Academic and General Training
IELTS is available in two formats – Academic and General Training.
The Academic Reading and Writing tests assess whether a candidate is ready to study or train in the medium of English at an undergraduate or postgraduate level. Admission to undergraduate and postgraduate courses is based on the results of these tests.
The General Training Reading and Writing tests are not designed to test the full range of formal language skills required for academic purposes, but emphasise basic survival skills in a broad social and educational context. General Training is suitable for candidates who are going to English-speaking countries to complete their secondary education, to undertake work experience or training programmes not at degree level, or for immigration purposes to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It is the responsibility of the candidate to inform the test centre whether they wish to take the Academic or General Training Modules.
Candidates are tested in listening, reading, writing and speaking. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests. There is a choice between Academic and General Training in the Reading and Writing tests. The tests are designed to cover the full range of ability from non-user to expert user. The first three tests – Listening, Reading and Writing – must be completed in one day. There is no break between the tests. The Speaking test may be taken, at the discretion of the test centre, in the period seven days before or after the other tests. A computerised version of IELTS Listening, Reading and Writing tests (CB IELTS) is available at selected centres, but all centres will continue to offer paper-based IELTS and candidates will be given the choice of the medium in which they wish to take the test.
ELTS Band Scores
1 Non user
Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
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.
3 Extremely limited user
Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
4 Limited user
Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has a frequent problem in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
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.
6 Competent user
Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
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.
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.
9 Expert user
Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.