What International Students Need to Know About the IELTS Exam

5 Dec 2018
What International Students Need to Know About the IELTS Exam

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam is the most widely used and accepted English language exams in the world. The exam consists of four different exam sections: speaking, writing, listening and reading. The purpose of the exam is to test students who want to attend university abroad in an English speak foreign country or where English will be the preferred language of instruction.

Both undergraduate and graduate students applying for admission at universities abroad will be required to take the IELTS exam as part of their admission requirements. For instance, if you want to attend university in Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Ireland or the United Kingdom, the school will often require you to take the IELTS.

Additionally, a large number of universities in the United States also require international students to complete the exam. Universities in other countries, where students are pursuing an English-language course of study, also prefer students take the IELTS.

It’s essential to keep in mind the exam is often used as a preliminary measure. Universities often have other admission requirements, like minimum grade point averages, to fully satisfy other enrollment requirements.

College students talking in stairway
What Score Do Universities Require for Admissions?

Each section of the IELTS exam is scored on a scale of 1 to 9. Based on the scores from each section, an average score is calculated. The average is the student’s band score. Universities can have specific score requirements which can and do vary.

For instance, a university could require an overall band score of 7, with a specific score of 8 or higher on the speaking section of the exam. It’s important to check ahead of time, either through the IELTS website, your nearest IELTS exam centre, or the university directly to find out what the minimum accepted score requirements are for that school.

Students using laptop together outdoors
Preparing for the IELTS Exam

The best thing a student can do to ensure they get the score they need for admissions to the university they want to attend is by preparing ahead of time for the exam. Some students make the mistake of taking the exam without any preparations and then use this experience as a means to prepare.

However, you must pay each time you take the exam, so it’s not the best preparation method. A much better approach is taking advantage of the full range of exam prep materials available through IELTS and your local test centre.

In addition to these materials, other things you can do to help prepare include:

  • Listening to podcasts and news radio stations in English.
  • Reading newspapers, books, magazines, and other printed materials in English.
  • Watching movies and television programs in English with English subtitles turned on.
  • Reading and answering questions out loud. It might sound funny to do this, but not only are you improving your reading and comprehensive skills, but also your speaking skills.

For help obtaining IELTS prep materials, please feel free to explore our website further, or use the “Register for IELTS” button to contact your nearest IELTS Centre directly.


IDP IELTS Masterclass really helpful, as preparation for the IELTS exam and give us support in many ways to improve our English.
Leny, Company CEO
This was a fantastic presentation! It was very clear, practical and moved at a good pace. I would highly recommend these webinars
Shauna, Student
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
Arnik Surasarang, Teacher
I like that they are open to give us some information and kind of training course without any cost so we can get ready for this important test.
Danna, Student
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.
Nicholas Cletz, Company CEO
The webinar which was held on the 1st of November was satisfactory, informative and valuable. All the questions were answered and explained in a proper way. Thank you!
Olena, Company CEO
Thanks to IDP IELTS Masterclass for the interesting webinar, it was very informative, well organised and practical.
Hussein, Student
80+ Test Locations Across Latin America
World's most popular English-language test for work, study, and migration. IELTS is recognised by over 10,000 organizations in over 140 countries worldwide. Speaking test administered face-to-face in a private, quiet room with a certified IELTS examiner