International English Language Testing System

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

International English Language Testing System

It’s not so difficult for most South Africans






Maria Venter – South Africans to Oz

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is accepted as evidence of English language proficiency for study, work and migration in Australia.

To gain an Australian visa, you will need to demonstrate your English abilities to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

The test measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency, from non-user (band score 1) through to expert (band score 9).

IELTS is available in two test versions

The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking environment. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training.

The IELTS General Training test is for those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs.

  • It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.
  • The test measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context and the tasks and texts reflect both workplace and social situations.
  • It is usually required for vocational training, for example, in the construction, hospitality and leisure, and tourism industries.

As English is the main language of communication in Australia, evidence of acceptable English language skills is a prerequisite for immigration applicants and international graduates seeking professional registration.

Required proficiency levels vary between organisations, professions and even states.

** It is up to individual professional registration bodies to determine the IELTS band score and version of the test (Academic or General Training) they require.**

Which industries ask for IELTS?

  • Registration bodies representing the healthcare professions, such as nursing, medicine and pharmacy, where English language competence is of critical importance
  • Other professional bodies from sectors such as accounting, engineering, teaching, law and veterinary practice
  • A wide range of employers from sectors such as finance, government, construction, aviation and tourism.

To register as a Primary teacher in Australia

To register as a Primary teacher in Australia in 2006 I was required to complete the Academic version of the test.

Due to the lengthy waiting list to sit the test at that time (it appears to have improved since then) I applied to complete it while on holiday in New Zealand where the waiting time was a lot shorter.

The Academic Test is accepted by BOSTES (Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW) as an approved English language proficiency test.

Results needed for teaching accreditation

An average band score of 7.5 across all four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing, with no score below 7.0 in any of the four skill areas and a score of no less than 8.0 in speaking and listening.

As a first language English speaking South African this was not difficult to achieve with little to no preparation at all.

If you are a second language English speaker you may want to practice a bit using the tests I have mentioned at the end of this article.

But because English is widely spoken in SA and a compulsory subject at all schools, there are usually no issues in passing either of these tests. So don’t stress!

English language test system

Banksias are a vital part of the food chain in the Australian bush.

Test format

  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test assesses your abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking – in a total test time of 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Listening and Speaking are the same for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training tests, but the subject matter of the Reading and Writing components differs depending on which test you take.
  • The Listening, Reading and Writing components of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them. The Speaking component, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests.
  • Your test centre will advise.

To read more on the format of the tests go to:

To register for a test go to:

Cost of the test: $330

IELTS is now available at more than 1,100 locations worldwide

Getting your results

Your Test Report Form will be available 13 days after you complete the test. You can arrange for your test centre to post this to you, or you can pick it up in person.

Re-sitting the test

If you don’t get the result you want, you can register for another International English Language Testing System test as soon as you feel ready to do so.

Before applying for another test, take a moment to consider your options. Your score is unlikely to increase unless you make a significant effort to improve your English.

A useful website with test locations and dates available, plus free practice International English Language Testing System tests to complete online:

IELTS Online

Succeed in the IELTS test!

With detailed lessons, tips, full practice tests and answers, IELTS Online has everything you need to prepare for the IELTS test. These courses have been created by experienced English language course developers and IELTS test tutors and are highly successful in helping students succeed in the IELTS test.

Why Choose IELTS Online

  • 100% online!
  • Proven systems and techniques that really work
  • High student satisfaction rate
  • Flash audio and transcripts
  • Practice tests under simulated exam conditions
  • Live chat support

Your enrolment includes

  • Interactive course of instruction covering all IELTS modules
  • Practice tests in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking
  • Study tools, web broadcasts & other resources
  • Native English speakers in all lessons and practice labs

IELTS Online courses are suitable for people with at least an intermediate level of English (approximately IELTS Band 5 or TOEFL 520 equivalent).

Click on the link below for information on all the courses available

Enrol Here


So that’s it in a nutshell. My cousin, who is a ships captain, did his test last month (March 2017) and passed without any problems. He is applying via the skillselect 189 visa and is in the final stage of getting his permanent residency.


Bare in  mind that IELTS isn’t for everybody though, so if you are struggling with this test have a look at one of the other options below.  From comments I have read, some people have had better results with Pearson PTE.

We will do some research and write an article soon about the Pearson PTE. According to my MARA migration agent, below is a  list of acceptable English-language tests right now:

Also read these South Africans to Oz posts about:-

Immigrating to Oz easier in 2017

5 Australian Permanent Resident Entitlements

All about 457 Visas

Read about the latest Visa News 2017 here

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