You are here
What is IELTS?
IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It’s the world’s most popular English language test for tertiary education, work and migration purposes. International students wanting to study at an Australian university are required to pass the IELTS test to show their English language abilities. The test can also be taken for work purposes or applying for residency. In a global partnership of language experts, IDP: IELTS Australia, the British Council and Cambridge English Language Assessment co-created IELTS.
Why take the IELTS test
Millions of IELTS tests are taken each year in over 140 countries for study, work and migration purposes. Over 10 000 organisations including universities, immigration authorities and professional bodies recognise IELTS, which means it helps you reach your study and career goals faster.
IELTS is the only internationally recognised English language test where the speaking section of the test is held with an examiner in a private room so you will not be interrupted. Our examiners are fully qualified and follow rigorous global IELTS standards and are regularly monitored and re-certified.
IELTS content is developed by an international team of experts that do extensive research to ensure the test is fair and unbiased for all, regardless of nationality, gender, lifestyle or location.
Download your copy of the IELTS Essentials pack for more information.
Book the IELTS test with us
IELTS practice materials
10 steps for success
- Make sure you know how to get to the location of the test centre. Give yourself enough travel time, so you arrive relaxed and on time.
- Practise, practise, practise. There are lots of practice IELTS tests available, so do them. The better prepared you are, the calmer you will be on the day.
- Plan ahead. Get to know how much time you need to complete each question, so you finish the test in time.
- Build your concentration skills by matching your study habits to the test format. For example, practise writing in blocks of 60 minutes to reflect the time allocated for that section of the test.
- Don’t exhaust yourself by studying up to the last minute. Take time to relax. Get a good night’s sleep. Spend the day before the test making a plan, so that you will feel in control on the day.
- Don’t drink too much caffeine or too many energy drinks before the test. They may stimulate you but can also make you anxious.
- Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. Deep breathing can bring your heart rate down, which calms you and relieves anxiety.
- On the day, work your way into the test. In Part 1 of the speaking section, listen to the question and give short, concise answers. The first questions are designed to be easy. Do that, and you will have the confidence to move on to the tougher questions that follow. In the writing section, start with the task that you feel most comfortable with but remember to leave enough time for the other task.
- Remember your strengths. You don’t just get penalised for your mistakes, you also get rewarded for the things you get right.
- You don’t need to get 100%. If you make a mistake, move on.
If you want to do further study at home, you can buy practice materials published by Cambridge University and IELTS Australia from RMIT English Worldwide Melbourne.
Get personal advice from IELTS experts. Try sample IELTS tasks in Writing, Speaking or Reading and get practical tips on how to improve your test performance.
IELTS Progress Check
Provides access to official online practice tests marked by official IELTS experts.
FAQ about IELTS
What level of English do I need before I can sit the IELTS test?
IELTS tests are designed to assess candidates from beginner through to advanced levels. However, the test is aimed at candidates with a level of Intermediate and above.
How long are IELTS test results valid?
IELTS test results are valid for 2 years only.
Do I have to study at an English language school before I sit the IELTS test?
No. However, to get your best possible score, you may consider some IELTS practice materials, which will familiarise you with the types of questions you will be asked in the test.
What age must I be to sit the IELTS test?
IELTS is not recommended for candidates under the age of 16.
What is the difference between the Academic and General Training IELTS tests?
IELTS Academic measures the English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher education environment. IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. This version of the test is also often a visa requirement for those planning to migrate to English speaking countries including Australia, the UK and New Zealand. For more information, visit the IELTS website.
How long does the IELTS test take to complete?
At RMIT English Worldwide Melbourne, all four sections of the IELTS test are held on the same day.
The listening, reading and writing sections are scheduled between 9.00 am and 12.30 pm. The speaking section is scheduled between 1.00 pm and 5.30 pm.
Is there time at the end of the reading section of the IELTS test to transfer answers to the answer sheet?
No. The reading section takes 1 hour and you must write all your answers on the answer sheet in that hour.
Can I write on the question papers?
Yes. The examiners do not see your question papers.
What do I need to bring to the IELTS test centre on the day of the test?
On the day of the test you must bring your current passport (only original and current passports are accepted). The test centre will provide pencils, sharpeners and erasers. Please do not bring your own stationery as it will not be allowed into the test room.
When will I receive my IELTS test results?
Your results, which come in a Test Report Form, will be issued 13 days after the day of the test. They will be posted to you in the mail or you can collect them in person at RMIT English Worldwide Melbourne if your written request has been received. You must complete the written request to collect results in person on the day of the test.
Do not contact RMIT English Worldwide Melbourne for your results—they will not be given over the phone or via email.
What happens if I lose my Test Report Form?
At any time within 2 years of sitting the test at RMIT English Worldwide Melbourne, you can apply for up to five additional copies of the original form. These copies will NOT be sent to you, but can be sent to universities, embassies, consulates etc. on your behalf. You will only ever receive ONE personal copy of your Test Report Form.
How do I arrange for my Test Report Form to be forwarded to universities, consulates etc.?
You will need to complete the Application for the Issue of Additional TRFs form and submit it at RMIT English Worldwide Melbourne, along with an A4 Registered Post envelope for each copy that you would like to be sent out on your behalf.
How often can I repeat the IELTS test?
There is no limit to the number of times you can sit the IELTS test. However, scores are unlikely to improve dramatically without English language lessons or the completion of IELTS preparation courses between tests.
Do I have to sit all four sections of the test when I am repeating?
Yes. When you repeat the IELTS test, all four skills must be tested again, regardless of your previous results.
What happens if I am absent on the day of the IELTS test without giving prior notice?
You will lose the full test fee. However, if a medical certificate is provided within 5 days of the test date, the full fee will be refunded minus an administrative fee of 25%.
What can I do if I am unhappy with my IELTS test results?
You may request that IELTS Australia carries out an enquiry on results. Your test material will be sent to a senior examiner who will review the results. The fee for this is A$176 and it can take 8–10 weeks for the results to be finalised. If there is a change in score, the fee will be refunded. If there is no change, there is no refund.
What help is available for disabled candidates?
If you require a modified version of the test you must give us 3 months’ notice. If special administrative arrangements need to be made, for example, you need extra time to sit the test, you must give us 6 weeks’ notice. Please note there are limited seats available for special needs candidates who require a separate room during the test. For more information, see the IELTS Australia website.
How strictly is the IELTS test marked?
Take care when writing answers on the listening and reading answer sheets, as incorrect spelling and grammar are penalised. Both UK and US varieties of spelling are acceptable. If you are asked to write the answer in a specific number of words, you will be penalised if you write more than that number. In questions where you are expected to complete a gap, you should only transfer the necessary missing word(s) onto the answer sheet.
Will I be able to get better IELTS test results if I take a preparation course?
The results you achieve will depend on your level of English and the effort you put into preparing for the test. Doing a preparation course is not a guarantee of achieving better results, but it will provide you with practice, strategies, sharper skills and more confidence.
Are the teachers IELTS examiners?
The regulations set by IDP: IELTS Australia, the British Council and Cambridge University do not allow teachers of the preparation course to divulge their examiner status. Preparation courses are taught by fully qualified English teachers who are very familiar with the test and experienced at teaching IELTS strategies.
Can I pay the fees by instalment?
No. Fees for the IELTS test must be paid for in full up front.