1 3. Test format The IELTS test has four parts – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. You must do all four parts to receive an IELTS result. The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. IELTS is available in two test formats: Academic or General Training. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking modules but different Reading and Writing modules. Listening, Reading and Writing must be completed in one day. Depending on your test centre, the Speaking test may be offered on the same day or up to a week before or after the other parts. See below for a diagram of the test format. 1. How do I register To register for an IELTS test, follow these six simple steps. You can also download the Information for candidates booklet. 1. Find your nearest IELTS centre and check the test dates to find two options that suit you. Note the deadline for registering for each test date. (You can also see the cost of the test at your centre in local currency on the IELTS Worldwide Search.) 2. Check with your organisation or on the Global Recognition System whether you need to sit an Academic or General Training test. 3. Print out the IELTS Application Form or ask your test centre for a copy. Read the information for candidates, terms and conditions, complete the form and sign it. Please make sure you have a valid postal address and use the same name as on your passport. 4. Organise two passport-sized photographs, less than six months old, and sign the back of each. Take a photocopy of your current passport – this must be valid and not expired. (Some centres will accept a national 2 identity card.) 5. If you want your results to be sent automatically to a university or educational institution, include the correct details in the section on the IELTS Application Form. 6. Take your application into your IELTS test centre with your money. If you send it by mail, please talk to your centre about the method of payment. Once you have registered, the test centre will confirm your IELTS test date, time and venue. Please note the Speaking test can be up to 7 days before or after the test date. On the test day, you must bring the same passport or national identity card that you entered on the Application Form. 2. Test dates 3 IELTS has 48 fixed test dates each year to ensure high levels of quality and security. The test dates for 2009 are listed below. Click on your chosen test centre to find out the dates on which it offers IELTS. Academic tests are offered on all of the dates listed. You can sit a General Training test on those dates which are bold and asterisked. 3. Test fees IELTS has a set fee for its test. The Academic and General Training tests are the same cost. You must pay your fee when you put in your Application Form. To find out the test fee in your local currency, check the IELTS Worldwide Search for your nearest centre. It also has information on terms and conditions for payment and cancellations. IELTS test fees are used to ensure the quality and security of the test process. 1. About the test 1. What is IELTS? 2. Which organisations accept IELTS? 3. Who owns IELTS and who writes the test? 4. Why are there two versions of the test? 5. Which version should I do? 6. What is the test format and how long will it take? 7. What help is available for disabled candidates? 1. What is IELTS? IELTS is the International English Language Testing System which tests English proficiency across the globe. Conducting one million tests globally, IELTS is the world’s most popular English testing system. 2. Which organisations accept IELTS? IELTS is accepted by more than 6000 organisations worldwide. These include universities, immigration departments, government agencies, professional bodies and multinational companies. To search for a recognising institution, use the IELTS Global Recognition System. 3. Who owns IELTS and who writes the test? IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL) and offered through more than 500 locations in 120 countries. International teams of writers contribute to IELTS test materials. Ongoing research ensures that IELTS remains fair and unbiased. Test writers from different English-speaking countries develop IELTS content so it reflects real-life situations. 4. Why are there two versions of the test? IELTS has two versions – Academic and General Training. The Academic test is for those who want to study at a tertiary level in an English-speaking country. The General Training test is for those who want to do work experience or training programs, secondary school or migrate to an English-speaking country. All candidates 4 take the same Listening and Speaking tests but different Reading and Writing tests. 5. Which version should I do? Read the explanation of the Academic and General Training tests, then contact the organisation or institution to which you are applying to find out what it requires. Note that you must know which version to take when you complete the IELTS Application Form. 6. What is the test format and how long will it take? IELTS has four parts – Listening (30 minutes), Reading (60 minutes), Writing (60 minutes) and Speaking (11– 14 minutes). The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are done in one sitting. The Speaking test may be on the same day or up to seven days before or after the other tests. Find out more and see a test sample. The IELTS Official Practice Materials 2007 explains the test format in detail and gives you practice tests and answers. Order a copy online or through your local test centre. 