The Importance of Writing IELTS Test

What is IELTS?

IELTS is an acronym for The International English Language Testing System – which is an international standardized test of English language proficiency for individuals that are non-native English speakers. The body was formed in 1989 and is jointly managed by the British Council alongside the IDP, IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Assessment. IELTS is one of the major English language tests in the world today. Other English language tests are; TOEFL, TOEIC, PTE: A and OPI/OPIc.

The International English Language Testing system measures the language proficiency level of people who want to study or work in countries where English is used as the main language of communication. In more simple terms, The IELTS tests your knowledge in listening, reading, writing and speaking of the English language. It uses a nine-band scale to identify proficiency levels, from non-user (band score 2) to expert level (band score 9).

The IELTS is accepted by most Australian, British, Canadian, Irish and New Zealand academic institutions. Also, over 3,000 academic institutions in the United State and other professional organization across the world accept IELTS as an English language testing system.

IELTS is available in; Academics, for people applying to school, higher education (college education), professional registration and General training for those migrating. For example, the UK Visa and Immigration accepts or approves IELTS as the only secure English language test for visa applicants outside and inside the UK. Those migrating to Australia and Canada or applying for secondary education, training programs and work experience in English speaking environments.

The test lasts a duration of 2 hours 55 minutes in total, but the time is shared across the different sections. The sections are;

  • Listening: Which lasts for a duration of 40 minutes and includes a 10 minutes transfer time.
  • Reading: this section lasts a duration of 60 minutes.
  • Writing: lasts a duration of 60 minutes.
  • Speaking: Lasts a duration of about 11-14 minutes.

The IELTS can be offered up to 4 times a month and 48 times in a year. However, the score or grade from the IELTS has a validity period of 2 years.

There are over 1,200 IELTS test centers in over 140 countries. In 2017, records showed that there were over 3 million IELTS takers in more than 140 countries. This record shows that the number of test takers increased a great deal in comparison with previous years. In 2012, there were only 2 million test takers, in 2011, 1.7 million tests and in 2009, 1.4 million tests were taken.

IELTS gained its world popularity in 2007 when it administered more than 1 million tests in that year, for the first time ever.

The amazing thing about IELTS is that it treats the all test takers with fairness, avoiding any form of cultural bias and accepting all standard varieties of native-speaker English, including North American, British, Australian and New Zealand English.

Why should you write IELTS?

For Study Purposes

Many universities and colleges around the world including all universities in the UK accepts IELTS test results. Student visa applicants can apply to universities in the UK with an IELTS result from any of the IELTS locations worldwide – that is, in cases where the university doesn’t have any additional requirements. So, if you are considering getting an undergraduate or postgraduate degree programs, then you should take the Academic IELTS test. As a future international student, you need to show that you are qualified and can complete a degree program taught in English successfully. This is why getting an IELTS is important. The General Training IELTS test is sufficient for programs which do not award a degree. However, you need to find your chosen college or university and check the form of IELTS that is best for you. It is important to know that you will need a higher IELTS scores to apply for higher degree programs like masters and PhD degrees.

For Work Purposes

To get a visa to work abroad especially in countries where English is the common language, you have to provide a proof of your proficiency in English language. An important key to career success is having good language skills. Apart from other requirements for a job, Language skills are generally considered as an important asset that puts you up front in a job hunt. A work visa applicant must be competent in English or vocational English language skills.  For example; in the UK, applicants should have an IELTS score of at least of 6.5 on each of the four components of the test (the four components of the test as stated before are; reading, speaking, listening and writing). Whereas, in Australia, a test score of 5 is said to be vocational English level. While in New Zealand applicants for work permit must have an average of 4 or higher in either IELTS General or Academic. It is important to know that the minimum score requirements vary depending on your chosen occupation. That is, some professions require that applicants must have a minimum of 6 in each of the test components. To secure a teaching profession, a minimum score of 7 is required.

For Immigration

Government agencies consider language proficiency to be a contributing factor that determines a person’s ability to fit into a new community and workplace. With this in mind, government agencies use IELTS exams as part of their application processes to issue citizenship or right of permanent residence. Immigration authorities accept IELTS exams and this English language test exam continues to play a significant role in managing or controlling the number of immigrants through language assessment. Secure English Language Test (SELT) has been approved by a new UK Government as a part of the requirements for visa application process. This test is identified as IELTS Life Skills or IELTS for UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI). If you need to apply for a visa in the UK, you would definitely need the IELTS. This test will be used to prove your English language abilities which would enable you secure the UK visa. The IELTS Life Skills test requires that you are able to demonstrate your English language speaking and listening abilities only; at level A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework Reference (CEFR). The difference between the IELTS Life Skills and the IELTS Academic is in the grading system. Once the exam comes to an end, you will receive a pass or fail result instead of a band score. Immigration to New Zealand requires an IELTS overall score of 6.5 in either the IELTS Academic or General training.

IELTS has a huge global recognition. In fact, more than 10,000 organizations in the world trust IELTS. So, taking the test gives you some sense of confidence and acceptance since it is recognized by educational institutes, employers, governments and various professional bodies around the world.

Take the test, you would be glad you did!