An Overview of the International English Language Testing System

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) was established in 1980 to test the proficiency of people in the English language. The system is used by people applying to study overseas, immigrants or even persons seeking jobs. The mission of the system is to test the ability of people in listening, talking, reading and writing in the English Language. Non-Native English speakers who take the tests enjoy more advantages compared to those who opt not to. Here are more details about the system.

Parts of the Test

The IELTS is comprised of four parts; the reading section, which is 30 min long, the writing and listening parts, which are 60 minutes each and lastly the speaking section, which can take between 11 and 15 minutes. Usually, the reading, writing and listening sections are done in a single sitting then the verbal section comes later. To complete the test, one has to attempt all the sections.

Modules Offered

The IELTS offers three modules to anyone taking the test; the academic, general training and life skills module. The academic module is offered to students seeking higher learning opportunities in English-speaking states while the general training module is for people seeking work or for immigration. The life skills module is for people who would like to verify their skills in speaking English. The score gotten from the life skills module can be used to apply for citizenship or a long leave in certain States.


The IELTS does not set a pass mark; therefore, someone taking the test cannot be classified to have passed or failed. Instead, the system has a scale that places the individual between the range of non-user to expert users. The universities and companies are the ones who set the threshold that their students or workers should attain. To correctly classify people in the band scale, an average of the four sections is calculated.