IELTS , or ‘International English Language Testing System‘, is an international standardized test of English language proficiency. It is jointly managed by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, the British Council and IDP Education Australia, and was established in 1989.
There are two versions of the IELTS: the Academic Version and the General Training Version:
* The Academic Version is intended for those who want to enroll in universities and other institutions of higher education and for professionals such as medical doctors and nurses who want to study or practice in an English-speaking country.
* The General Training Version is intended for those planning to undertake non-academic training or to gain work experience, or for immigration purposes.
It is generally acknowledged that the reading and writing tests for the Academic Version are more difficult than those for the General Training Version, due to the differences in the level of intellectual and academic rigour between the two versions.
IELTS is accepted by most Australian, British, Canadian, Irish, New Zealand and South African academic institutions, over 2,000 academic institutions in the United States, and various professional organisations. It is also a requirement for immigration to Australia and Canada. This has been criticised in Canada, because the English accents employed in the Listening section of the IELTS are far removed from typical Canadian accents.
An IELTS result or Test Report Form is valid for two years.
In 2007, IELTS tested over a million candidates in a single 12-month period for the first time ever, making it the world’s most popular English language test for higher education and immigration.