International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
It is an international standardized test designed to assess the English language proficiency of non-native speakers with over 2million tests taken each year. It is jointly owned by the British Council, which is based in London, with offices all over the world, IDP (an educational organisation), and a department of Cambridge University called Cambridge English Language Assessment. IELTS is accepted by over 3,000 academic institutions in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and by various professional organisations across the world. IELTS is the only Secure English Language Test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) for visa customers applying outside and inside the UK. The test assesses all of your English skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and is intended to reflect the use of language in the ‘real world’.
The IELTS result issued to all test takers corresponds to a specified competence in English with a score from “band 1” (non-user) to “band 9” (expert user). There is also a “band 0” score for those who did not attempt the test. There is no minimum score required to pass the test. For whatever purpose the test taker aims to achieve (study, work and migration) determines whether or not he/she has passed or failed thus different threshold for different need. The IELTS result is valid only for two years unless the user proves that they have worked to maintain their level.
TYPES AND MODULES
IELTS has two types. Standardized IELTS which is the first is designed to meet the needs of those who wish to travel to foreign countries other than the United Kingdom either to school, work or settlement. This has two modules (academic and general training).
- IELTS Academic is intended for those who want to enrol in universities and other institutions of higher education and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study or practise in an English-speaking country.
- IELTS General Training is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience or for immigration purposes.
The other type is the UKVI which is designed to meet certain administrative requirements that are specified by the UK Home Office. IELTS for UKVI is a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). This means that IELTS can be used to prove your English language abilities in support of a UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) application. The UKVI test is the same as the standardized IELTS (for all other purposes), same content, examiners, format, level of difficulty, scoring and so on. The difference is Test Report Forms will be slightly different, to show that you have taken the test at an IELTS UK visa session.
IELTS Life Skills
If you’re applying for a family of a settled person’s visa or for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship, IELTS Life Skills is the test for you. IELTS Life Skills is a new test, approved by UKVI as a Secure English Language Test (SELT). It’s for people who need to show they have speaking and listening skills at Level A1 or B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Language.