IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. It is an exam that tests students’ ability to use English, and is graded from band 1 (non-user) to band 9 (expert).

It is usually pronounced /ˈaɪɛlts/.

What is the IELTS Exam?

The IELTS exam tests your ability to speak English and the results can be used in immigration, employment, or educational purposes around the world. You receive a certificate from Cambridge, British Council, and IDP that is recognized globally.

For example, a lady wants to immigrate to Canada. She needs to score a band 7 in order to get her visa. Meanwhile, a man wants to study in England, and he needs to score 6.5. They both need to sit the IELTS exam and get a certain band score.

There are two kinds of IELTS exam – general and academic. The exam you take will depend on your purpose. People who want to study abroad usually sit the academic exam, while those who want to work may sit the general exam.

What is the Exam Structure?

Both general and academic IELTS exams assess your English ability and so they looks at four areas of communication:

You will be given a grade for each of these areas, and also a total grade. It may look like this:

ielts sample band score reportIELTS candidates are ranked on a scale of 0 to 9, with 9 being the highest score that you can achieve. It means that you are an “expert user” who can speak English at pretty much native level. Someone with a band 7 is considered to be virtually fluent – ie they can speak English quite easily, although they may make mistakes.

The academic and general IELTS exams have the same listening and speaking tests, but different reading and writing tests. In the general exam, you need to write a letter, whereas in the academic exam, you need to describe a chart or graph.

Useful PPT Overview of IELTS Exam

I made this last year for my students. I hope it helps you, too. It gives a basic but essential guide to the IELTS exam:

Please share it if you find it useful 🙂

How Can I Prepare for IELTS?

Beginners can prepare for IELTS by learning about the exam and improving their general English skills. There are some good books you can use, and the internet is full of wonderful resources. Try Facebook groups and YouTube videos. I also highly recommend finding a speaking partner so that you can boost your speaking and listening skills in a fun and useful context.

This website is full of great advice about preparing for IELTS. I tend to do a lot of work on writing because that’s my specialty as a teacher! But we have something to help you with every section from help with speaking to identifying listening questions.

I also have some general IELTS tips that will surely improve your chances. 🙂

But most of all, set reasonable goals and work hard to achieve them. The IELTS exam is the key to unlocking your goals, so don’t get discouraged. Do a little work every day and you will get where you are going.

achieve your ielts goals

Reach the Peak

Why Study IELTS?

Good question!

IELTS is difficult. It can be boring to study. It can make you feel stressed and tired and unhappy. Sometimes it even feels like climbing a mountain but you can’t even see the top!

But it is also the key to unlocking your future.

According to the official website, IELTS is:

 accepted by over 10,000 organisations worldwide, including schools, universities, employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies.


That’s a lot of places. The struggle to gain your ideal score will be worthwhile.

Many people around the world find that IELTS improves their life in a variety of ways. It increases their options in education and work, and can help them move to another country with their family.

How Much Does it Cost to Take the IELTS Exam?

Well, that depends on the country. Also, the price tends to go up a little each year.

Right now, June 2020, in Cambodia it costs US$180. In Vietnam it is VND 4,750,000. In China,the price of IELTS is RMB 2,020.

In other words, it is not cheap.

I have several rich students who take the exam often. Their parents are pushy and insist of them repeating until they get a high score. But for some people it is a one-time shot.

Whether you take it often or just once, make sure you are fully prepared before you go. That means:

  • know what to expect
  • calm your nerves
  • study hard
  • build your confidence
  • be ready

Don’t think about money and don’t treat this like an exam that you can trick. It is a test of your English ability, and the results are fair.

In the end, you can’t put a price on your future.

More IELTS Information

I hope this article has been useful for you in understanding what IELTS means and what you can expect from the IELTS exam. If you want to know more, you can search Google and look for the British Council or IDP websites. If you still can’t find the answer, leave a comment below and I will try to reply quickly! You can also search the pages listed at the top of this one to view all my free resources.

More IELTS Resources

Be careful searching online because there is a lot of false information and scam websites. Here are some that you can trust:

There are also some useful Facebook groups.