What is IELTS?

IELTS, the world’s most popular high stakes English language test.

The British Council has been teaching English for more than 85 illustrious years and evaluating it through IELTS preparation and exams for over 25 years.

The international English language testing system (IELTS) is a test developed by the world’s leading experts in language assessment on four key English language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

It is designed to assess the language ability of people who aim to study and work in, immigrate to and integrate into an English-speaking environment.

General Training or Academic?

IELTS Academic​: If you’re looking to study at a university, at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, or join a professional association where English is a prerequisite.

IELTS General Training​: If you’re looking to apply to an immigration program such as Express Entry in order to establish yourself in Canada.

With IELTS, you can go anywhere in Canada. Every organisation sets its own entry requirements. In some cases both versions of IELTS may be accepted.

If you are still in doubt as to which version to take, you should contact the organisations directly in order to check their requirements.

Which organizations accept IELTS

IELTS Scores

You cannot fail the test

IELTS is designed to assess English language skills at all levels.

You will receive IELTS scores based on each for the four skills on a scale of 1 – 9, and you will also be awarded an overall band score.

Scores Explained

Who accepts IELTS?

IELTS is recognised by over 10,000 organisations worldwide, including educational institutions, employers, governments, immigration authorities and professional bodies. You can find out the ​IELTS score you need to access the education, emigration, employment, professional registration or training opportunity of your choice by searching here.

Recognizing Organizations


IELTS for Immigration

IELTS was the first test to be recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Immigration Québec as proof of English language proficiency for immigration and citizenship programs.

Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) and IELTS

Please find below a list of some of the government programs for which a proof of English is required and the corresponding IELTS versions and scores needed for:

Test Format

IELTS Test Format

The IELTS test assesses your abilities in all four skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking – in under three hours.

Find out more about how to understand the test format

IELTS on Computer or Paper

You now have the choice of taking IELTS on paper or on computer in a number of locations.

Computer-delivered IELTS

If you select this option, you will take the Listening, Reading and Writing sections on a computer. The Speaking test will remain face to face with a trained IELTS Examiner, as we believe it is the most effective way of assessing your speaking skills.

Follow the computer-delivered icon on the ​Register for IELTS webpage to find a test centre near you that offers computer-delivered IELTS.

Learn more about computer-delivered IELTS.

Paper-based IELTS

If you select this option, you will answer questions over the Listening, Reading and Writing sections of the IELTS exam on paper. Questions from the Speaking section of the IELTS test are given face-to-face by a trained IELTS Examiner.