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The basics
STUDY ABROAD : Applying to University - Must read

Top 20 FAQs about the IELTS exam

We have the answers to all your top 20 frequently asked questions about the IELTS English language exam. From the benefits of taking the exam to how to prepare and get a better score. It’s all here for your quick, easy reference.

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What is the IELTS exam?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an English language exam which is recognised worldwide by more than 11,000 universities, employers and immigration government bodies.


What are the benefits of the IELTS test?

As mentioned above, the IELTS exam is recognised all over the world and is used for university education and immigration purposes. It’s also a great addition to your CV/resume.

There are more than 1,200 test centres worldwide so it is relatively easy to find a test centre near you.


What types of IELTS test are there?

If you want to study abroad at university then you will need to think about taking the IELTS Academic test. If you want to go and live and work in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand then it’s the IELTS General Training module you will need to take.



What is the difference between IELTS and TOEFL?

There are other English language exams which are accepted by universities all over the world. It’s important that you understand the differences between them to help you decide which test is better for you.



Where can I take the IELTS test?

As mentioned above, there are over one thousand test centres worldwide. Find a test centre near you.


How much does the IELTS test cost?

The fee for the test is set by each test centre. Contact your nearest test centre to find out the cost of the test near you. See above link.


Is it better to take the IELTS test with IDP or with the British Council?

The answer to this question is that the test is exactly the same whether you take it at an IDP test centre or a British Council test centre. The test is written, produced and assessed by Cambridge University Press and Assessment so all candidates all over the world take an IELTS test that has come from Cambridge. IDP and British Council are test centres and administrators they are not involved in writing or scoring the tests.


How is the IELTS test developed?

As mentioned above, the exam is written by IELTS writers for Cambridge University Press and Assessment. The test goes through various stages and rigorous testing for reliability and validity. Once the process is complete, the test is shared with test centres in time for each test session.



Can you take the IELTS test online?

Yes you can, but only in certain locations around the world:

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.




Is there an IELTS app I can use?

There are many apps out there but you should use a reputable, trustworthy one that truly reflects the real test. The IDP IELTS app does all of those things



What is the test format of the IELTS test?

Here’s a general overview of the different papers, timings and number of questions.



IELTS Academic



30 mins



60 mins



60 mins

2 tasks


11-14 mins

3 parts



How can I prepare for the IELTS Academic Reading test?

Here’s a list of really useful resources for you to use:




How can I prepare for the IELTS Academic Writing test?

And here are some for Academic Writing Parts one and two:



How can I prepare for the IELTS Listening test?



How can I prepare for the IELTS Speaking test?


Band 6 IELTS Speaking test sample – Part 3



Band 8.5 IELTS Speaking test sample – Part 3



How do I avoid IELTS test mistakes?

Everyone makes mistakes, it’s natural but you can avoid some common mistakes by making sure you:

  • follow the instructions carefully
  • stick to the word limits
  • include all key information
  • speak for the time given.


For more advice see Top IELTS mistakes and how to avoid them.


What happens on the day of the test?

The best way to know what to expect on IELTS test day is by watching:



What IELTS scores do you need for top universities?

Each university has its own English language requirements and IELTS test scores which they need for each of their courses.

Find more details in what IELTS scores do you need for top universities.


How can I improve my IELTS scores?

You will be able to improve your IELTS score by improving your general English and by being familiar with the test format and question types.




Hopefully you now know everything about this important English language exam and also feel you have useful resources to help you on your study abroad journey.

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IELTS vs. TOEFL: Which should you take?

All international students who want to study in an English-speaking country need to show they have the required level of English. There are a few English language exams that are accepted by universities all over the world, we’re going to focus on two of these: IELTS and TOEFL.   Before we continue, let’s look at what these names mean. IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. TOEFL is the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

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