7. What help is available for disabled candidates? Test centres make every effort to cater for the special needs of disabled candidates. It is our aim for all candidates to be assessed fairly and objectively. If you have a special need, talk to your local test centre when registering. Centres may need three months to organise arrangements. Find out more. 2. Registering for the test 1. Where can I take IELTS? 2. When can I take IELTS? 3. How much does it cost? 4. What if I need to postpone or cancel my application? 5. What if I am absent or sick on the test day? 1. Where can I take IELTS? You can take IELTS in over 500 locations worldwide. Search for your nearest test centre on the IELTS Worldwide Search. IELTS centres have friendly, helpful staff who will help you with the registration process. 2. When can I take IELTS? IELTS is available on 48 fixed dates a year – up to four times a month, depending on local demand. Check all the test dates for the year or go to your nearest centre to see its next test date. 3. How much does it cost? IELTS has a set fee for its test. The Academic and General Training tests are the same cost. To find out the test fee in your local currency, check the IELTS Worldwide Search for your nearest centre. 4. What if I need to postpone or cancel my application? If you postpone or cancel your application more than 5 weeks before the test date, you will receive a refund minus an administration charge. If you postpone or cancel within 5 weeks of the test date, you will be charged the full fee unless you have a medical reason. If you provide a medical certificate within 5 days of the test date, you will receive a refund minus the local administrative cost. 5. What if I am absent or sick on the test day? If you are away on the test day with no prior notice, you will lose your full fee. However, if you provide a medical certificate within 5 days of the test date, you will receive a refund minus the local administrative cost. 5 3. Sitting the test 1. Is the IELTS test completed in one day? The Listening, Reading and Writing components of the test are always completed immediately after each other and with no break. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test may be taken up to 7 days either before or after the test date. 2. What if I am delayed by circumstances beyond my control (eg a transport strike)? The test centre may offer you a test on the next available test date. 3. What can I bring into the examination room? Only pens, pencils and erasers. You must bring the passport/national identity card you used on the IELTS Application Form to the test. You must leave everything else outside the examination room. Mobile phones and pagers must be switched off and placed with personal belongings in the area designated by the supervisor. If you do not switch off your phone/pager or keep it on you, you will be disqualified. Find out more. 4. Which part do I take first? You do the Listening test first following by the Reading and Writing components of the test. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test may be taken up to 7 days either before or after the test date. 5. What kinds of accents can be heard in the Listening and Speaking tests? As IELTS is an international test, a variety of English accents are used in both of these tests. 6. Does the Listening tape provide instructions and pauses? Yes. At the beginning, you hear instructions and a sample question. Then you read section 1 questions, listen to section 1 and answer the questions. The same procedure follows for sections 2, 3 and 4. In the final 10 minutes, you transfer your answers onto the answer sheet. 7. Is there a similar period of 10 minutes in the Reading test to transfer answer? No. The Reading test is one hour, and you must write all your answers on the answer sheet in this time. 8. Can I use a pen for the Listening and Reading tests? No. You must do it in pencil. The answer sheet is scanned by a computer which cannot read pen. 9. Can I make notes on the Listening and Reading question papers? Yes. The IELTS Examiner will not see your question paper. 10. What is the Speaking test? The Speaking test is a conversation with a certified IELTS Examiner. The Speaking test is made up of three sections. It is recorded on an audiocassette or a digital recorder. Find out more. 11. What do I need for the Speaking test? You must bring the same identification documents you supplied on your IELTS Application Form and used for the rest of the test. Your ID will be checked before you enter the interview room. 4. Test results 1. How are the tests marked? IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system to measure and report test scores in a consistent manner. You receive 6 individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking and an Overall Band Score on a band scale from one to nine. Find out more. 2. Who sets the ‘pass’ mark for the IELTS test? There is no pass or fail in IELTS. Scores are graded on the 9-band system. Each educational institution or organisation sets its own level of IELTS scores to meet its individual requirements. To find out more, search the IELTS Global Recognition System for specific organisations and scores. 3. When will I receive my test results? You will receive your Test Report Form in the mail 13 days after your test date. Some test centres also provide SMS alerts and an Online Results Service. Keep your Test Report Form in a secure place as you only receive one copy. Find out more. 4. What if I lose my Test Report Form? Test Report Forms are valid for two years. Copies cannot be sent to candidates but IELTS will forward a Test Report Form to your relevant institution or embassy. Up to five copies will be sent free of charge. Additional copies will incur a small administration charge. Talk to your test centre for further details. 