Last Updated: February 16, 2021

IELTS FAQ

IELTS is an English proficiency test attempted by people in order to apply for higher education, jobs in English-speaking countries and for visas and immigration purposes required to move to other countries. There are specific IELTS exams for each of these requirements and it can be taken by anybody above the age of 16. The exam does not require any specific grade to pass but is represented as bands. Any band score above 6 is considered good.

International exams of this scale is bound to be confusing in its registration process and in understanding the various aspects of the same. This is why we have compiled a list of FAQs answering them to the best of our ability.

Should I choose paper-based or computer-based IELTS?

The examinations do not differ according to format. You can choose any of the formats depending upon your level of comfort in using a pen or a keyboard. Play to your strengths.

What is IELTS Life Skills?

IELTS Life Skills is offered by the IELTS Partners and is a test to measure speaking and listening skills. It is conducted for UK Visa and Immigration requirements for certain categories.

What are the different categories under IELTS Life Skills?

How much time is allotted for the Writing Section?

The Writing section is given 60 minutes in all. There will be two tasks. The first task should ideally take around 20 minutes and the second task around 40 minutes in all.

How many paragraphs should I include in each Task in the Writing Section?

While attempting both the Tasks in the writing section, split your answer into three paragraphs. These paragraphs should have the content split into introduction, body and conclusion. The paragraph for the body can be further split into different paragraphs. Each of these paragraphs should hold one single idea or perspective.

Should I attempt the Writing section with a pen or a pencil?

There is no mandatory remark regarding the stationary you ought to use for the exam. Both a pen and a pencil are allowed. But it is preferred that you use a pen to write on the answer sheet since it is brighter and less likely to fade over time.

How much time should I ideally spent for reading passages in the Reading section?

You can safely spend around 15 minutes for reading both the passages and the questions. Skimming beginnings of passages and getting back to them through the questions is considered most effective. This will give you around 45 minutes to answer a total of 40 questions.

What are the generally asked questions in the Reading section?

The Reading section may contain different kinds of questions. This includes multiple=choice questions, choosing matching headings, completing sentences, writing summaries, etc. There may be a maximum of 13 kinds of questions on the different passages.

How am I graded for the Speaking test?

They grade you for the Speaking test depending on factors like fluency, pronunciation, decent range of vocabulary, correct grammatical use, etc. This does NOT include a difference in accent. Examiners are trained to deal with different accents but this does not include a mother tongue bias.

How many times is IELTS conducted in a year?

IELTS is conducted roughly 48 times in a year which accounts to around 4 times in a month.

What are the accents used in the Listening test?

Being an International test, their accent isn’t strictly restricted to British English. They usually use American accent, Canadian accent, etc. when it comes to the listening test.

How many times can I attempt the IELTS?

There is no limit for the number of times in which you can attempt the test. Candidates generally take the test at least twice to secure a better band score.

Can I review my result if it is unsatisfactory?

If you feel that you deserve better grades than what you have received you may apply for an “Enquiry on Result”(EOR). This application should be submitted within 6 weeks of the result being declared and requires the payment of an additional fee.

What is the validity of the IELTS certificate?

The certificate is valid for 2 years from when the test was taken. There maybe certain spaces that consider certificates older than 2 years but the certificate in itself loses value after 2 years.

How many types of IELTS are there?

The two formats for IELTS are one for Academic and the other for General Training. Both these tests have the Reading and Writing sections similar to each other.

How long does it take before the results are announced?

The results are announced after 13 days. You can also avail the result after 3 to 5 days if you have taken the computerized version of the test.

How many times are the listening passages played?

The passages are played just once. Listening skills include concentration and the skill to retain information. The questions asked will be in the order the passage is played.

Is IELTS and TOEFL the same? Can I take one instead of the other?

IELTS and TOEFL have a lot in common but they are NOT the same. The tests are both for measuring the English proficiency of the candidate and has sections for Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. To find out which exam suits your needs, contact your respective institution and enquire which exam would they prefer over the other. Most universities in US prefer TOEFL to IELTS but this is changing over time with more and more universities willing to accept both IELTS and TOEFL.

Will I get a refund if I could not attend the test under special circumstances?

When you do not show up for the test, they mark you as a ‘No Show’ candidate. If you inform the authorities 5 weeks earlier about the inability to write the test, they will refrain from doing so. On the other hand, if you are unable to attend the test and can produce a strong reason for it, they might avail you a partial refund. The full amount will not be refunded under any circumstance.

What if I reach the test center late?

According to the rules the proctors are not allowed to let you attend the test if you are late. But if you can prove the gravity of the situation to them and state what caused the delay, the supervisor may let you attend the test on a later test date.

IELTS Resources


IELTS Writing

IELTS Listening

IELTS Speaking


IELTS Practice Tests/Reading


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sobriquet : nickname

IELTS vs TOEFL