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All about the IELTS test

Learn all about the IELTS test here. This article gives you a crisp and clear understanding of the IELTS test, both Academic and General. Students and professionals may greatly benefit from reading this article.

IELTS is a short name for – International English Language Testing System
It is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English

Firstly, there are three major types of IELTS testIELTS ACADEMIC, IELTS GENERAL and IELTS UKVI. There are other types of IELTS tests (IELTS Life skills test) as well, but we would not be discussing them in this article.

Secondly, all the above mentioned IELTS tests are split into four (4) sections – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

Thirdly, the test is available as a Paper-based test and a Computer-based test.

We at AskLearning (also known as Angels School of Knowledge), provide specialised individual coaching and extensive practice materials for IELTS test, both online and offline. If you are searching for the best IELTS coaching in Kochi, Kerala, then you are at the right place.


Last updated on May 2, 2020.


  • The four(4) sections are now called Parts – The four sections in the Listening test are now known as parts. For example, section 1 is now part 1 and so on. Only the name is changed, there is no other difference in the test pattern.
  • In the listening test, before part 1(section 1) audio, an example used to be played. This example has been removed. You will not hear an example before the test, it starts directly with the first question of Part 1.
  • In the paper-based IELTS test, the question booklet used to have page numbers. Now, the page numbers are not shown. You will no more see page numbers in the question booklet.


  • Since 2019, you can take a Computer-based IELTS test or CBT. You can take the Listening, Reading and Writing modules using a desktop computer. You need to visit an official IELTS test centre from IDP or British Council. Remember, you cannot take the test from your home. The Speaking section would not be computer-based. Instead, it would be taken with an IELTS speaking examiner face-to-face. The computer-based test or CBT is discussed in detail below for your understanding. You may also get more information about the Computer-based IELTS test from the official IDP website.


IELTS Test Centers and Availability in Countries

IELTS test is available in more than 1200 centres across the globe. It is available in more than 140 countries. Moreover, it is widely accepted across the globe for Immigration, Study Abroad or Work.

Which countries accept the IELTS test?

IELTS test results are accepted in most parts of the western world. Specifically for migration, countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand may require you to take the IELTS general test. In addition, more than 10,000 educational institutes (universities and colleges) require you to take the IELTS Academic test as their eligibility criteria. This includes non-English speaking countries as their courses are taught in English. The USA accepts IELTS for both work and study purposes.

IELTS Test Dates

There are 48 dates in a year for the Paper-based IELTS test. However, the Computer-based IELTS test is available throughout the year, making it much available and highly flexible.

IELTS 9 Band Scoring System

There is no pass or fail in the IELTS test. Instead, the IELTS test is scored from a Band Score of 0 to 9. A higher score means that you are a better user of English. Generally, students are required to score a 6.5 or higher to get into a university or college. Score requirements for a General candidate differ according to their profession and employers’ requirement.

Furthermore, IELTS scores also correlate with CEFR.

Now, most of us do not know much about CEFR. In short, CEFR is a measure of all the English language tests. It is like a scale on which even the IELTS test is measured. The band scores you get in the IELTS test are derived from the CEFR scale. However, CEFR is an extensive topic and it requires a detailed discussion, altogether. Let’s keep that for another day! Nevertheless, avid readers may read my informative blog on CEFR.

IELTS Test duration

Both the IELTS Academic and General tests run for 2 hours and 45 minutes (2.45 hours). The split for individual sections is as follows:

  • Listening – 30 + 10 minutes approximately
  • Reading – 60 minutes (one hour)
  • Writing – 60 minutes (one hour)
  • Speaking – 11 to 14 minutes


Mainly, there are three types of IELTS test – IELTS Academic, IELTS General, and IELTS UKVI.

IELTS Academic is suitable for students going abroad for higher studies, mostly required by the University you apply to. Nurses are also required to give this test. Check with your University or college before taking the IELTS Academic test. Know more about the IELTS Academic Test.

IELTS General is suitable for work or immigration purposes, mostly required by your immigration agency or the VISA office. Check with your Immigration agent before taking this test. Know more about the IELTS General Test.

IELTS UKVI is suitable for immigration to the United Kingdom, mostly it is required by your immigration agency. Check with your Immigration agent before taking this test.

PLEASE NOTE – IELTS UKVI is for UK immigration purposes only. Unless you are immigrating to the United Kingdom, you do not need to take the IELTS UKVI test. However, do check with your immigration agent before booking your test.


Both IELTS Academic and IELTS General tests have 4 sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

IELTS Academic is different from the IELTS General test in the Reading and Writing sections. The Listening and Speaking sections are the same for IELTS Academic and IELTS General. We have discussed these, in detail, later in the article. As you read further, the contrast between academic and general test would be much clearer.


IELTS test centres are operated by the British Council or IDP. There are Test centres in Kochi, Kottayam, Thrissur, Angamaly, Kollam, and Trivandrum.

To find an IELTS Test Location anywhere in India, you may visit ielts.org website. Here you would see a drop-down, select the nearest city where you can give your IELTS Test.

Angels School of Knowledge can help you book your IELTS test (British Council or IDP) and also guide you for the test, appropriately.


