on your preference, you can now take your IELTS test either on paper or on a computer at over 800 official IELTS test centres.   If you take the IELTS Academic test, you can also take your test at home or anywhere with a stable internet connection and a private space. Find out more on taking a test.


Understanding IELTS test scores

  • The test taker has fully operational command of the language.
  • Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.

  • The test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage.
  • They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.

  • The test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations.
  • They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.


  • The test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings.
  • They can use and understand reasonably complex language, particularly in familiar situations.


  • The test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes.
  • They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.


  • The test taker's basic competence is limited to familiar situations.
  • They frequently show problems in understanding and expression.

  • The test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations.
  • There are frequent breakdowns in communication.

  • The test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English

  • The test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.


  • The test taker did not answer the questions.
The IELTS Academic test is made up of four sections:

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