The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS /ˈaɪ.ɛlts/, is an international standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is jointly managed by Cambridge English Language Assessment, the British Council and IDP Education Pvt Ltd,and was established in 1989. IELTS is one of the two major English-language tests in the world, the other being the TOEFL.
There are two versions of the IELTS: the Academic Version and the General Training Version:
• The Academic Version is intended for those who want to enroll in universities and other institutions of higher education and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study or practice in an English-speaking country.
• The General Training Version is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience, or for immigration purposes.
IELTS is accepted by most Australian, British, Canadian, Irish, New Zealand and South African academic institutions, over 3,000 academic institutions in the United States, and various professional organisations across the world. It is also a requirement for immigration to Australia and New Zealand. In Canada, IELTS, TEF, or CELPIP are accepted by the immigration authority.
No minimum score is required to pass the test. An IELTS result or Test Report Form is issued to all candidates with a score from "band 1" ("non-user") to "band 9" ("expert user") and each institution sets a different threshold. There is also a "band 0" score for those who did not attempt the test. Institutions are advised not to consider a report older than two years to be valid, unless the user proves that he has worked to maintain his level.
In 2007, IELTS tested over a million candidates in a single 12-month period for the first time ever, making it the world's most popular English language test for higher education and immigration. In theory tests performed on native English speakers must show 9.0 results in 100%. However, this result has never been achieved.
In 2009, 1.4 million candidates took the IELTS test in over 130 countries, in 2011 there were 1.7 million candidates whereas in 2012, 2 million candidates were tested.
Format and timing
The GMAT exam consists of four sections: An analytical writing assessment, integrated reasoning, the quantitative section, and the verbal section. Total testing time is three and a half hours, but test takers should plan for a total time of approximately four hours, with breaks. Test takers have 30 minutes for the analytical writing assessment and another 30 minutes to work through 12 questions, which often have multiple parts, on the integrated reasoning section and are given 75 minutes to work through 37 questions in the quantitative section and another 75 minutes to get through 41 questions in the verbal section.
The quantitative and verbal sections of the GMAT exam are both multiple-choice and are administered in the computer-adaptive format, adjusting to a test taker’s level of ability. At the start of the quantitative and verbal sections, test takers are presented with a question of average difficulty. As questions are answered correctly, the computer presents the test taker with increasingly difficult questions and as questions are answered incorrectly the computer presents the test taker with questions of decreasing difficulty. This process continues until test takers complete each section, at which point the computer will have an accurate assessment of their ability level in that subject area and come up with a raw score for each section.
The IELTS incorporates the following features:
• A variety of accents and writing styles have been presented in test materials in order to minimise linguistic bias.
• IELTS tests the ability to listen, read, write and speak in English.
• Band scores are used for each language sub-skill (Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking). The Band Scale ranges from 0 ("Did not attempt the test") to 9 ("Expert User").
• The speaking module is a key component of IELTS. It is conducted in the form of a one-to-one interview with an examiner. The examiner assesses the candidate as he or she is speaking, but the speaking session is also recorded for monitoring as well as re-marking in case of an appeal against the banding given.
• IELTS is developed with input from item writers from around the world. Teams are located in the USA, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other English-speaking nations.
IELTS test structure
All candidates must complete four Modules - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking - to obtain a band score, which is shown on the IELTS Test Report Form (TRF). All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking Modules, while the Reading and Writing Modules differ depending on whether the candidate is taking the Academic orGeneral Training Versions of the Test.
The first 3 parts are given without breaks, which makes the IELTS the longest test without breaks (180 minutes). This test structure provokes Absent-mindedness, and according to statistics, the results of the second and third parts are generally lower than the results of the first part.
The module comprises four sections of increasing difficulty. It takes 40 minutes: 30 - for testing, plus 10 for transferring the answers to an answer sheet. Each section, which can be either a monologue or dialogue, begins with a short introduction telling the candidates about the situation and the speakers. Then they have some time to look through the questions. The first three sections have a break in the middle allowing candidates to look at the remaining questions. Each section is heard only once. At the end of this section students are given 10 minutes to transfer their answers to an answer sheet. Answers should be grammatically correct including capital letters for countries,streets,names and places..