IELTS Exam 2017 – 2018 | India
General information on IELTS eligibility, format, pattern, exam dates, test centers in India & exam fee
What is IELTS?
The IELTS is an abbreviation of the International English Language Testing System. Simply put, it is an examination that assesses your English language skills in terms of spoken and written English. If you wish to study or work in a country where English is the primary language of communication, mainly Anglophone countries, you need to assure the university admission officers and visa officers that you are proficient in the language.
The IELTS exam measures your skills in listening, reading, writing and speaking through two test formats, namely IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. While IELTS Academic can be taken up by those who wish to go for higher education or professional registration, IELTS General Training is for those who are looking at migrating to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. For academic and work purposes, the US also accepts the same.
The test has been designed and is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.
IELTS Eligibility Criteria
Anyone above the age of 16 years can take the IELTS test. If you wish to study, work or migrate to the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand and study or work in the US, you can take this test.
IELTS Exam Dates in 2017-18
You can take the exam four times a month. On the IELTS website, you have to choose your country and the closest examination centre which is convenient to you along with the kind of exam you’d want to take (choose between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training). You will then see test dates that are available and click apply by filling up the application form. Both IDP and the British Council offer the test on 48 fixed dates a year, running into four times a month. The yearly schedule is available on their website.
Just remember to register one month prior to secure your place on your preferred day at your chosen test centre.
Download the PDF on this page to find out more on IELTS test dates in India for 2017: link.
IELTS Exam Fee
In India, the registration fee for IELTS exam was INR 10,600 till March 31, 2016. For all tests administered up to September 30, 2016, the fee is INR 11,100 and for those administered post October1, 2016, it is INR 11,300.
For online registrations, only credit/debit payment is accepted, for in person registrations, you will be required to pay by credit or debit card / DD / ICICI bank deposit slip.
IELTS Exam Pattern and Syllabus
In two hours and 45 minutes, the IELTS will aim to assess your listening, reading, writing and speaking skills in English language. As mentioned above, the two types of tests, IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training differ in their reading and writing components, while listening and speaking tests are same for both.
You have to take all three listening, reading and writing tests without any break, in that order. Speaking test can be the same day or seven days before or after the exam. You can check this option at your test centre.
You will get 30 minutes to answer a number of questions basis four pre-recorded audio tapes you will hear. There will be conversations related to everyday life and in an educational setting. Two of the recordings will be monologues on an academic subject as well as in social context.
Your answers will give away your understanding of the crux of the conversation and detailed factual information, opinions and attitudes of speakers and your ability to follow how the ideas develop in the process.
Around 15 minutes are dedicated to this section wherein the examiner will speak to you on a wide range of topics as work, family, studies, interests, etc.
You will then be given a topic and one minute to prepare to be able to speak on the topic for two minutes. The examiner will ask you more questions on the same topic.
A 60-minute test, it involves reading long texts taken from a number of sources. For IELTS Academic test takers, the text will be descriptive suitable for those wishing to appear for university courses. As for IELTS General Training, you will get to read extracts related to life in general in English speaking environments.
Based on the above, you will be required to answer 40 questions. The purpose of these tests in both the contexts is to evaluate your reading skills and how well are you able to exactly grasp the logical argument and the writers’ opinion.
For both the tests, the assessors will judge you on the basis of your ability to describe/summarise some text, argument, data, figures, graph, and the like depending on what kind of test you are taking.
You will be required to write the same in formal, semi-formal or informal style, depending on the task at hand in 60 minutes.
IELTS Exam Preparation
Passing any examination smoothly requires at least 80% preparation and the remaining 20% should come from putting the same into action. Once you have understood the format for the kind of test you’d want to take, start skimming through practice tests papers and answers.
You can take up these practice tests by factoring in the time you will be given for taking the actual tests. These are available on the IELTS website where you will also get answers to sample questions given. Separately, you can also buy IELTS self-study books and related material that are available at British Council tests centres and selected book stores across the globe.
Read more on how to prepare for the IELTS exam.
Best Books For IELTS Preparation
The British Council website has a list of books with brief description that you could refer to while preparing for your IELTS exam.
Likewise, if you know any people who have taken the IELTS before you, they can also refer some useful books to you. The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS is one top recommendation by many. It comes with a DVD and has questions for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Another is the IELTS Cambridge Practice Tests Series.
There are several books available online, but if you must buy books and study then rely first on those produced by source, i.e. the British Council, Cambridge IELTS books and the like.
For more details on which books to buy, here’s a list of the Best IELTS Books.
Free online IELTS study materials
Thanks to the internet, you have loads of free study material for IELTS preparation available on your fingertips. There are YouTube videos that are especially useful for speaking and listening tests.
The British Council also has an online preparation course designed by its IELTS experts (here’s the link), but you need to register with them to be able to access it. There are three versions of it, test drive, last minute and full version. See what suits your needs the best.
IELTS Test Centres In India
In India, the British Council and IDP facilitate test centres for candidates. The British Council offers tests in 42 locations across the country, while IDP has presence in 40 cities, including Thimphu in Bhutan.
Once you register on their sites for the exam, you will be asked to select your city and date on which you wish to take the test. Five days prior to your scheduled test date, you will get venue details on email.
IELTS Exam Booking Process
Once you have decided what type of IELTS test you wish to take, check for exam test dates. Go online to British Council or IDP websites, download online application form and register for the date convenient to you in the city of your choice by paying registration fee.
Alternately, you could also visit their offices and register in person.You will then be contacted via email regarding venue location on your preferred date.
IELTS Exam Results: When and how they are obtained
Once you take the test, your results will be available 13 days after that in the form of a test report form. These will also be available online or if possible for the test centre, you can also get a preview by SMS alert.
The results will be posted to you. You cannot, however, expect results on phone or fax. Check with your centre if you can collect the results in person.
Keep the test report form safe with you. No replacements are given.
The test centre will send your results to five recognizing organizations free of charge, if you want.
IELTS Exam Sample
As mentioned above, both IELTS Academic and IELTS Academic Training are divided into four parts. Sample tests are available on IELTS website for you to go through to get a feel about how the tests are designed.
At the same time, there are lots of resources online that offer the same.
IELTS Exam Papers and Tests for Practice
Taking practice tests is vital to be prepared for the d-day. Since the final day will involve taking all the four tests one after the other, it makes sense to take up practice tests under similar time bound manner.
The British Council, IDP and IELTS websites are equipped with a number of such practice tests and sample exam papers to help you prepare effectively. These can be accessed free of cost.