What International Students Need to Know About the IELTS Exam

December 3, 2018 by IELTS

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam is the most widely used and accepted English language exams in the world. The exam consists of four different exam sections: speaking, writing, listening and reading. The purpose of the exam is to test students who want to attend university abroad in an English speak foreign country or where English will be the preferred language of instruction.

Both undergraduate and graduate students applying for admission at universities abroad will be required to take the IELTS exam as part of their admission requirements. For instance, if you want to attend university in Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Ireland or the United Kingdom, the school will often require you to take the IELTS.

Additionally, a large number of universities in the United States also require international students to complete the exam. Universities in other countries, where students are pursuing an English-language course of study, also prefer students take the IELTS.

It’s essential to keep in mind the exam is often used as a preliminary measure. Universities often have other admission requirements, like minimum grade point averages, to fully satisfy other enrollment requirements.

College students talking in stairway
What Score Do Universities Require for Admissions?

Each section of the IELTS exam is scored on a scale of 1 to 9. Based on the scores from each section, an average score is calculated. The average is the student’s band score. Universities can have specific score requirements which can and do vary.

For instance, a university could require an overall band score of 7, with a specific score of 8 or higher on the speaking section of the exam. It’s important to check ahead of time, either through the IELTS website, your nearest IELTS exam centre, or the university directly to find out what the minimum accepted score requirements are for that school.

Students using laptop together outdoors
Preparing for the IELTS Exam

The best thing a student can do to ensure they get the score they need for admissions to the university they want to attend is by preparing ahead of time for the exam. Some students make the mistake of taking the exam without any preparations and then use this experience as a means to prepare.

However, you must pay each time you take the exam, so it’s not the best preparation method. A much better approach is taking advantage of the full range of exam prep materials available through IELTS and your local test centre.

In addition to these materials, other things you can do to help prepare include:

  • Listening to podcasts and news radio stations in English.
  • Reading newspapers, books, magazines, and other printed materials in English.
  • Watching movies and television programs in English with English subtitles turned on.
  • Reading and answering questions out loud. It might sound funny to do this, but not only are you improving your reading and comprehensive skills, but also your speaking skills.

For help obtaining IELTS prep materials, please feel free to explore our website further, or use the “Register for IELTS” button to contact your nearest IELTS Centre directly.

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