What Is the IELTS Test and Why Do You Need It?


Knowing languages ​​is very important in the world of work, but being able to certify the level we master is even more so. We explain what the IELTS exam is, what it consists of and why you should consider passing it.

Knowing languages and demonstrating it is crucial to qualify for good offers in large companies. The competition is enormous in those cases, and that is why it is very interesting that you consider getting certified in languages. In this way, by including it in your resume you will open the doors to new opportunities, either in your country or anywhere in the world.

The IELTS is one of the exams that will allow you to certify a high level of English, as it is recognized all over the world.

What is the IELTS test?

The IELTS is the International English Language Testing System, an exam by which the level of English you master will be evaluated concerning certain international standard criteria.


It is endorsed by various institutions, such as the University of Cambridge (which has its certificates such as First, Advanced, Proficiency), the British Council, and the Australian IDP IELTS. With this test, your level of English will be measured with a score from 0 to 9.

To give you an idea, the equivalences of the scores with the Cambridge levels with these:

· From 0 to 3.5: you have no level of English;

· From 4 to 5, intermediate level, equivalent to Pet;

· From 5.5 to 6.5, upper-intermediate, equivalent to First;

· From 7 to 8, high level, equivalent to Advanced;

· From 8.5 to 9, a very high level, which is equivalent to Proficiency.

Apart from all this, it is proof that they will require when you apply for a work visa for countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom.

The test has four parts, namely Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking, and it lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes. Let's take a look at each of the parts:

  • Listening (30 minutes): there are four exercises based on recordings. Exercises include multiple answer options, completing sentences, completing charts, graphs or diagrams, and short answer options (one or two sentences).
  • Reading (60 minutes). There are 40 questions grouped into 3 sections and you work with texts that are read extracts from books, research articles, newspapers, and scientific magazines.
  • Writing (60 minutes). There are two exercises, a composition of 150 words and another of 250 words. The first is usually to explain information that is provided to the examinee in any format. Count a third of the note in this block. The second consists of writing a reasoned opinion on given information and information, briefly presenting the necessary arguments. Here are two-thirds of the block note.
  • Speaking (Less than 15 minutes). is a conversation with an examiner as realistic as possible. The ability to have a coherent and orderly speech, oral interaction and discussion skills are valued.

How to prepare for the IELTS exam?

To prepare for this exam you have two main options: go to a specialized academy, or study on your own. The advantage of the academy is that they will guide you in the study and provide you with guidance, examples, you will practice a lot and you will have teachers to consult. The downside is the cost, although this is always relative.

The self-taught option is, a priori, more economically accessible, but has the disadvantage that you will not have any of the advantages of the academy: you will not have guidance, support, or access to many examples. You will have to be very disciplined and consistent to be successful.

  • You can get hold of the official books and work with them. These three are the best known:
  • The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS. Student's Book with Answers and DVD-ROM, by Pauline Cullen.
  • Common Mistakes at IELTS Advanced: And How to Avoid Them, by Julie Moore.
  • IELTS Trainer. Practice Tests with Answers and Audio CDs, by Louise Hashemi.
  • Apart from these books, you have many online resources at hand to learn or improve your level of English and prepare for the IELTS. For example:
  • An online test to find out what your level of English is and where you start from.
  • A free course to prepare for the exam, which you can complement with the books. For just over 80 euros you can request a certificate upon completion.
  • You can join Tandem and find one or more people to help you speak English and express yourself better.

Also, to improve listening, you can watch movies and series in their original version (with or without subtitles) and listen to podcasts. To improve in Reading, you have the Internet at your fingertips, but you can also opt for simple novels in English, newspapers, and any written resource you can use. At first, it may cost you a bit, but perseverance will be your ally.

FAQs about the IELTS test

  • When can I take the IELTS? There are 48 fixed dates per year and, depending on the local demand where you live, you can have up to four dates available each month.
  • How much does IELTS cost? It has a fixed rate. Academic and general training tests have the same cost, 224 euros according to the British Council; for Visas, 247 euros; and the "Life Skills", 165 euros. If you request the exam online, at that time you will be told the exact rate that applies, but now you know more or less the official price.
  • What part should I do first? The order is listening, reading, and writing. The speaking will take place the same day, seven days before or two days after, depending on local regulations.
  • Will, I hear different accents in the test? Yes, it is an exam with an international vocation, so you can hear virtually any accent.

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