5. How soon can I re-sit the test? There is no limit on sitting the test. However, IELTS recommends you do additional study before taking the test again. Some test centres offer preparatory courses and language classes. You can also improve your skills by using the IELTS Official Practice Materials. 6. What if I feel my test result is wrong? You can apply for an ‘enquiry on results’ procedure at your test centre within four weeks of receiving your results. You must pay an enquiry fee, which is fully refunded if your band score changes. Note that IELTS Examiners and markers follow strict assessment guidelines and are regularly monitored. The IELTS testing process has the highest quality control procedures. 1. Taking the test On the test day, your IELTS centre will be helpful and friendly. But they have to follow strict procedures to ensure the quality and security of the test. Below are some guidelines for taking the test. Arrive on time and try to stay relaxed and calm so you can do your best in the test. Read the Information for candidates booklet and Notice to candidates before coming to your test. 1. Bring your passport / national identity card with you: You must have the same identification that you provided on your IELTS Application Form. If you do not have the correct identification document, you will not be able to take the test. Pens, pencils and erasers which you need for the test. 2. During the test: Follow the supervisor’s instructions. If you are in doubt, raise your hand and the supervisor will assist you. Tell the supervisor if you think you have not been given the right question paper, or if the question paper is incomplete or illegible. 7 You may not ask for any explanation of the questions. You may not lend or borrow anything from another person. If you feel that your work may be affected by illness or any other reason, you must tell the supervisor at the time. 3. You must not: Try to cheat, copy the work of another candidate or disrupt the test. Use, or try to use, a dictionary, pager, spell-checker, electronic recorder or mobile phone. You will be disqualified. Talk to, or disturb, other candidates once the test has started. Smoke, eat or drink in the examination room. Reproduce any part of the test. You will have your test results disqualified and be liable to prosecution. Take any materials from the examination room. This includes, but is not limited to, test papers, answer papers and working paper. Leave the examination room without permission. If you are caught infringing any of the candidate rules, your test result will be disqualified and your receiving institution or professional body will be notified. 2. Tips for the test Here are some quick tips for practicing your English and taking the test. Good luck! 1. Practice for confidence Practice your English language skills with the IELTS Official Practice Materials or through other books or courses. Download the Information for candidates booklet to understand more about the test. Read, speak and listen to English as much as you can. Practice speaking English with your friends. Use radio, television and the web to read and hear different English texts. 2. Arrive on time to the test Double check the time and date of your test and allow plenty of time to travel to the test centre. If you are late, you may not be allowed to take the test. Make sure you drink water and eat healthy food on the day of your test. 8 3. Try to be calm and relaxed Get a good night’s sleep before your test. Don‘t cram your study. Try to remain calm at the test centre. The centre staff will be friendly and assist you. Read the IELTS regulations before the test so you understand the rules. (A copy is on your IELTS Application Form.) 4. Understand the test format To do your best, you need to know what to expect. Make sure you understand the test format. Look at the free sample test pages to see the types of texts and questions. 5. Follow the instructions Listen to the supervisor carefully and follow the instructions on how to sit the test. When you open your test papers, read the instructions first before writing anything. Don’t lose points for careless mistakes because you haven’t read the question properly. 6. Stay aware of the time Every test room will have a clock on the wall. Stay aware of the time so you can complete all of your questions. Each part has a number of sections. Allow enough time for each section. Some questions have suggested time limits for you to follow. 7. Do your best If you feel yourself becoming worried, take some deep breaths to calm down. Work calmly, focus on the questions, don’t rush your answers and you will do your best! 9 1. Academic Reading sample The Academic Reading test is 60 minutes long. It has three sections with 40 questions to answer. Below is a sample of one section. (Note that candidates for the Academic module do a different Reading test to the General Training module.) Wind Power in the US Prompted by the oil crises of the 1970s, a wind-power industry flourished briefly in the United States. But then world oil prices dropped, and funding for research into renewable energy was cut. By the mid 1980s US interest in wind energy as a large-scale source of energy had almost disappeared. The development of wind power at this time suffered not only from badly designed equipment, but also from poor long-term planning, economic projections that were too optimistic and the difficulty of finding suitable locations for