The British Council IELTS is your best option if you need proof of English language proficiency when applying for a degree in an English-speaking country like the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, or New Zealand. You can opt for the IELTS Online Test, prepare with a training platform online, and even do the IELTS Practice Test Online.
What is IELTS
The International English Language Testing System, in short IELTS, is the most popular test to verify your knowledge of the English language, accepted by over 11 000 universities, colleges, schools, and employers. The test was developed by the British Council in collaboration with Cambridge English and IDP - IELTS Australia to be a fair test for anyone who takes it, regardless of their cultural or social background.
When you take the British Council IELTS test, you will be examined in four different categories: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. For each category, you will receive a mark from 1 to 9. Your final result will be an average of the four marks, but it will also show them separately.
Are there more types of IELTS?
Yes, there are two different British Council IELTS tests, depending on what the taker needs it for:
- IELTS Academic (this is the one you need if you’re applying to university)
- IELTS General training (this is the one you need for a new job, studies that are below the university level, or the migration office)
How can you take IELTS?
One of the great things about the British Council IELTS is that you have full flexibility in how you want to take the test. You can choose to take it at an exam centre or online, at home. And at the exam centre, you can do the test on paper or on a computer, whichever feels more comfortable to you.
IELTS Online Test
The IELTS Online Test is the most flexible way to take the test, and it’s very similar in format to the one taken on a computer in the exam centre. Plus, it has the benefit of giving you the comfort of your own home. And don’t worry, the Speaking component will still happen with a real person, through a video call.
However, at the moment, the IELTS Online Test is not available everywhere. The countries where you can take it are the following:
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe.
IELTS Practice Test Online
Before going into the actual test, you should start by booking an IELTS Practice Test Online and see where you stand. If you’re satisfied with the result, go ahead, and take the real IELTS test. If not, perhaps train yourself a bit more first?
The IELTS Practice Test Online is not free of charge as it is an official test, and you will receive feedback and indications from qualified examinators. The price is 49$ per test. If you wish to take it again, you need to buy it again.
Although you’ll spend a bit more, others who decided to take the IELTS Practice Test Online say that it helped them properly understand the format of the test and the areas they needed to improve most.
How to prepare for IELTS at home
Start with some sample exercises from the official IELTS website and see how easy you find them. Unlike the IELTS Practice Test Online, these are free to try but of course you won’t get any professional feedback.
Then, if you feel like you need to improve your English a bit more before taking the test, or you simply want to get accustomed better with the IELTS format and exercises, you can choose one of these four great training platforms:
- IELTS Test Online, New Zealand
- IELTS Academic Test Preparation by EdX, United States
- IELTS Magoosh, United States
- E2Language, Australia
To find out more about each of them and what they have to offer, read this articles: 4 Online IELTS Training Platforms Get Your Top English Test Scores for University Admission
So, why choose IELTS?
As always when you have to make a choice and pick between several options, you should take into account all the particular aspects of you situation. Same applies now. Look into all the tests and see which one works for you best. Also, read this article which compares the three most popular English language tests: IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE. As a bonus it gives you general advice on how to prepare for your English test, regardless of which one you choose.
Returning to the British Council IELTS, here are the main reasons why we think it’s the best option:
Over 11 000 universities, companies, and institutions all over the world accept IELTS as proof of English language proficiency
You take the same test, regardless of your level. You don’t have to worry with figuring out what your level is and what test to pick, IELTS does that for you.
>> Read more about the IELTS Scoring system.
Because the test is so popular, taking it and preparing for it is highly accessible
You cannot fail or pass. The British Council IELTS will just tell you what level you have on a scale from 1 to 9. The good and the bad news is that each university decides what IELTS score they require, so make sure you check that in your programme requirements.
>> Head over here to find out the IELTS scores required by the best universities in Europe.