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Introduction to IELTS

What is IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an international test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. It is a standardized test required either for educational or for immigration purposes and is widely accepted across the world like TOEFL.

IELTS may be difficult for many people but one can easily ace this test with the right kind of strategies and ample practice. We would share some general information about IELTS.


  • There is no Pass or Fail in IELTS. Test scores are recorded in total 9 bands. Band 1 is the lowest score awarded to "non-users" and Band 9 is awarded to "expert users". Every institution and immigration has different IELTS score requirements.

  • Band scores are earned for each module separately for reading, writing, listening and speaking.

  • Any legible accent is considered acceptable for the test.

  •  As the test progresses, the difficulty level increases.

  • There is no negative marking in IELTS.


IELTS scores are valid for maximum 2 years.

Versions of the IELTS

There are two versions of the IELTS:

 a. The Academic Version = (Study)

 The Academic (AC) Version is designed for those individuals who are interested in pursuing an educational degree or diploma from an English-speaking country. It is also usually a requirement for professionals such as medical doctors and engineers who want to study or practice abroad.

b. The General Training Version = (Immigration)

The General Training (GT) version is designed for individuals for non-academic purposes. Individuals who are planning to visit an English-speaking country for business, job or immigration.

How much does it cost?

The price varies, generally its around $ 200/- to $ 250/-. Check with respective country’s IELTS website for up to date costs.


In Pakistan, British Council and AEO administer IELTS tests. For registration, there are several IETLS exam administrators. Most popular is the British Council.

For more information, go to

Busting some myths about IELTS

1.   AEO awards more bands than the British Council. False. IELTS is a standardized test. AEO and British Council have same marking criteria.

2.   If one section is easy, other will be difficult. False. Test taking committee does not randomly makes sections easy or difficult. If the test is easy (which is the case for 1-2 points deviation ONLY), they will give you less bands for more marks or vice versa. The reason is that they map the scores on the curve to keep the test standardized. As an example, open Cambridge IELTS book 8 of tests, check the table on page 154. After this check the table on page 152.

3.  Cambridge IELTS 1-11 tests are easier/harder than the real IELTS test.False. The difficulty level of Cambridge test books is EXACTLY same as the real test. In fact, tests in these books are the real IELTS tests.

4.  IELTS is easier/harder than TOEFL.False.Check These statistics have been made by evaluating thousands of candidates. Both tests are similar in difficulty level.

Are the tests marked in Pakistan or are they sent abroad for marking? I think they are sent abroad.