the wind turbines. Only now are technological advances beginning to offer hope that wind power will come to be accepted as a reliable and important source of electricity. There have been significant successes in California, in particular, where wind farms now have a capacity of 1500 megawatts, comparable to a large nuclear or fossil-fuelled power station, and produce 1.5 per cent of the state's electricity. Nevertheless, in the U.S., the image of wind power is still distorted by early failures. One of the most persistent criticisms is that wind power is not a significant energy resource. Researchers at the Battelle Northwest Laboratory, however, estimate that today wind turbine technology could supply 20 per cent of the electrical power the country needs. As a local resource, wind power has even greater potential. Minnesota's energy commission calculates that a wind farm on one of the state's south western ridges could supply almost all that state's electricity. North Dakota alone has enough sites suitable for wind farms to supply more than a third of all electricity consumed in the continental US. The prevailing notion that wind power is too costly results largely from early research which focused on turbines with huge blades that stood hundreds of metres tall. These machines were not designed for ease of production or maintenance, and they were enormously expensive. Because the major factors influencing the overall cost of wind power are the cost of the turbine and its supporting systems, including land, as well as operating and maintenance costs, it is hardly surprising that it was thought at the time that wind energy could not be supplied at a commercially competitive price. More recent developments such as those seen on California wind farms have dramatically changed the economic picture for wind energy. These systems, like installations in Hawaii and several European countries, have benefited from the economies of scale that come through standardised manufacturing and purchasing. The result has been a dramatic drop in capital costs: the installed cost of new wind turbines stood at $1000 per kilowatt in 1993, down from about $4000 per kilowatt in 1980, and continues to fall. Design improvements and more efficient maintenance programs for large numbers of turbines have reduced operating costs as well. The cost of electricity delivered by wind farm turbines has decreased from about 30 cents per kilowatt-hour to between 7 and 9 cents, which is generally less than the cost of electricity from conventional power stations. Reliability has also improved dramatically. The latest turbines run more than 95 per cent of the time, compared with around 60 per cent in the early 1980s. Another misconception is that improved designs are needed to make wind power feasible. Out of the numerous wind turbine designs proposed or built by inventors or developers, the propeller-blade type, which is based on detailed analytical models as well as extensive experimental data, has emerged as predominant among the more than 20,000 machines now in commercial operation world-wide. Like the gas-driven turbines that power jet aircraft, these are sophisticated pieces of rotating machinery. They are already highly efficient, and there is no reason to believe that other configurations will produce major benefits. Like other ways of generating electricity, wind power does not leave the environment entirely unharmed. There are many potential problems, ranging from interference with telecommunications to impact on wildlife and natural habitats. But these effects must be balanced against those associated with other forms of electricity generation. Conventional power stations impose hidden costs on society, such as the control of air pollution, the management of nuclear waste and global warming. As wind power has been ignored in the US over the past few years, expertise and commercial exploitation in the field have shifted to Europe. The European Union spends 10 times as much as the US government on research and development of wind energy. It estimates that at least 10 per cent of Europe's electrical power could 10 be supplied by land-based wind-turbines using current technology. Indeed, according to the American Wind Energy Association, an independent organisation based in Washington, Denmark, Britain, Spain and the Netherlands will each surpass the US in the generating capacity of wind turbines installed during the rest of the decade. Glossary fossil fuel: coal, oil and natural gas kilowatt: 1,000 watts; a watt is a unit of power kilowatt-hour: one kilowatt for a period of one hour megawatt: one million watts wind farm: a group of wind turbines in one location producing a large amount of electricity wind turbine: a machine which produces energy when the wind turns its blades Questions 1 - 5 Complete the summary below using words from the box. Write your answers in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet. NB There are more words or phrases than you will need to fill the gaps. You may use any word or phrase more than once. The failure during the late 1970s and early 1980s of an attempt to establish a widespread wind power industry in the United States resulted largely from the ...(1)... in oil prices during this period. The industry is now experiencing a steady ...(2)... due to improvements in technology and an increased awareness of the potential in the power of wind. The wind turbines that are now being made, based in part on the ...(3)... of wide-ranging research in Europe, are easier to manufacture and maintain than their predecessors. This has led wind-turbine makers to be able to standardise and thus minimise ...