IELTS Online Test: What You Need to Know

Proving your English language proficiency is crucial if you plan on migrating, studying, or working in English-speaking countries. One way of doing so is by passing the International English Language Testing System or IELTS. The said test assesses a person’s ability to speak, listen, write, and read in English. You can take the IELTS on paper, on a computer at a testing center, or online. This overview will focus on the IELTS Online Test and will give you all the essential information that you need to know about the exam.

IELTS Overview

IELTS is one of the most popular English language tests for migration, study, and work. More than 10,000 organizations worldwide trust IELTS to attest to a person’s ability in English communication in four aspects: speaking, writing, reading, and listening.

You can take either the IELTS General Training or the IELTS Academic Test. Both assess a person’s speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills in English. However, the test you should take depends on your need: for education or migration and employment. 

If you are looking for employment or migration, you need to take the IELTS General Training Test. The test measures skills in everyday English needed for the workplace and social environments. However, if you want to pursue education in an English-speaking country, you need to take the IELTS Academic Test. This test assesses if you are ready to start studying in English, focused on the vocabulary used in the academic and higher education setting. 

IELTS Online Test Format

The IELTS comprises speaking, writing, reading, and listening sections. The listening and speaking questions are similar in both General Training and Academic tests, but academic test-takers will have more complex questions. The IELTS online test is only available for the Academic test for now. 

You will take the IELTS online test the same way as you do a regular IELTS computer exam. The Speaking test will be conducted the same way. The mode will be the only difference. An examiner will still ask you questions. Only this time it will be via a video call.                        

The Listening test has four sections with a total of 40 questions. On the other hand, the Reading test has three sections for both General Training and Academic, comprising 40 questions. However, the complexity of the questions in the Academic test is higher. 

The Writing tests for Academic and General Training contain two tasks. For the Academic module, test-takers must describe a chart, diagram, or graph for Task 1 and provide an answer to an argument for Task 2. In General Training, Task 1 involves letter writing, and Task 2 requires writing an essay. 

The Speaking module has three parts. First, the examiner asks the applicant their reasons for taking the exam and their interests and hobbies. Then, the test-taker chooses a topic card and has one minute to prepare the answers. Finally, the test-taker and the examiner discuss the topic.

Applicants must complete the Listening, Reading, and Writing sections in one sitting, without any break.    

IELTS Online Test Registration

You need to book your IELTS online test at least two days before your test date. It is important that before you opt and register for the IELTS online test, you first see if your test environment and computer pass the IELTS requirements. 

If you have successfully registered for the IELTS online test, you will receive a confirmation email. Keep in mind that you will be taking your Speaking test before the other sections. 

IELTS Online Test Preparation

You can prepare for IELTS by taking free or paid practice tests. Other things you can do:

  1. Understand the test format and review the test content, including the task types and questions for every section.
  2. Be conscious of the time constraints. Thus, do timed practice.
  3. Devote three to six months to prepare for the IELTS exams and focus on improving your skills with the English language.
  4. Enhance your listening skills by consuming podcasts and audiobooks.
  5. Read books, newspapers, and other printed materials to improve your reading skills.

IELTS Scores

IELTS test results are reported as band scores on a scale from zero to nine, with one as the lowest score. Zero indicates that the test-taker did not answer any questions. Each band score corresponds to an English-language competence level.

Each section gets a score, which is later averaged and rounded. For example, if your score in reading is 6.5, writing 5, speaking 7, and listening 6.5, your average is 6.25. IELTS rounds this up, so your overall band score is 6.5.                        

Institutions and universities in the United States usually have minimum score requirements. On average, a band score of 6 or 7 is already accepted in many colleges. However, aiming for a higher target score will be better. Some universities may require an 8 or a 9. 

Retaking the IELTS

You can retake the IELTS several times, but it would be wise to prepare for the test before retaking it.

To improve your IELTS scores, you need to review your study plan and strategies. Make sure that you study all the sections. However, you should emphasize the section where you are weak. Understand the format, length,  and types of text you encounter and the skill each section will test. Take more practice tests and note the types of questions you struggle with. You can then adjust your study strategies based accordingly.

Enhancing English Proficiency Is Key

Remember that the IELTS is a test to check how proficient you are in English, and your score can help you become a student or a scholar in an English-speaking country. You can achieve your life’s dream by taking the necessary steps—working to make your English language skills better, following the suggestions in this IELTS overview, and obtaining good scores on the IELTS.