Brighten Youth Education Centre



International English Language Testing System (IELTS)


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an international standardised test of English Language proficiency for non-native speakers of English. It is jointly managed by the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, the British Council and IDP Education. It is one of the two major English language tests in the world, the other being the TOEFL. The IELTS comes in two versions, the Academic Version and the General Training Version. The Academic Version of the test is intended for those who wish to enrol at universities or institutions of higher education, or for professionals like medical doctors or nurses who wish to study or practice in an English-speaking country. The General Training Version is intended for those who wish to undertake non-academic training, gain work experience, or for immigration purposes. Brighten tutors have a great deal of experience in teaching both versions of the test. Most higher education institutions in the UK, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa accept the IELTS, along with over 3,000 institutions in the US. The test is also an immigration requirement for countries like Australia and New Zealand.


There is no minimum score for the test but grading runs from Band 1 (non-user) to Band 9 (expert user). Different band scores are required by different institutions and for different purposes. Institutions are advised not to consider a score that is more than two years old unless the candidate has substantial proof that they have worked hard to maintain their level. For this reason, test scores are normally only considered valid for two years.


Since 2007 the IELTS has been the world’s most popular test of English language ability for higher education and immigration. In 2012, over 2 million candidates sat the test in more than 130 countries. The test normally takes three hours and is comprised of papers in Listening (40 minutes), Writing (60 minutes), Reading (60 minutes), and a one-on-one Speaking interview with the examiner (11-15 minutes) that is recorded for monitoring purposes. The IELTS has a number of features that aim to make the test as objective as possible. It was developed by a team of writers from around the world and incorporates a variety of accents and writing styles in order to minimise linguistic bias. It aims to teach the four key English skills of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and awards a Band score for each of the four sub-skills in order to provide a more accurate picture of a candidate’s ability.


Each section of the test incorporates time for a candidate to read the questions before answering and becomes progressively more difficult towards the end of the test. The IELTS attempts to replicate real-life situations and is very convenient as there are up to four test dates per month. There is a range of ways to prepare including online practice resources, preparation courses, official IELTS practice materials and textbooks and expert tuition from Brighten’s tutors. Brighten offers professional, personally tailored tuition in the following specific areas of the IELTS exam, as well as general test preparation and past paper drilling:

  • Writing

  • Reading

  • Speaking

  • Listening

  • Use of English

  • Grammar and Vocabulary for IELTS

  • General Test Strategy