What is IELTS?

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the world's most popular English language test for higher education and global migration.  It measures the ability to communicate in English across four language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. It is designed for people who intend to study or work in countries where English is the main language of communication.

The IELTS test has four parts: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.   A band score is awarded for each part of the test. The individual band scores are then calculated to produce an overall band score. 

Your language skills will be assessed on a scale ranging from 0 (non-user) to 9 (expert user). There is no such thing as a pass or a fail in IELTS.  For more information about band scores, see



Which module should I choose?

There are two types of IELTS test: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training

IELTS Academic is for test takers who wish to study at university at undergraduate or post graduate level, and for those seeking professional registration. 

IELTS General Training is for test takers who wish to emigrate to an English speaking country (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, US and Ireland), and for those who wish to train or study at below degree level. Please note that the General Training module is not offered on all test dates. 

To ensure that you choose the correct test, please check with the organisation, university or embassy to which you are applying. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have chosen the correct module.  


International Recognition

Over 3 million IELTS tests were taken in the past year.  The IELTS test is recognised and trusted by over 10,000 organisations in over 135 countries as proof of the test taker's English language proficiency.  IELTS scores are accepted in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

Since 1989, IELTS has been trusted worldwide to provide a secure, global, authentic and customer-focused test, which measures true to life ability to communicate in English.


If you have any questions regarding IELTS please contact ielts@ucd.ie 



British Council     IELTS logo