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What are the top IELTS FAQs among test takers in Japan?

FAQs Answers


IELTS scores can only be used for studying in the UK


IELTS, accepted by 11,000 organisations in 140 countries including the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc., is the world’s most recognised English language proficiency test. Not only is it accepted in the UK, it is also accepted in many other English-speaking countries and for purposes of study, work and migration. IELTS is the ideal choice for a multi-destination application.



Most US institutions only accept TOEFL scores.


This is not true. Over 3,000 US universities, including all Ivy League institutions, recognise IELTS. 95% and 99% of the top 200 US universities accept IELTS as part of their undergraduate and postgraduate programme application respectively.^ In fact, 83% of admissions officers in the US recommend IELTS as reliable evidence of English language proficiency.*

^Source: 2015 US News & World Report Top 200 ranking and individual universities' websites
*Source: 2016 US Admissions Officers Online Survey



Taking a computer-based test is better as I will lose marks for poor handwriting.


As long as your answer is legible, you won't lose marks for your handwriting. Different students have different preferences. Some students prefer to handwrite their answers as pen and paper is the familiar format they use in school exams. Some students who are used to doing work on a computer may prefer a computer-based test as they are more familiar with PC.



It is more difficult to get a higher score in IELTS than in TOEFL.


Although both are English proficiency tests, they are two different tests and cannot be compared side by side. IELTS is the world's most popular English test for good reasons. It is a communicative test that combines practical and academic use of English; the face-to-face speaking test provides an accurate assessment of the test taker’s English ability; and our quiet test environment helps test takers perform well.



Having flexibility over which sections to take first is better than sitting through the whole test in a fixed format.


In the IELTS test, all test takers proceed with the same section at the same time, which results in a quiet test environment. In tests where test takers have the flexibility to proceed with different sections at different times, the test environment will necessarily be noisier as some students might be doing a speaking test while others might start with the listening section.



IELTS is a UK test, therefore it uses British English while TOEFL uses American English and a mix of accents.


IELTS is an international test that accepts all standard English varieties – British, American, Australian, Canadian and more. A range of native-speaker English accents is used in the Listening and Speaking test.

If you prepare well for the Listening section, it will put you in a better position when you start your study or work abroad as you will be able to communicate with people from different parts of the world more easily.

In the Speaking test, test takers can speak in whatever accents they feel comfortable with. Examiners award a band score for each of the four criterion areas: Fluency and Coherence, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy and Pronunciation.

Try out our free online practice material, ‘Road to IELTS’ to familiarise yourself with some of the different accents used in the test.



For the speaking test, I will perform worse facing an examiner than talking to a computer.


Past test takers would disagree. They think that it is more natural talking face to face with someone than talking to a computer. If you missed the question, you can clarify it with the examiner and your speech will flow more naturally when you are interacting with someone rather than speaking to a computer.



It is easier to take IELTS in countries where the average test-taker scores are lower.


Definitely not. IELTS benefits from a unique partnership of three international organisations. Whilst British Council is one of the IELTS partners that manages the test delivery and other centre-related aspects, Cambridge Assessment is involved in research, test development and paper despatch to all IELTS centres. Since the paper production and despatch are controlled by Cambridge Assessment, the standard of the test is the same regardless of the location you choose to sit for your test. It also brings consistency in the approach we undertake in assessing test takers on their language skills.



For the writing test, I will lose marks if I write more than the word limit.


This is not true. The reason why you are given a word limit is to help you better manage your time so you do not spend all your time on one task and end up having insufficient time to attempt the second task. You will not lose marks for going over the word limit. 



I will get a lower score with American spelling in the IELTS test.



As long as the spelling is correct, both American spelling and UK spelling are accepted.