What is IELTS?

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Posted by Bethany School

When pupils at Bethany are studying for their English Language GCSE, the majority of the international pupils are studying for their IELTS exam. This is an alternative to the GCSE as a measure of English language proficiency for pupils whose first language is not English.

What is IELTS?
The acronym stands for: International English Language Testing System.
IELTS was developed to provide a fair and accurate assessment of English language proficiency. Test questions are developed by language specialists from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. The test covers four sections: listening, reading, writing and speaking, and is ratified by three organisations:

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IELTS is recognised by over 10,000 institutions worldwide, making it the most useful qualification to take for our pupils who wish to enter tertiary education. Universities and colleges set an IELTS grade requirement for their courses, just as they do for A levels. So, for example, if you wish to study Art at UCL you will need a grade 6, but if you wish to study medicine at Oxford you need a 7.5. The grade boundaries, from 1 to 9, are linked to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)

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There are two types of IELTS test: general and academic. The general test can be taken for migration or work purposes. However, our pupils, going to university need to take the academic test. Sitting the IELTS test takes approximately three hours without stopping. The test starts with listening, then reading and finally writing. Then, there is a one-to-one speaking test of about 15 minutes with an IELTS examiner.

In preparation for the test, our international pupils use a range of practice materials. Here is a link to a free practice test if you would like to try!

Nicola Rendall-Jones
Head of EAL