· Where can I sit IELTS?
There are over 500 centres all over the world where you can sit for IELTS. Visit the official IELTS website to find your nearest test centre.
If you use this link, you can also find out the dates you can sit the test and information about registration and test fees.
· How often can I take the test and how long do I have to wait before taking another test?
You can take the test as many times as you want and there is no waiting period between tests. Before 1st May 2006, it was necessary to wait 3 months before re-sitting an IELTS test but that is no longer the case.
· Is my IELTS Band Score valid for life?
Unfortunately not! You get a Test Report Form after you sit IELTS with your results. The Test Report Form (TRF) is usually valid for 2 years but some institutions may ask you to prove that you have maintained your level of English if your result is almost 2 years old. If the TRF is more than 2 years old, you will be required to sit the test again to prove your level of English
· How do I decide whether to take the Academic version or the General Training version? What’s the difference?
If you want to do a degree course you MUST take the Academic version. The Academic version has been specifically designed to assess whether you are ready to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level in English.
The General Training version is for Immigration purposes and if you want to do a diploma level course. The General Training version is designed to assess your English survival skills in a social and more general educational context.
· What score do I need to get into university?
This is a very difficult question to answer as it depends on the institution and the course you wish to study. You need to get advice from the university you wish to apply to. In my experience, most universities seem to require a score of at lease 6.5 overall with at least a score of 6 in each sub-test (listening, reading, writing and speaking).
Sometimes courses may ask for a higher score, especially if they have a heavy emphasis on language. When I was teaching at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, UK, I had a Japanese student who wanted to study linguistics at an English University. She was required to get a minimum of 7.5 IELTS band score.
· What score do I need to emigrate to Australia, New Zealand or Canada?
Again, a difficult question to answer as there are so many variables such as your education and the work skills you have. Immigration departments also re-assess the desirability of certain skill sets.
I have lived in Australia since 2001; when I first arrived, students informed me that I.T. was very desirable for immigration purposes, until recently it was hospitality and at the time of writing, there appears to be an emphasis on the medical profession.
The feedback I have received here in Australia is that a score of somewhere between 5.0 and 7.0 seems to be required depending on the factors mentioned in the previous paragraphs.