What is IELTS?
What is IELTS?

IELTS, the world’s most popular high stakes English language test.
British Council has been teaching English for more than 85 years and evaluating it through IELTS for over 25 years.

The international English language testing system (IELTS) is a test developed by the world’s leading experts in language assessment on four key English language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

It is designed to assess the language ability of people who aim to study and work in, immigrate to and integrate into an English-speaking environment.









Global Recognition


Number of test centres
and locations globally


Organizations which
accept and trust IELTS
around the world


Tests taken
in 2017

General Training and Academic
General Training and Academic

IELTS Academic: If you’re looking to study at a university, at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, or join a professional association where English is a prerequisite.

IELTS General Training: If you’re looking to apply to an immigration program such as Express Entry in order to establish yourself in Canada.

With IELTS, you can go anywhere in Canada. Every organisation sets its own entry requirements. In some cases both versions of IELTS may be accepted.

If you are still in doubt as to which version to take, you should contact the organisations directly in order to check their requirements.

For more information on IELTS please download:

You cannot fail the test

IELTS is designed to assess English language skills at all levels.

You will receive IELTS scores based on each for the four skills on a scale of 1 – 9, and you will also be awarded an overall band score.

Who accepts IELTS?

IELTS is recognised by over 10,000 organisations worldwide, including educational institutions,employers, governments, immigration authorities and professional bodies. You can find out the IELTS score you need to access the education, emigration, employment, professional registration or training opportunity of your choice by searching here

IELTS for Immigration

IELTS was the first test to be recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Immigration Québec as proof of English language proficiency for immigration and citizenship programs. Please find below a list of some of the government programs for which a proof of English is required and the corresponding IELTS versions and scores needed for:

Test Format

IELTS Test Format

The IELTS test assesses your abilities in all four skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – in under three hours.

Accepted and Trusted in Canada

IELTS is Canada’s preferred high stakes English language test in Canada. Trusted by over 350 Canadian organizations, it was the first test to be recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC) and Immigration Québec as proof of English language proficiency for such government programs as Express Entry and other Canadian programs. In May 2014, IRCC announced it was renewing its trust in IELTS for another five years.

Frequently Asked Questions