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IELTS International English Language Testing System (IELTS, pronounced ielts) is a test of English language proficiency. It is jointly managed by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, British Council and IDP Education Australia. Candidates may choose either the Academic Module or the General Training Module:


  • The Academic Module is intended for those who wish to enroll in universities and other institutions of higher education.

  • The General Training Module 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, by an increasing number of academic institutions in the USA, and by various professional organizations. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia and Canada.

IELTS characteristics

The IELTS incorporates the following features:


  • A variety of accents and writing styles are presented in text materials in order to minimize linguistic bias. The IELTS is considered more authoritative than TOEFL by some people and organizations (especially the ones outside the United States).

  • 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 1 ("Non User") to 9 ("Expert User").


Band Scale

IELTS is scored on a nine-band scale. Each Band corresponds to different English competence. The Band Scores are in either whole or half Bands. The nine bands are described as such:

9 Expert User

Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.

8 Very Good User

Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.

7 Good User

Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.

6 Competent User

Competent user.

5 Modest User

Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.

4 Limited User

Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has a frequent problem in use of complex language.

3 Extremely Limited User

Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.

2 Intermittent User

No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.

1 Non User

Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.

0 Did not attempt

No assessable information provided. Candidate may have failed to sit for the exam.

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