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Overview, Types of IELTS & More – All You Need To Know About IELTS Exam

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Students planning to pursue higher education abroad are often confused about selecting the right kind of IELTS test that can meet their educational or job requirements. The following sections will provide a detailed overview of different types of IELTS to help them make an informed choice.

Introduced in 1989, IELTS is one of the most renowned and widely accepted standardised English language proficiency tests for non-native English speakers. It is accepted in more than 11,000+ educational institutions, organisations and government agencies. Candidates looking to study or work in any country with English as the primary medium of communication have to appear for this test. The IELTS test is conducted jointly by the British Council, IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English in over 140 countries across 1,600+ test centres. More than 3 million test-takers appeared for IELTS in 2017. 

Types of IELTS Test

Depending on the purpose of moving abroad, candidates can appear for any of the following types of IELTS tests:

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Overview, Types of IELTS & More - All You Need To Know About IELTS Exam

IELTS Academic test: This IELTS test is suitable for students who wish to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate courses in any of the English-speaking nations. The aim of this test is to determine if a student is ready to take up higher studies in English.

IELTS General Training Test: The General Training test is ideal for those who wish to move to Canada, the UK, Australia or New Zealand for secondary education or employment. It focuses on assessing basic survival skills in a workplace environment.The format and question pattern is almost the same for both. Each of the tests consists of four sections: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Candidates can expect various types of questions like MCQs, sentence completion, essay writing, letter writing, identifying data, matching lists and more. Candidates can choose the test type depending on their future plans and the institutions they are applying to. Apart from these, there are also other types of IELTS:

IELTS for UKVI: Those planning to move to the UK have to take an IELTS that is approved by the UK government for UK Visa and Immigration purposes. The format, content, scoring pattern and everything remain the same. However, the IELTS for UKVI follows some specific protocols to ascertain the authenticity of the candidates.The IELTS tests for UKVI are divided into the following types: IELTS for UKVI Academic, IELTS for UKVI General Training and IELTS Life Skills (A1, A2, and B1). IELTS Life Skills are for those who are required to prove English listening and speaking skills for a UK Visa. Candidates can also appear for two types of IELTS based on the mode of examination. These are:

Computer-based Test: Starting in 2017, the computer-based IELTS test requires students to answer the Reading, Listening and Writing section tasks through the computer. The test result is delivered within 5-7 days of the test. 

Paper-based Test: The paper-based IELTS comes with pencil and answer sheets. One has to deliver the task responses within the given time on the answer sheets. The Speaking section test usually takes place 7 days before or after the actual test date. It can take up to 13 days for the test results to be published. 

IELTS Test Structure

The test pattern for Academic and General Training is quite similar. Here is a tabular representation providing an overview of each of the test sections:

Test SectionDescriptionDuration/ Question
ReadingIt consists of three long passages. Students have to answer questions based on these passages. The text can be analytical, factual, descriptive or discursive with graphs and illustrations.60 minutes 40 questions
WritingCandidates have to answer 2 tasks- a 150 words summary and a 250 words essay. They will be provided with illustrations, charts and graphs based on which they have to frame the responses.60 minutes 2 tasks
SpeakingIt is a one-to-one interview with an IELTS examiner consisting of short questions, structured discussion and speaking on a provided topic.11-14 minutes 3 sections
ListeningStudents have to answer questions on the basis of 4 pre-recorded audios. 30 minutes  4 questions

Scoring Pattern for IELTS

The IELTS score band is calculated simply by finding out the average score of all four sections. IELTS score ranges between 0 and 9. In case the average score band comes out in decimal, it is shifted to the nearest whole number. For instance, if the overall score of a candidate is 6.75, they would receive a final score of 7. The score of IELTS is provided in a Test Report Form. While candidates can view their results online, they are eligible to receive one TRF. However, they can send their TRFs to up to five universities as part of the admission application. Students need to score the minimum IELTS score to be eligible for admission to an institution. The minimum IELTS score requirement varies across universities.

Brief Guide on IELTS Registration Process and Charges

One needs to register for the IELTS well in advance to secure a test date, location and time slot of preference. IELTS test registration can be done in any of the two ways:OnlineTo register for IELTS online:

  1. Visit the official website of IELTS India.
  2. Click on ‘Register for IELTS’ and choose the preferred test type and test module.
  3. Choose the desired test location from the available list.
  4. Now, pick the date and time slot that is most convenient for you.
  5. Enter the necessary details and upload a scanned copy of the passport.
  6. Recheck the information and then proceed to pay the registration fee through a debit card or credit card. 

Once done, candidates will receive an acknowledgement.


Candidates can also register by visiting the nearest branch office of IELTS India. They can either download the form online or collect it from the office. The fees can be paid through demand draft, cash deposit at ICICI banks or by cards.  The registration fee for IELTS Academic and General Training test is Rs. 14,700, while the IELTS for UKVI would cost Rs. 15,100. 

Test Dates for 2022

Students planning to sit for IELTS in the upcoming year can follow this section to learn about the IELTS test dates 2022. January

Test dateTest type
8th January 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training
15th January 2022, SaturdayAcademic
20th January 2022, ThursdayAcademic
29th January 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training


Test dateTest type
5th  February 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training
12th February 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training
17th February 2022, ThursdayAcademic and General Training
26th February 2022, Saturday Academic only


Test dateTest type
3rd March 2022, SaturdayAcademic only
12th March 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training
19th March 2022, ThursdayAcademic only
26th March 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training


Test dateTest type
9th April 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training
21st April 2022, ThursdayAcademic only
23rd April 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training
30th April 2022, SaturdayAcademic only


Test dateTest type
7th May 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training
12th May 2022, ThursdayBoth Academic and General Training
21st May 2022, SaturdayAcademic and General Training both
28th May 2022, SaturdayAcademic only


Test dateTest type
4th June 2022, SaturdayAcademic only
11th June 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training
16th June 2022, ThursdayAcademic only
25h June 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training


Test dateTest type
7th July 2022, ThursdayAcademic only
9th July 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training
16th July 2022, SaturdayAcademic only
23rd July 2022, SaturdayBoth Academic and General Training

Different types of IELTS tests are designed for candidates with different future plans, purposes and preferences. One must carefully weigh each option to make an informed decision that would align with their requirements. For complete guidance on IELTS training and coaching, candidates can reach out to Leap Scholar. They would receive crucial financial solutions and all-around assistance from experts for a better study abroad experience. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the eligibility for the IELTS test?

Ans: There are no specific eligibility criteria for IELTS examinations. Anyone can take the test regardless of gender, age, nationality, educational background, ethnicity or religion. However, it is not recommended for candidates below 16 years.

2. Can I appear for IELTS online from home?

Ans: The conducting bodies have introduced the IELTS Indicator test in the wake of the pandemic. With this test, one can sit for the test right from the convenience of their home. However, one needs to have the complete equipment set up asked by the administration.

3. How many times can I sit for the IELTS?

Ans: There is no restriction on the number of attempts one can make for the IELTS exam. You can take the test as many times until you reach the desired score band. But, you need to register and pay the charges each time you appear for it. 

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Manisha Angre

Experienced IELTS prep trainer and education management industry veteran. Specializes in public speaking, international education, market research, mentoring, and management.

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