The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a English test which aims at measuring the proficiency in speaking or communicating in the English language.
IELTS has been designed for people from a country where English is not the primary language, but who wish to work or study in an English speaking environment.
IELTS has no minimum score, but the Test Report Form is issued to all candidates with a score that ranges from band 1 (non-user) to band 9 (expert user)
There are currently three versions of the IELTS test: Academic, General Training and Life Skills. These differ in content and address different target groups.
IELTS Academic - is for those who want to pursue a bachelors or a Post Graduate programme / professional registration in the UK.
IELTS General Training - is for those who want to study below degree level, or want to work and/or emigrate to the UK or another English-speaking country.
IELTS Life Skills - is used to support UK Visa and immigration applications, Candidates are required to demonstrate speaking and listening skills only at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels A1 or B1.
The IELTS test has four parts:
Listening: 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes' transfer time)
Reading: 60 minutes
Writing: 60 minutes
Speaking: 11 - 14 minutes
The test total time is: 2 hours and 55 minutes
The IELTS Band Scale:
9 - Expert User
8 - Very Good User
7 - Good User
6 - Competent User
5 - Modest User
4 - Limited User
3 - Extremely Limited User
2 - Intermittent User
1 - Non User
0 - Did not attempt the test
An IELTS Band scale between 6 to 7 is considered by most universities while admitting students. Most top ranked UK universities, as listed by the TES 2015 World University Rankings, require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5-7.0., top ranked U.S. universities require a minimum IELTS score of around 7.0, Canada 6.5, and Australia 6.5