The IELTS and International Students: What You Need to Know

11 Sep 2017
The IELTS and International Students: What You Need to Know

If you’re planning on attending university in an English-speaking country, like Canada, Australia, The UK, New Zealand, or South Africa you may be required to take the IELTS exam. You might also be required to take the exam in other countries where English is being used as the language of instruction for specific classes and coursework by a university.

It’s highly recommended that you contact your prospective school to find out if it’s necessary for you to take the IELTS exam.

While there are other English tests you might take, you should remember that IELTS is the world’s most popular English test.

IELTS Scoring System

The IELTS consists of four modules in multiple areas of knowledge, Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. Each module is scored on a numeric scale starting at one and going up to nine. Universities may use an average of all four modules to satisfy admission requirements but some may require specific scores for some modules. You can find out the required band scores for all universities on the website. A quick search should bring up your preferred institution and its requirements.

As an example, the University of Oxford requires a minimum average band score of 6.5 for international students. However, as mentioned above, Princeton University requires students to have a score of at least eight on the Speaking module.

Preparing for the IELTS Exam

One of the most common mistakes students make is not preparing for the exam. They will register and pay to take the test thinking that they speak, read, and comprehend English well enough to pass the exam.

What typically occurs with these students is that they tend to perform poorly because they are not properly prepared. Even though there are no “penalties” for not passing the exam, and you can retake the exam as many times you as you need to, you DO have to pay the test fee each time you take the exam.

Other issues students experience are not being able to follow instructions and discovering they’re unfamiliar with different areas in each of the modules. Fortunately, IELTS offers a wide range of free and paid test prep services you can utilize to help you to prepare for the exam.

You can find practice tests, free IELTS webinars, and more to help you become more familiar with the test format and each of the modules. 

While we can’t guarantee you’ll achieve the band score required for your institution the first time you take your IELTS, we can help ensure you have access to study materials, tools, and aids to help you do your very best. Please feel free to explore our website further or contact your nearest IELTS Test Centre for further assistance today!


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IELTS has been growing steadily for 20 years because it works. It’s good to know that IELTS has been the choice of millions of people over the years. IELTS stood out immediately because it tests all four skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening, giving a well-rounded assessment of my English
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Instructions before the IELTS written and speaking test were very clear and the people were nice and helpful. I found the written test pretty good. It was not too difficult, nor too simple. The results came quickly and I was accepted in the program and I am currently in the middle of my first year exams.
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