The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is widely accepted and is one of the most popular language proficiency tests for English.

Candidates must opt for IELTS if they aim to pursue higher education abroad or gain professional experience. It essentially tests four skills: reading, listening, writing and speaking.

There are two types of IELTS: Academic and General. Depending on one’s purpose of moving abroad, a candidate can choose either of the two outlined above. The total duration of IELTS is 2 hours and 45 minutes. Furthermore, candidates can either pay online or in offline mode.

Besides, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IELTS can also be taken at home for those countries where the test centres are closed. It tests these skills underlined above. One must also know the IELTS validity to help in the application process.

Validity of IELTS Exam

IELTS is valid for two years from when a candidate receives their Test Report Form. Those who are dissatisfied with their marks can apply for a re-test. Besides, one’s IELTS certificate will be regarded as invalid if it crosses the time period. For instance, if one receives the IELTS Test Report Form on 1st January 2017, it will be valid till 31st Dec. 2019.

However, one cannot opt for individual sections of IELTS as it is not permitted. Therefore, if they are unhappy with the marks of one section, candidates can retake IELTS as a whole.

Generally, its results come 13 days after the test if it is paper-based. On the other hand, candidates tend to receive the results 3-5 days after it if it is computer-delivered.

To access their IELTS score, candidates must submit their Identification Numbers. This is the number that candidates will receive after completion of their registration. They must also state their date of birth to check IELTS results on the website.

Countries like Canada and Australia have extended the validity for three years for Skilled Migration Applications. Other countries such as the UK, USA, and New Zealand have followed two years as its validity period.

Cancellation and Refund for IELTS

One can cancel their IELTS exam by notifying the exam centre of the same. However, to withdraw, one must follow the below-mentioned steps:

Step 1: Navigate to the Test Taker Portal

Step 2: Press on the tab, ‘Date of Exam and Location’

Step 3: Press, ‘I want to alter my booking’

Step 4: Lastly, click on the tab, ‘I want to request cancellation’

One must cancel the IELTS exam before 14 days to receive 75% of their refund. Nevertheless, one will not receive any refund if they cancel it three days before the exam.

In exceptional circumstances, one can notify the test centres stating their reasons. The test centre should receive supporting evidence within five days from when IELTS was scheduled. If it gets approval, one can get a refund of 25%. These circumstances may be:

  • A medical condition that made it challenging to attend IELTS
  • Trauma, grief or any other hardship
  • Military service for the country

However, if the test centre cancels IELTS, one will receive a full refund.

Moreover, the test centre can transfer the exam date in unwarranted circumstances. Furthermore, if one did not receive IELTS scores as expected, one can apply for Enquiry on Results. One has the discretion as to which section one wants to be remarked. Then, a request must be sent to the Test Centre.

Transferring IELTS Test Date

When one wishes to transfer the test on a new date, one must keep the following pointers in mind:

  • Changing the date 14 days before the IELTS exam
  • This chosen test date is three months away from the original exam date. This will be considered then as a cancellation

One must carry these following documents:

  • Passport ID
  • Must submit a document in writing and stating the reasons           
  • Fee receipt
  • Bank details if deposited or paid through demand draft
  • Supporting documents

Preparation Tips for IELTS

Candidates to achieve a high band score must follow these tips diligently. These are underlined below for easier understanding:

  • Learn new words

When one learns new words, one must note them down and refer them to the dictionary to understand their meaning. This practice will help in the expansion of vocabulary.

  • Expand your vocabulary

It is essential to widen one’s vocabulary to score well in the marking criteria and achieve a high band score. One can do so by reading books, newspapers, watching YouTube videos etc.

  • Practice is the key to success

To understand the marking structure and exam format, one must keep practising mock tests and follow sample papers. This will help crack IELTS with ease. One must design a self-study plan allotting different times to each section. This must be maintained, and one must time themselves.

  • Check for grammar and spellings

Candidates must be careful of grammar and spelling as any mistake can lose marks

  • Read the questions carefully

Candidates must read the question carefully as wrong interpretation can hamper marks. For example, in the Reading section, one will be asked to answer in three words, while other texts may require one to find answers from the test.

  • Gather the Resources

Candidates must gather the study material such as sample papers and preparatory books. This will help in preparing for the exam. They can follow it to understand the answer the examiner demands from the test-takers.

  • Be attentive to the word limit

One must be attentive to the stipulated word count for IELTS. For instance, for writing task 1, candidates must not write below the word count. However, experts generally recommend writing 20-30 words more than the allotted count.

  • Speak slowly but do not take too many pauses

Candidates must speak slowly and accurately for the speaking section. They must not take many pauses, and their pronunciation must be clear.

As outlined above, the IELTS validity is for two years. Those candidates who wish to register for it must opt for the exam keeping in mind the timeline of the university admissions. They must submit their Test Report Form and other documents required for the admission procedure.