(4)... . There has been growing ...(5)... of the importance of wind power as an energy source. criticism success design costs decisions stability operating costs fall effects failure growth recognition scepticism decline results production costs Questions 6 - 10 Look at the following issues (Questions 6-10) and the list of implications below (A-C). Match each issue with the correct implication. Write the correct letter A-C in boxes 6-10 on your answer sheet. N.B. You may use any letter more than once. Implications A provides evidence against claims that electricity produced from wind power is relatively expensive. B supports claims that wind power is an important source of energy. C opposes the view that wind power technology requires further development. Example The current price of one wind-generated kilowatt... Answer A Issues 6. The recent installation of systems taking advantage of economies of scale ... 7. The potential of meeting one fifth of current US energy requirements by wind power ... 8. The level of acceptance of current wind turbine technology ... 9. A comparison of costs between conventional and wind power sources ... 10. The view of wind power in the European Union ... 11 2. Academic Writing sample The Academic Writing test is 60 minutes long. It has two writing tasks of 150 words and 250 words. Below are samples of Task 1 and Task 2. (Note that candidates for the Academic module do a different Writing test to the General Training module.) Writing Task 1 You should spend about 20 minutes on this task The graph below shows the different modes of transport used to travel to and from work in one European city in 1960, 1980 and 2000. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant. Write at least 150 words. Writing Task 2 You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic: It is inevitable that as technology develops so traditional cultures must be lost. Technology and tradition are incompatible - you cannot have both together. To what extent do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. Write at least 250 words. 12 3. General Training Reading sample The General Training Reading test is 60 minutes long. It has three sections with 40 questions to answer. Below is a sample of one section. (Note that candidates for the General Training module do a different Reading test to the Academic module.) Read the passage below and answer Questions 1-10. Daybreak Trips by Coach SPRING IS IN THE AIR! Welcome to our Spring Daybreak programme which continues the tradition of offering daytrips and tours at unbeatable value for money. All the excursions in this brochure will be operated by Premier Travel Services Limited or Millers Coaches; both companies are part of the CHL Group, which owns Cambridge's Cambus fleet. WE'RE PROUD OF OUR TRADITION Premier was established in 1936; the Company now offers the highest standards of coach travel in today's competitive operating environment. Millers has an enviable reputation stretching back over the past 20 years, offering value for money coach services at realistic prices. We've travelled a long way since our early days of pre-war seaside trips. Now our fleet of 50 modern coaches (few are more than five years old) operate throughout Britain and Europe but we're pleased to maintain the high standards of quality and service that were the trademark of our founders nearly sixty years ago. EXCLUSIVE FEATURES All Daybreak fares (unless specifically stated otherwise) include admission charges to the attractions, shows and exhibits we visit. Many full day scenic tours are accompanied by a fully trained English Tourist Board 'Blue Badge' guide or local experienced driver/guide. Some Daybreaks include lunch or afternoon tea. Compare our admission inclusive fares and see how much you save. The cheapest is not necessarily the best and value for money is guaranteed with Daybreaks. If you compare our bargain Daybreak fares beware - most of our competitors do not offer an all inclusive fare. SEAT RESERVATIONS We value the freedom of choice, so you can choose your seat when you book. The seat reservation is guaranteed and remains yours at all times when aboard the coach. NO SMOKING COMFORT With the comfort of our passengers in mind, coaches on all our Daybreaks are no smoking throughout. In the interests of fellow passengers' comfort, we kindly ask that smokers observe our 'no smoking' policy. On scenic tours and longer journeys, ample refreshment stops are provided when, of course, smoking is permitted. YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED Do I need to book? Booking in advance is strongly recommended as all Daybreak tours are subject to demand. Subject to availability, stand-by tickets can be purchased from the driver. What time does the coach leave? 13 The coach departs from Cambridge Drummer Street (Bay 12) at the time shown. There are many additional joining points indicated by departure codes in the brochure. If you are joining at one of our less popular joining points, you will be advised of your pick up time (normally by telephone) not less than 48 hours before departure. In this way, we can minimise the length of pick-up routes and reduce journey times for the majority of passengers. What time do we get back? An approximate return time is shown for each excursion. The times shown serve as a guide, but road conditions can sometimes cause delay. If your arrival will be later than advertised, your driver will try to allow for a telephone call during the return journey. Where can I board the coach? All the Daybreaks in the brochure leave from Cambridge Drummer Street (Bay 12) at the time shown. Many Daybreaks offer additional pick-ups for pre-booked passengers within Cambridge and the surrounding area. This facility must be requested at the time of booking. Questions 1-10 Do the following statements agree with the information given in the passage above? In boxes 1-10 on your answer sheet write TRUE if the statement agrees with the information FALSE if the statement contradicts the information NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this 1. Millers Coaches owns Cambridge's Cambus fleet. 