After a certain point, English language students have to decide which path they wish to take with their studies. When students learn about IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and its rigorous study programme, they often decide to leave their existing skills the way they are - but is this a mistake?
While it’s true that IELTS is a fairly difficult programme, successful students have so many great options available to them. IELTS is recognised in so many facets of global educational, professional, and governmental areas with immense distinction.

Before undertaking IELTS, it’s good to know a bit about it. Here are some key points:

The IELTS Exam

All candidates must choose between the Academic format and the General format. The Academic format is ideal for those looking to study abroad, whereas the General format is more suited to those looking migrate for professional purposes.
An IELTS exam consists of four parts:

  • Listening (30 minutes)
  • Reading (60 minutes)
  • Writing (60 minutes)
  • Speaking (around 15 minutes)


IELTS Preparation Courses

While it depends on each student’s skill level, many IELTS preparation instructors recommend that students do at least a few months’ worth of preparation classes before sitting the exams. This allows time for students to improve on the areas of their English language skills that need refining. It also allows for several chances at taking mock IELTS exams, so they become familiar with the format of the exam and what to expect when test day arrives.


Band-Width: the IELTS Scoring Process

Scoring in IELTS differs from other tests. It uses a bandscore that goes from one to nine. One is a low level English practitioner while nine shows someone that has achieved expert level. Some employers or government policies ask students to have a minimum bandscore, so it’s a good idea for students research what scores are needed in terms of their personal goals.


IELTS v. TOEFL: What’s the Difference?

Many advanced level English students are not sure whether to take the high level IELTS or TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet Based Test). While these tests are similar and have comparable preparation courses, they do have differences.

TOEFL is widely recognised across the United States and most of the testing is done with computer interfaces. TOEFL also takes more time to complete and can be exhausting for some students.
By contrast, IELTS is more personalised, with in-class preparation sessions, and is more pertinent to the UK and its Commonwealth countries, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Interested in taking IELTS? Check out The Language Gallery’s IELTS Preparation courses and electives. They’re taught by knowledgeable instructors in several locations and cover all four exam components. Find out more about the differences between IELTS vs. TOEFL on our previous blog post.