The IELTS test is offered in both paper-based and computer-delivered formats. Since the beginning of the IELTS test, it has been conducted as a paper-based test. The computer-based test is relatively new. You might wonder if both the tests are different in any way. Let me assure you that they are essentially the same. There is no difference in the test Content, Question types, Test timings, Security, Structure, Speaking test, Marking and Test Report Form (Test results). Also, there is no difference in the marking scheme, level of difficulty and question types.

Difference between the Paper-based and Computer-delivered IELTS test?

Paper-based IELTS

In the paper-based test, you need to go to an official IELTS test centre. For the Listening, Reading and Writing test, you are given a set of question papers and answer sheets. You write the answers on the answer sheets with a pen or HB-pencil. Later in the day(or on another day), the Speaking test is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner.

Computer-delivered IELTS

In the computer-based test, you need to go to an official IELTS test centre. For the Listening, Reading and Writing test, you sit in front of a computer with the questions presented on the screen. You submit your answers through the use of a keyboard and a mouse. Similar to the paper-based test, the Speaking test is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner in CBT. It is not on a computer.

Few Benefits of the Computer-delivered test

  • There are more test dates available for the CB test
  • You get your results in 5 – 7 days
  • You can highlight text and make notes
  • You can save time by copying and pasting directly from your text and notes
  • You can easily browse forward and backwards through the questions
  • In the Writing test, there is a word counter to help keep track of the word count.
  • If your writing is unclear, then computer-based is a better option for you.

What is different in Computer-delivered test?

In the paper-based IELTS Listening test, you get an extra 10 minutes in the end to write your answers in the answer sheet. Thus, you get 30 minutes +10 minutes (total 40 minutes) in the IELTS Listening section.

In the computer-delivered Listening test, the time duration is slightly lower than the paper-based test. In the computer-based test, you answer directly on a computer. Thus, the 10 minutes for transferring your answers are not provided in the computer-delivered test. Instead, you are given only two minutes to check the answers. Thus, in the Computer-delivered test, the Listening section is between 30 – 34 minutes, which is lower than the Paper-based test (40 minutes).


In the paper-based test, you need to wait for at least 13 days for the results.

In the computer-delivered test, you can get your results within 5-7 days.

You are awarded a band score for each section of the IELTS test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. An average of these scores forms your overall IELTS score. For example, if your individual scores are:

  • Listening – 7.5 band
  • Reading – 7 band
  • Writing – 8 band
  • Speaking – 7 band

Then, your Overall Score is calculated as (7.5+7+8+7)/4 = 7.37, which is rounded off to 7.5. This is your Overall IELTS Band Score.

all about ielts academic
All about IELTS Academic

All about the IELTS ACADEMIC test

The article All about the IELTS ACADEMIC test discusses all the details of the IELTS Academic Test. If you are preparing for the IELTS Academic test (mainly for students) then this article would present you with all that you need to know about the test.

all about ielts general
All about IELTS Academic

All about the IELTS GENERAL test

The article All about the IELTS GENERAL test discusses all the details of the IELTS General Test. If you are preparing for the IELTS General test (mainly for immigration and work) then this article would present you with all that you need to know about the test.

how is ielts marked
All about IELTS Academic

How is the IELTS test marked?

This article clears the air around the IELTS marking scheme. It gives out precise information on the marking scheme followed in the IELTS test. Especially, useful for anyone planning to score higher in the IELTS test.

ielts band scores explained
All about IELTS Academic

IELTS Band Scores Explained

An overall understanding of the IELTS Band scores. Starting from a band 5 upto a band 9, we have laid out the details, word by word. Each band score is explained line by line, so that you know what each band score means.

IELTS BAND Descriptors, what it actually means? (coming soon)

Now that you know all about the IELTS test, I have another article for you. Let’s learn, how you should prepare for the IELTS test?

Read the article Roadmap to IELTS, which lets you plan a better strategy for the IELTS test.

Ultimate roadmap to IELTS
Ultimate roadmap to IELTS

Roadmap to IELTS answers the following questions:

  • What is the IELTS score I need?
  • What is my present level of English and how to improve it?
  • How to find the best IELTS Trainer for me?

Angel Joseph

Two words that describe Angel are – people’s person and kind-hearted. As the head Speaking coach at Asklearning, she backs up her sessions with awe-inspiring tricks to help you speak your mind. Being a mom, an entrepreneur and an orator, she teaches her students to overcome naysayers, always. Her sessions are lively and fun-filled, and her feedbacks are witty. You may contact Angel on her Official email id.

Angels School of Knowledge – No other coaching, just IELTS training! We are a language school located in Kochi, Kerala, and our entire focus is on IELTS training. Being focused on IELTS makes us the best IELTS Coaching centre in Kochi. Around 80% of our students score a band 7 or higher in IELTS. We are known to provide the most desirable IELTS classes in Kochi, both online and offline. Our personalised IELTS training would let you score higher on the IELTS test and make you cross the dreaded band 7 in IELTS. If you are looking for band 7+ in IELTS General or a 6.5 in IELTS Academic, we are your best bet!

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