Contributed by Barbara (Canberra ESL Team)

The International English Language Test (IELTS) is one of the most widely recognised English language proficiency tests available. Both Australia and New Zealand accept IELTS results when applying for visas, jobs, and academic programs, making this exam ideal, and oftentimes essential, for those looking to travel here for work or education.

The Basics
The test is designed to evaluate your ability to speak, read, write, and listen in English. Results are organised into Bands 0-9. Most companies, immigration offices, and academic institutions require Band 6 or higher in all four skills in Australia. You must confirm with your employer, immigration agent or university of their score requirements.

The IELTS provides testing in two options – the IELTS Academic for those wishing to enrol in University or Tertiary Education, and IELTS for General Training. The test takes 2 hours 40 minutes in total and importantly there are no breaks. Both testing options assess the four skills mentioned above, however, the reading and writing topics are different for IELTS Academic to cater for University-specific language and writing. After all, we don’t usually have to write academic essays in our day-to-day life.

You can only take the test at an official testing centre and you must register before you can take the test. Tests are administered either with a computer or pen and paper, and the speaking portion is conducted separately as an informal face-to-face interview. Be sure to pick a test date far enough in advance that you can prepare! Tutoring becomes extra important for this aspect of the test, offering the opportunity to gain real-life practice and experience.

Next level stuff
Studying for the IELTS, regardless of which test you are taking, is highly encouraged. You wouldn’t walk into a job interview without first learning about the employer and practising potential interview questions, or an exam without knowing the study content. It’s just as important to prepare for your IELTS test.

When prepping for the IELTS keep in mind:

  • The IELTS is designed to test your understanding and ability to use English. This means that not only will you be tested on your vocabulary, but your understanding of how words relate to each other and when to use them. Spelling and grammar always count and will be marked accordingly.
  • Exam tasks can take a variety of different forms (the reading section alone has over 10 different question types) and these forms do not appear in each exam.
  • Practice exams can be a very useful indicator of a language user’s level. However, as not all task forms are included in each exam (see the previous point), an evaluation from an experienced English language coach would give a more accurate result of how well a student would perform during an official IELTS exam. English language tutors are trained to assess skill levels, identify areas for development, and provide focused support.

Our ESL tutors are highly skilled, experienced and qualified to deliver the best training to prepare you for your IELTS exam. We understand the importance of the exam and know what it will take to help you to pass with flying colours. With the ability to work around your busy schedule, our tutors come to you and can work online, in your office, a café or public library. We make access to tutoring easy so that you can focus on learning.

Are you thinking of taking an IELTS exam in the future? Get in touch with us for focused, customised coaching, to gain confidence and knowledge that will serve you well in the testing room, and in real life.

About ESL Tutoring Services
At ESL Tutoring we tailor our lessons for your particular needs. As every person is unique, so the lessons we prepare are also different for each student. At ESL Tutoring, we don’t just go from one chapter to another in a textbook. We teach you what YOU want to know and our tutors put in the extra effort to help you achieve your goals. We don’t just teach English, we live English! Contact us to learn more about what we can offer. You can also email us at or call 1300 137 186.


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