What is the IELTS for International Students?

Usually, one of the many application requirements for international students is including either a TOEFL or IELTS score. We recently discussed what you need to know about the TOEFL, so today we will be discussing what you need to know regarding the IELTS. IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System. IELTS measures a foreign, non-English speaker’s proficiency in communicating in English. Not only is it usually a requirement for international students looking to study in the United States, but it is also used for international people who wish to work in the United States.

For international students, you would want to focus on the Academic IELTS test.

  • This test is specifically for those applying for a higher education.
  • The IELTS boasts availability in over 1,000 locations across the globe and offers almost 50 different test dates per year, providing ample opportunity to take the test and receive a score.
  • There are no uniform minimum IELTS scores in order to study in the United States; it varies by program and institution.
  • It is strongly suggested that you contact the admissions office for your desired program in order to find out what the minimum acceptable IELTS score is, if there is one at all.
  • Most top-ranked universities and PHD programs require at least a 7.0, but again that is not definitive and we strongly suggest that you check with your program’s admission office.

The goal of the Academic IELTS is to evaluate your ability to effectively communicate in English by focusing on four areas: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

  • As you can see, each area is vital to communication. What is interesting about the IELTS is that the listening, reading, and writing sections are all completed on the same day, back-to-back-to-back.
  • However, the speaking section can be completed up to a week after the listening, reading, and writing sections.
  • The test center that you take the test at will tell you more about this and help you with scheduling.
  • Altogether, the time it normally takes for the total test amounts to a little less than three hours.

The Listening Section

The listening part of the test takes about thirty minutes. Here, you will listen to four different conversations. Each conversation takes place in a different type of setting and contains different content. Each conversation mimics a type of conversation that an international student is likely to encounter, such as a class lecture. At the end of each recording, there is a set of questions for you to answer. You are evaluated on your ability to understand these mock conversations.

The Reading Section

Next comes the reading section. This takes up about an hour. For the Academic test, there are three lengthy text excerpts, which vary by subject. They can be academic, fictional, historical, analytical, or a host of different categories. Altogether, there are about 40 questions, which test your ability to understand details, main ideas, and understanding.

The Writing Section

After the reading section is the writing section, which also takes about an hour. There are two parts to this section. For the first section, you are given some type of visual aid, like a chart or graph. You then have to describe and/or explain the information depicted in that visual aid. The next section is to write a response based on a prompt.

The Speaking Section

Finally, the last section is the speaking section. This usually takes around ten to fifteen minutes. This part is recorded and consists of three sections. For the first section, an examiner asks a range of general questions about yourself and topics related to you, such as your family and hobbies. Next, you are given a card that displays a topic. You then have to talk for a couple of minutes on this specific topic, and at the end be prepared to answer a question or two about that topic. Finally, for the last section, you are asked more questions about that topic from the prior section, but are usually expected to expand on your thoughts and ideas about that topic.

Thankfully, there are a wide variety of resources and materials to help international students for the IELTS test. Listed below are a few of these resources to help get you started:

Again, there are a plethora of resources and preparation materials available for the IELTS. This is by no means an exhaustive list and intended to help you get your search started so that you can find the best resources and materials so that you can achieve your highest score possible.

If you have any questions about the IELTS, TOEFL, or any other aspect of the application process to study in the U.S. please visit us at www.nomadcredit.com. We’d be happy to help you search and compare options for education loans or study loans, too. Please send us an email at help@nomadcredit.com if you have any questions about international student loans! We are happy to help.

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