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IELTS: Who takes it and why

Published on May 7, 2018

One of the most exciting things about being an IELTS examiner is having the opportunity to meet people from around the world. As an IELTS examiner and English instructor, I have met people from different backgrounds and cultures who are preparing for, and planning to take the IELTS test.

Over the years, I have discovered that the reasons people take the IELTS vary as much as the people who take the test. Below is some information about who takes the IELTS and some of the reasons why people choose to do so.

IELTS Statistics

Here are some interesting stats about IELTS:

  • IELTS is used around the world for a variety of purposes, including for work, study, and migration.
  • Over 10,000 organizations in 140 countries recognize the IELTS test.
  • Experts from around the world have developed the IELTS.
  • The test is researched and monitored to ensure fairness for candidates, regardless of their background, gender, education, etc.

Widely Accepted

One of the reasons IELTS is so popular is that it is widely accepted - by more than 10,000 organizations in over 140 countries. IELTS test results are accepted by a variety of organizations, including universities, colleges, schools and governments, as well as professional and industry bodies.

Click here for a listing of organizations that accept IELTS, as well as the required test scores for each one. I suggest taking a moment to get a sense of where IELTS scores are accepted, as well as the scores that are accepted.

Availability and Frequency

Another reason IELTS is popular is that it is available in test centres around the world. Did you know that there are IDP test centres in more than 145 countries and that there are over 450 test centres? In fact, IDP IELTS has over 200 locations in 50 countries. In addition, IELTS test are available on 48 dates a year, up to several times a month, depending on the centre and the demand. Click here for test centres and dates.

Non-Native Speakers Only?

Some people are surprised to learn that native English speakers may also be required to take the IELTS test. Over the years I have met native English speakers who take the IELTS because they want to attend university, they are migrating to an English speaking country, or they are seeking career opportunities. In these cases, like non-native English speakers, they have to prove their language ability, and many do so by taking an IELTS test.

Choice of Academic or General Training

As mentioned in one of my recent blog posts there are two kinds of IELTS tests: the IELTS Academic and the IELTS General Training. Candidates must decide which test they will take before registering for their test.

There are a number of things to consider when deciding which IELTS test to take, including your goals and needs. If you need some help determining which test to take, I recommend seeking advice from the organization, school, or government body you are applying to.

One reason people choose to take the IELTS Academic test is because they are planning to study for higher education, such as at a university or college. In this situation, admission to a program or courses may be based on the results of the IELTS Academic test. Those planning to work in a professional field, such medical or accounting, may also choose to take the IELTS Academic test.

For those wishing to study, work, or get training for their jobs in an English-speaking country, they may choose to take the IELTS General Training test. Those planning to migrate to an English-speaking country such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, or the UK may also choose to take the General Training test.

So as you can see, there are a wide variety of reasons people choose to take the IELTS, and there are many opportunities to take the test in locations around the world. I suggest before making any decisions about what test to take or what route to take to meet your goals, that you take some time to do your research and carefully consider your options.