IELTS registration is an important step in a student’s journey to study abroad. The International English Language Testing System or IELTS is a crucial exam for study abroad aspirants as it provides evidence of their English proficiency to foreign universities. Students can use their IELTS Score for admissions to universities in the UK, the US, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many more countries where courses are offered in English. It is always advisable for candidates to prepare for IELTS well in advance to ensure they have their scores in time for the application period.
IELTS registration can be done anytime throughout the year. The test is conducted frequently with up to 48 assigned dates in a year for the pen-and-paper based IELTS. The frequency of the computer-delivered IELTS is even higher, with the exam being conducted almost daily at select test centres in India.
Before your IELTS registration, however, you need to make a few decisions about the version of the IELTS you wish to take, the format in which you wish to take the test, and which organisation you wish to take the IELTS with.
IELTS Registration: Academic or General Training?
There are two types of IELTS tests: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Before your IELTS registration, you must choose which version you need to take. This shall depend upon your purpose for taking the language test.
IELTS Academic version is for students who plan on studying abroad for higher education, and for professionals seeking registration in an English-speaking country.
IELTS General Training, on the other hand, measures a candidate’s English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context, and is used by those planning to study in high school or a vocational training program in an English-speaking country. It is also used for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.
The formats of both the tests are similar. In fact, the content for Listening and Speaking sections are common to both, while the Reading and Writing sections are the only parts that differ.
It is strongly recommended that before IELTS registration, a candidate checks with the organisations they wish to apply to, and figure out which version of the test they need to take.
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IELTS ACADEMIC v IELTS GENERAL TRAINING
|Purpose of taking the test||Test you should take|
|Study Abroad (Undergraduate or Postgraduate level)||IELTS Academic|
|Join a Professional Organisation||IELTS Academic|
|Train or Study at below degree level||IELTS General Training|
|Work or undertake work-related training||IELTS General Training|
|Emigrate to an English-speaking Country||IELTS General Training|
IELTS Registration: Pen-and-Paper or Computer?
Test takers also need to choose the format for their test – paper-based, or computer-delivered – before IELTS registration.
The paper-based IELTS is the traditional test format where test takers are required to write their answers using a pen or HB pencil. In the computer-delivered format, on the other hand, the Reading, Listening and Writing sections of the test are assessed on a computer. The questions for each section are presented on the screen and the test takers then submit their answers using a keyboard and mouse.
There is no difference to the Speaking section which is carried out face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner in both the paper-based and computer-delivered formats.
Unlike the choice of the test version, the option of the format isn’t as crucial since the content for the test is exactly the same for both the formats and there is no difference in the level of difficulty either. Test takers are generally advised to choose the format they are most comfortable with.
There are two distinct advantages to the computer-delivered format. While candidates receive their score within 5-7 days after appearing for the computer-delivered IELTS test, in case of the paper-based test, results usually take a minimum of 13 days. Additionally, the computer-delivered test is held more frequently than the paper-based version. Thus, in case you have a shorter time window in which to send your IELTS scores, it may be advisable to take the computer-delivered version. You do need to remember, however, that the computer-delivered version is only offered in select major centres in India.
|Paper-based IELTS||Computer-delivered IELTS|
|Listening Section||Pen and Paper||On a Computer|
|Reading Section||Pen and Paper||On a Computer|
|Writing Section||Pen and Paper||On a Computer|
|Results||13 days||5-7 days|
|Test Availability||Up to 48 days per year||Up to 5 days a week|
IELTS Registration: IDP v British Council
Another decision to be made before going ahead with your IELTS registration is to choose the organisation you wish to take your IELTS with. The IELTS exam is co-owned and jointly managed by the British Council, IDP Australia, and Cambridge English Language Assessment. In India, both the British Council and IDP conduct the exam for test takers. Test takers have the option of completing their IELTS registration with either IDP or British Council.
It is important to note here that the content of the IELTS exam is exactly the same whether you choose to take it with the British Council, or with IDP. Neither of the two organisations, in fact, write the test themselves. While these two co-owners of IELTS conduct the exam in India, the test is prepared by the third co-owner, Cambridge English Language Assessment. Hence, the decision to go with either organisation has minimal consequences on your test results. Thus, your choice should largely be dependent on the test centre that is nearest and most convenient for you, as well as the available test date.
IELTS Registration for British Council
To complete your IELTS registration online with the British Council, follow the below steps:
STEP 2: Choose the version – IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training.
STEP 3: Choose your test centre and date.
STEP 4: Fill in your details in the registration form.
STEP 5: Upload a copy of your passport.
STEP 6: Pay the registration fee.
Note: Candidates also have the option to complete their IELTS Registration offline with the British Council. For offline registration, candidates need to download the application form, fill in their details, make the payment and send the form along with payment confirmation to the British Council centre by post/courier.
IELTS Registration for IDP
To complete your IELTS registration online with IDP, follow the below steps:
STEP 1: Go to the online IELTS registration page for IDP.
STEP 2: Select your test format, version and city.
STEP 3: Select an available test date and time slot.
STEP 4: Fill in the registration form with your details.
STEP 5: Upload a copy of your passport.
STEP 6: Pay the registration fee.
IELTS Registration: Exam Fees
From April 2019, IELTS fees have been increased from INR 12650 to INR 13250. The fees are the same whether you complete your IELTS registration with IDP or with the British Council. There is no difference in the fees for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training either, or in choosing the pen-and-paper-based or the computer-delivered formats.
IELTS Registration: Test Centres
IELTS exam can be taken at all the major locations in India. The British Council and IDP both offer the pen-and-paper-based IELTS at 50 locations across India. In addition, the British Council also offers the computer-delivered IELTS at New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. IDP offers the computer-delivered format at Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Bhatinda, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Mumbai, New Delhi, Noida, Pune and Thane.
Click here to read about how to prepare for IELTS.