IELTS Life Skills is a UK government approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) that assesses your English speaking and listening skills at Level A1, A2 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

This is the test to take if you are applying for the following types of UK visa:

  • family visa 
  • extension to family, spouse or partner visa
  • indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.

IELTS Life Skills – 3 levels

IELTS Life Skills tests meet the standards for speaking and listening in English set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Each test will assess your ability to listen and respond, make your meaning clear, and hold a conversation with another person.

We offer the following Life Skills tests:

  • IELTS Life Skills - A1 Speaking and Listening.
  • IELTS Life Skills - A2 Speaking and Listening (offered in the UK only).
  • IELTS Life Skills - B1 Speaking and Listening.

If you’re not sure which test you need, check on the UK Government website.

How does IELTS Life Skills work?

IELTS Life Skills tests are taken face-to-face with an examiner and with one other test taker. You will be asked to conduct a structured conversation and must demonstrate that you can listen and respond to a number of tasks. 

These tasks are designed to reflect the sort of conversational English you’ll need for living in the UK. You’ll be expected to talk about everyday subjects such as:  

  • personal details/experiences
  • family and friends
  • buying goods
  • work
  • health
  • leisure
  • education/training
  • transport
  • housing
  • weather.

IELTS Life Skills Test Format

The tables below show the type of tasks that you may be asked to complete for your IELTS Life Skills A1, A2 and B1 Speaking and Listening tests. 

A1 Speaking and Listening

Focus

  • Listen and respond to spoken language, including simple narratives, statements, questions and single-step instructions.
  • Communicate basic information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics.
  • Talk with another person in a familiar situation about familiar topics.

Tasks may include

  • describing
  • giving opinions
  • giving personal information
  • stating preferences
  • commenting
  • asking for information or descriptions
  • agreeing and disagreeing
  • explaining, giving reasons or justifying
  • deciding
  • suggesting
  • selecting.

A2 Speaking and Listening

Focus

  • Listening and responding to spoken language, including straightforward information, short narratives, explanations and instructions.
  • Communicating information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics.
  • Talking with one or more people in a familiar situation, to establish shared understanding about familiar topics.

Tasks may include

All the tasks listed in the A1 test shown above and additionally:

  • comparing
  • prioritising
  • planning
  • persuading.

B1 Speaking and Listening

Focus

  • Listen and respond to spoken language, including straightforward information and narratives, and follow straightforward explanations and instructions.
  • Communicate information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics, using appropriate formality.
  • Talk with one or more people in a familiar situation, making relevant points and responding to what others say to reach a shared understanding about familiar topics.

Tasks may include

All the tasks listed in the A2 test shown above and additionally:

  • showing contrast, cause, reason or purpose 
  • narrating
  • asking about past or future events
  • expressing future certainty or possibility.

See also