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What is IELTS?

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I’m sure you will have heard of IELTS, but what exactly is IELTS? Do you need to take an IELTS exam?  How will it help you progress with your studies or career? 

This blog will hopefully help you to understand IELTS a little better.

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System.  It is a test of English language proficiency for non-native speakers. The test will assess your ability to speak, listen, read and write in English.  You will then be give a score of between 1-9.

 It is important if you are looking to study or work in an English speaking country such as the UK, USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand that you can demonstrate a good level of English. IELTS is globally recognized by 11,000 employers, university and schools and immigration bodies around the world so it may be an important step in your journey to living or working in a different country. Taking an IELTS exam and achieving that all important level may be crucial to your progress.  But don’t worry! IH Manchester are IELTS specialist so can help you achieve exactly what you need to.

Understanding the IELTS scores

So let’s take a look at the different IELTS levels and what they mean.  As mentioned earlier IELTS scores are graded from 1-9. The following descriptions are taken from the IELTS website.

Band score 1 – Non user

The test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.

Band score 2 – Intermittent user

The test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.

Band score 3 – Extremely limited user

The test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.

Band score 4 – Limited user

The test taker’s basic competence is limited to familiar situations. They frequently show problems in understanding and expression. They are not able to use complex language.

Band 5 – Modest user

The test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes. They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.

Band 6 – Competent user

The test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.

Band 7 – Good user

The test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.

Band 8 – Very good user

The test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.

Band 9 – Expert user

The test taker has fully operational command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.

There are two different IELTS tests, which one is right for me?

There are two different IELTS test, the IELTS Academic test and the IELTS General Training test. Your reason for taking the IELTS test will determine which test is best for you. We can help you in school if you are unsure which test you need to take.

IELTS Academic Test

The academic test is suitable for students who are planning to study in English, maybe at university or in higher Education.  The test will help to determine if you are ready to start studying in English and will include vocabulary you would encounter within an academic setting.

IELTS General Training

The General Training test is suitable for students who are planning to study below degree level, so maybe at an English speaking school or college.  It is also suitable for work purposes, training, and work experience. The test features language skills you will need in the workplace and everyday social environments.

Why is it important to prepare for your IELTS exam?

As with any exam it is important to prepare to give yourself the very best chance to do well. We believe that every student should be given the opportunity to achieve their potential!

Knowing the exam is important.  Our teachers are experts in the IELTS exam and can help students how to best prepare, develop strategies and study towards the exam. We work with practice questions so that you can understand and feel comfortable with the exam. You are then able to concentrate on showing your wonderful level of English!

Can I take a special course to prepare for an IELTS exam?

Absolutely! We would recommend you do.  We know how important your IELTS result is so we are here to make sure you achieve your best score.  You can take an IELTS preparation course online or in school in Manchester.

If you need to achieve a certain IELTS level to be able to progress to the next stage of your education or career, we can help and advise you on the best approach for you. Firstly, we will test your current level of English with our free online English test. We can then discuss with you the IELTS level you need to achieve and how many hours a week you wish to study. We can then suggest a suitable course for you and how long it will take you to achieve the level you need.  Our guarantee to you – if you do not reach the level of English you require in the time we have suggested then you can continue studying for free with us until you do (conditions apply).



So we hope that has helped to make all things IELTS a little clearer. Here you can find more information about the IELTS preparation courses we offer.

If you have any questions, please do get in touch.

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