By IELTS Expert

02 May 2023 - 09:09

A skilled and experienced teacher guiding a student through an IELTS practice test for IELTS preparation

Below you'll find five good reasons to pick the IELTS test as the way to achieve your study, work or migration goals. They are:

Whatever your reasons for choosing to study or work in an English-speaking environment, you need to be sure that your English proficiency test results will be widely accepted by schools, universities, and employers. You’ll probably also be looking for a good range of preparation materials to help you achieve your very best score.

In all these ways and more, IELTS excels - and that means you can too.

Book your IELTS test with the British Council

Worldwide acceptance – with the British Council seal of approval

Through the IELTS test, you’ll begin to open up an exciting new world of opportunity.

IELTS is the test of choice for people seeking to move to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. IELTS is already recognised by over 12,000 organisations around the world. This includes leading universities and schools, government departments, professional associations, and companies - institutions that are keen to welcome your talent and potential.

You can find out whether your preferred organisation accepts IELTS, and what score you will need to work or study there, using our handy search tool.

Options to suit you - not a one-size-fits-all approach

Not everyone’s ambition is the same, which is why there is more than one type of IELTS test – and more than one way to take it. With these options, you can be sure that you’ll find the test that’s right for you.

IELTS Academic

It is designed for people who plan to study in English at an undergraduate or postgraduate level. This test reflects the type of academic language you’re likely to encounter. If your goal is to study at a higher level, or if you’re looking to have your professional credentials recognised, this is the best option for you.

IELTS General Training

It is designed for people who want to migrate to an English-speaking country to live, train, or study below degree level. This test evaluates your English proficiency in a practical, everyday context, and reflects the workplace and social situations you’re likely to find yourself in.

IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)

 It is a specific type of IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training test for people who need a UK visa to study, work, or live in the UK. If this applies to you, you may also need to take the IELTS for Life Skills test. Both are Secure English Language Tests (SELT) approved by the UK Home Office.

With IELTS, you can also choose how you wish to take the test – either on paper or on a computer at one of our test centres. It all depends on whether you’d rather write or use a keyboard.

In addition, you may be able to take the IELTS Academic test from home via IELTS Online using your own computer or laptop. This is available in a number of countries – check here to see if you’re eligible.

For more information on the different types of the IELTS test, see our page on which test to take.

Simple scoring – that’s easy to understand and widely recognised

It’s easy to understand your IELTS results. They’re awarded as band scores on a scale from 1 (rated ‘non user’) to 9 (rated ‘expert user’). For example, someone who scores a band 6 would be rated a ‘competent user’.

There’s an individual score for each part of the test:  Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. These may be whole band scores or half band scores. Your overall band score is based on your average performance across all four areas.

If necessary, scores are rounded up to the nearest half band, as in this example:

Listening Reading Writing Speaking Average Overall band score
6.5 6.5 5.0 7.0 6.25 6.5

All IELTS tests use the same scoring system, whether they are completed on paper, on a test centre computer, or online – making it simple to understand how your test will be scored.

Another benefit of IELTS is that it can easily be mapped against the Common European Framework (CEFR) - an international standard for describing language ability along a scale from A1 (basic) to C2 (proficient).

Anyone scoring IELTS band 7 or above will be in the category of ‘proficient user’, while anyone scoring IELTS band 4.5 or above will be recognised as an ‘independent user’.

You’ll find more information on scores and CEFR comparisons here, and for a complete guide to results and scores, including turnaround times and options for re-marking, visit this page.

Plenty of pre-test support – to prepare you for the best outcome

With IELTS, you can tap into a rich source of preparation materials to help you get to grips with all aspects of the test before you take it. No matter how proficient you are, these materials will help to refine your skills, boost your confidence, and get you fully ready for test day.

The British Council has recently launched IELTS Ready, an online platform with a wide range of IELTS preparation materials including free practice tests, preparation webinars, personalised study plans and much more. There are also weekly IELTS webinars and IELTS Expert Live sessions on Facebook. One-to-one tutoring and personalised online coaching are also available.

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Personalised study-abroad matching – based on your preferences

Thanks to an exciting new partnership between British Council IELTS and ApplyBoard, when you take your test with us, you’ll get access to customised study-abroad options based on where – and what – you wish to study.

With ApplyBoard, you get the option of accessing personalised recommendations based on either your chosen study destination or your preferred programme of study. When you find a programme that suits you, you can easily apply there and then.

That means you can instantly match with the right programs for you directly within the IELTS site. Plus, you’ll get access to travel advice and exclusive offers on fees and flights.

This service will soon be available in India and China.