2. Premier is an older company than Millers. 3. Most of the Daybreak coaches are less than 5 years old. 4. Daybreak fares are more expensive than most of their competitors. 5. Soft drinks and refreshments are served on most longer journeys. 6. Smoking is permitted at the rear of the coach on longer journeys. 7. Tickets must be bought in advance from an authorised Daybreak agent. 8. Tickets and seats can be reserved by phoning the Daybreak Hotline. 9. Daybreak passengers must join their coach at Cambridge Drummer Street. 10. Daybreak cannot guarantee return times. 14 4. General Training Writing sample The General Training Writing test is 60 minutes long. It has two writing tasks of 150 words and 250 words. Below are samples of Task 1 and Task 2. (Note that candidates for the General Training module do a different Writing test to the Academic module.) Writing Task 1 You should spend about 20 minutes on this task. You rent a house through an agency. The heating system has stopped working. You phoned the agency a week ago but it has still not been repaired. Write a letter to the agency. In your letter 1. introduce yourself 2. explain the situation 3. say what action you would like the agency to take Write at least 150 words. You do NOT need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows: Dear......................., Writing Task 2 You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic: Some businesses now say that no one can smoke cigarettes in any of their offices. Some governments have banned smoking in all public places. This is a good idea but it takes away some of our freedom. Do you agree or disagree? Write at least 250 words. Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. 15 5. Speaking sample In the Speaking test, you have a conversation with a certified Examiner. It is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get. The test is 11 to 14 minutes long with three parts. In Part 1, you answer questions about yourself and your family. In Part 2, you speak about a topic. In Part 3, you have a longer discussion on the topic. Below is a sample of Part 2 – speaking on a topic. Speaking, Part 2 sample Describe a teacher who has greatly influenced you in your education. You should say: 1. where you met them 2. what subject they taught 3. what was special about them 4. explain why this person influenced you so much. You will have to talk about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes if you wish. 16 1. Getting my results You’ll receive your results just 13 days after the test. All test centres post your Test Report Form to you. Some centres also send SMS alerts or offer a secure Online Results Service. You can have copies of your Test Report Form automatically sent to five institutions free of charge. This helps streamline your application processes. Additional copies will incur a small administration charge. Your Test Report Form is a valuable document and you should keep it safe and secure because it cannot be replaced. It includes: your score, on a Band Scale from 1 to 9, for each module of the test your Overall Band Score, on a scale from 1 to 9 whether you have completed the Academic or General Training module your candidate photo and details of your nationality, first language and date of birth. Test Report Forms are valid for two years. They have inbuilt security measures and cannot be copied. Receiving institutions can also access a database to double-check your results. 2. My test score There is no pass or fail in IELTS. Candidates are graded on their performance in the test, using scores from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Your results from the four parts then produce an Overall Band Score. This unique 9-band system measures scores in a consistent manner – wherever and whenever the test is taken. It is internationally recognised and understood, giving you a reliable international currency. The IELTS 9-band scale Each band corresponds to a level of English competence. All parts of the test and the Overall Band Score can be reported in whole and half bands, eg 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0. Band 9: Expert user: has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding. Band 8: Very good user: has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well. Band 7: Good user: has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning. Band 6: Competent user: has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations. 17 Band 5: Modest user: has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field. Band 4: Limited user: basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language. Band 3: Extremely limited user: conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur. Band 2: Intermittent user: no real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English. Band 1: Non-user: essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words. Band 0: Did not attempt the test: No assessable information provided.
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