What is IELTS?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is designed to help you work, study or migrate to a country where English is the native language. This includes countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and USA.
Your ability to listen, read, write and speak in English will be assessed during the test. IELTS is graded on a scale of 1-9.
IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council; IDP IELTS; and Cambridge University Press & Assessment.
Why take IELTS?
If you are looking to work, live or study in an English-speaking country, then you must be able to demonstrate a high level of English language ability.
English is the third most spoken language in the world, with 379 million speakers worldwide.
Being able to communicate in the native language of the country you wish to work or study in, has a wide range of benefits. It is also essential for job opportunities as well as integration into the community.
IELTS is the most popular test for those looking to migrate to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. It is globally recognised by more than 11,000 employers, universities, schools and immigration bodies including 3,400 institutions in the USA.
IELTS score scale
|9||Expert user||The test taker has fully operational command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.|
|8||Very good user||The test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.|
|7||Good user||The test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.|
|6||Competent user||The test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.|
|5||Modest user||The test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes. They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.|
|4||Limited user||The test taker’s basic competence is limited to familiar situations. They frequently show problems in understanding and expression. They are not able to use complex language.|
|3||Extremely limited user||The test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.|
|2||Intermittent user||The test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.|
|1||Non-user||The test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.|
|0||Did not attempt the test||The test taker did not answer the questions.|
What is TOEFL?
If you are a international student looking to study in a university in an English speaking country, then you may need to take a TOEFL test. TOEFL is an acronym of the Test of English as a Foreign Language, which is the official name for the test. It assesses your ability to both speak and understand English by analysing your English ability in terms of reading, speaking, listening and writing. These are all skills which will be needed to carry out your academic studies and the test is used by institutions to ensure students are able to proceed and succeed on their chosen course in a country where the curriculum is taught in English.
Who needs to take a TOEFL test?
The TOEFL test has been taken by over 27 million people worldwide to ensure their English ability is adequate. The test is often taken by students who are planning to study at a university abroad and scholarship candidates, along with students and workers who are applying for visas and English-language learners tracking their English progress. Keep an eye out on the requirements for university courses, as it will be stated there whether you are required to take the TOEFL and the minimum grade required to apply for the course.
Why take a TOEFL test?
Educational institutions and governmental agencies in over 130 countries accept TOEFL scores when considering applications for certain positions or courses. As an admission requirement, you may find that some courses require a minimum TOEFL score which will allow you to proceed onto the course alongside the regular course requirements. Minimum score requirements can range between 61 and 100, depending on the institution and course.
The result you receive in your TOEFL test will only be valid for two years, after those two years they are no longer recorded, so if you’re looking to apply to study abroad after this time, you will have to sit the test again. It is important to ensure you take the test in time for your application if the result is part of the requirements; if you are only studying a course which lasts a year the same TOEFL results could be used to improve your opportunities for work in a foreign country also.
If it is part of the requirements for your admission then it is important to research in more depth and be prepared for the different elements of the test. Here are the different elements of each test:
Internet test (TOEFL iBT)
- A reading section of between 54-72 minutes which involves reading passages, with 30-40 questions to answer
- A listening section of between 51-57 minutes which involves answering 28-39 questions about brief lectures or classroom discussions
- A speaking section which lasts 17 minutes and involves 4 spoken tasks
- A writing section which last 50 minutes and involves 2 tasks
TOEFL Essentials Test
The TOEFL Essentials test takes around 1.5 hours to complete, and consists of four sections and an unscored personal video statement.
- A listening section that lasts between 21-34 minutes and consists of 30-45 questions
- A reading section that lasts between 22-33 minutes and also consists of 30-45 questions
- A writing section that lasts 24-30 minutes that consists of 14-18 questions and 2 tasks
- A speaking section that lasts 13 minutes and consists of 3 tasks with 19 responses required
- A 5 minute personal video statement that consists of 2 questions and is not scored as part of your test