IELTS is a holistic English language test comprising four subsections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Each module is scored for 9 bands and the scores of all the four modules are averaged as the overall band score. There are two types of IELTS – Academic and General Training, which differ in the Reading and Writing modules.
A specific IELTS score is mandatory or sometimes advisory for those who wish to go abroad ( accepted in over 100 countries including the U.S.)for higher education, for a work permit, for Immigration, for professional registration, for dependent visa and sometimes even for a business visa. A good IELTS score is always an added advantage for a visa or for a job abroad or home.
IELTS is a paper-based test. Listening and Reading must be attempted with a pencil, whereas Writing can be attempted with a pen or pencil. Computer-based IELTS (CB IELTS) Which was earlier available in some centers like New Delhi is no longer available anywhere.
IELTS usually takes two days to be finished as Listening, Reading and Writing are conducted at a stretch on the actual day of the test, while Speaking is scheduled on a different day at an appointed time.
In many cities, IELTS Academic is held four times a month, but IELTS General is conducted only twice a month. Currently, there is no mandatory lapse between successive attempts. One also book IELTS for multiple dates without even waiting for the results.
IELTS results are made available on their respective websites (IDP, British Council) usually on the thirteenth day from the test date, whereas a hard copy of the Test Report Form can be expected at the candidate’s address from the sixteenth to twentieth day from the test date. However, in a few cases, the results are delayed by fifteen days in the name of Quality Control.
IELTS is conducted by International Development Program (IDP) and British Council separately. No matter where you take the test ( IDP or British Council or any City in the Country) you will get the same Listing, same Reading, and same Writing papers. Even the evaluation standards remain the same.