The International English Language Testing System is an international examination conducted by the British Council to act as a screening test for non-native English speakers. Aside from the British Council, it is also managed by IELTS Australia and Cambridge. IELTS is one of the major English language tests in the world apart from TOEFL, TOEIC etc. IELTS is accepted by most universities in Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. IELTS also plays an extremely crucial role when applying for VISA abroad since it is the only language proficiency test that is accepted by UK Immigration and is also accepted by the Australian government while applying for VISA and immigration.
A unique feature of the IELTS exam compared to other proficiency exams would be the lack of a minimum score required to pass the examination. It has a score range starting from 1 (non-user) to 9 (proficient user). It also awards a score of 0 to those who were unable to take the examination. Usually, each institution sets its criteria when it comes to selecting candidates and setting minimum requirements. It is also advised to the institutions to not consider a certificate of claim until and unless it is less than two years old.
The history of IELTS dates back to 1980 when it was first launched in conjecture with the Cambridge Assessment and British council. The main focus of the exam was on establishing test tasks that would help candidates to utilize the language and its skills on an everyday basis. The first turnout of candidates for the IELTS exam was meagre, however, continued to gain global recognition as a result of which the number of test takers in the subsequent years rapidly increased. IELTS went live in 1989 and introduced two non-specialized and specialized modules each.
The two modules that the IELTS test is divided into are; Academic Module and General Training Module. The total run time of the test is 2 hours 45 minutes and is comprised of 4 different sections.
Listening: 30 minutes
Reading: 60 minutes
Writing: 60 minutes
Speaking: 11-14 minutes
Coming specifically to the writing section of the paper, it comprises of two separate tasks. The first task demands the candidate to write about 150 words in 20 minutes and the second task comprises of the candidate finishing about 250 words in 40 minutes.
For IELTS Academic test takers, Task 1 comprises of them to break down pictorial representation of data in the form of bars, graphs or tables and describe them in their own words. Task 2 asks the candidate to present their views and perspectives coherently. Candidates may be asked to present an argument, justify, debate a statement or produce solutions to problems.
For the IELTS General Training program, the first task comprises of candidates writing a structurally sound-letter responding to everyday scenarios and task 2 comprises of a general essay about various topics and interests.
Thus IELTS provides a well-rounded language proficiency program for non-native speakers who are looking to enhance their skills or apply for opportunities abroad.

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