The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) can confuse many candidates, before and sometimes after appearing the test. It is only natural for one to be experiencing this because many myths and partial awareness regarding this test could leave anyone feeling puzzled.  


1. It is of paramount importance to know the difference between the two versions of this test, that is: Academic and General. The Academic version is for those who plan to study further; and the General training test is meant for skilled professionals, who wish to migrate to other countries. There are some major differences between the two, and in the beginning itself, the candidates are required to choose as per their requirements

2. The scoring system for IELTS corresponds to Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), and the score is provided out of a 9-band structure. The most important factor here is that each university might have a different score requirement, which could also depend on the course being chosen by the candidate. For instance, a student for a particular course may require 6.5 Band whereas, Masters or any other higher level course requirements may exceed 7 Band.

3. Next, there are two ways of appearing for this test, pen and paper test or it can be computer delivered. The candidate has a choice to appear for the test as per one’s ease. In a pen and paper exam, the Listening, Reading and Writing modules are held on the same day, whereas the Speaking interview is conducted two-three days prior or after the written exam. However, in CD-IELTS all four modules are held on the same day.

4. Moreover, the Speaking module can be conducted in any of the two ways, either face-to-face, or through online video calling. Although in both the cases, students have to reach the designated centre for the interview. Details regarding the date and the centre of the test are shared through an email.

5. The cue-card in the Speaking module is where one needs to speak for at least 2 minutes for a set of questions, which are provided on the spot; and the interviewee gets only 60 seconds to prepare the given topic. This topic is generally based on something commonly known; however, preparing the answer and speaking at length can be tricky for some. Hence, practicing regularly for this part of the exam is important.

6.  Further, the Reading and Listening answers for a paper delivered test, have to be transferred to an OMR sheet. The candidates must be attentive while doing this because, many students, even though they locate answers correctly, tend to transfer answers disorderly; and end up scoring less than 5 Band. Therefore, being cautious, at all times during the test, is crucial.

7.  In the Listening module, in spite of all questions and the answers being provided in a chronological order, the possibility to miss out on answers or information is a commonly faced issue. The reason for this is that the audio is played only a single time, and it is not repeated. Additionally, this test has four sections and each section includes ten questions. This further means that there are four different audios, which are combined for the whole test. Once the audio is over, the process of transferring starts, here the students get 10 minutes or 2 minutes for paper based or computer delivered tests, respectively.

8.  Now taking the Reading module into consideration, Academic or General, despite that both have the same number of questions to be answered that is forty; the number of passages is different. Wherein, for General Training there are five passages in total, segregated into three sections. The first two sections contain two passages each, and one passage is present in the last section. However, in an Academic Reading module, each of the three sections has one passage each.

9.  The Test Report Form (TRF) will be printed 13 days after the test day. A test-taker can collect the TRF at IDP IELTS offices when the results are released. The students need to bring the form of identity used for registering for the test, in order to receive the TRF.

10.  The exam fees for taking this test can vary from country to country, and for India the current fee is INR 15750, it is subject to change from time to time.  The prospective candidate can research about this through the official websites, before filling the form.