IELTS

Why IELTS?

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the world’s most popular English language test. More than two million IELTS tests are taken each year.

Taking IELTS opens doors – it can help you live, study and work around the world. More than 8,000 organisations worldwide accept IELTS, including government, academic and employment institutions. In fact, IELTS is the only English language test accepted for immigration purposes by all countries that require one. 

The IELTS test is designed to help you use English in your new life abroad. In less than three hours, it will assess all of your English skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

The most effective way of testing your English conversation skills is face-to-face. IELTS is the most widely accepted English language test with a one-on-one speaking test to assess your English language communication skills. 

Designed by experts in English language assessment and trusted around the world, you can be sure that IELTS will give a fair and consistent assessment of your English skills.   

WHY TAKE IELTS WITH THE BRITISH COUNCIL?

The British Council has more than 75 years’ experience teaching and testing English. We have helped people in more than 130 countries gain English language qualifications that help them make the most of their chances in life. That’s a lot of experience, and it means that if you take an English language test with us, you can be confident that you’ll be well looked after.

Here are just a few reasons why millions of people have taken IELTS with the British Council:  

• Expert support: from videos and books to online interactive courses, you have access to the best preparation materials to help you do well in your test

Free resources: Road to IELTS is the British Council’s popular online preparation course. When you register for an IELTS test with us you also get access to 30 hours of free training.

• Convenient dates and location: We run IELTS tests in South Africa up to two times a month and offer the exam in a convenient location for you.

• Easy booking: You can book your IELTS test online and take advantage of flexible payment options.

• Fast results: We guarantee you will be able to see your results online within just 13 days of the date you take your test.

• Special arrangements: your English language ability will be assessed objectively, regardless of any disability or special needs that you may have. Find out more about how we can facilitate your special arrangements. Please note, you will need a medical certificate issued within the last two years at the time of registration.

Register

You can register for IELTS quickly and easily through our Online Registration Service.

To register, simply follow the steps below:

1 READ THE INFORMATION FOR CANDIDATES

Download and read the Information for Candidates (PDF, 933 kb) which contains important information about the test format, the question types and the test results.

Please note that IELTS is not recommended for candidates under the age of 16.

2 DECIDE WHICH VERSION OF THE TEST IS RIGHT FOR YOU

There are two versions of the IELTS test:

IELTS Academic
IELTS General Training

 Read our simple guide to help you decide which version of the test is right for you. 

3 CHECK THE IELTS TEST DATES 

You can access the IELTS test dates for 2014 on our IELTS dates and fees page.

There are a limited number of places for all our IELTS test sessions. To make sure you get a place, we recommend that you register two months before your chosen test date. Of course, places may be available after this date. You can use our Online Registration System to find up-to-date information about test dates and availability.

Please note: Your Listening, Reading and Writing test will be completed on the same day. Your Speaking test may be offered on the same day, or up to a week before or after your main test day. You will receive notification in advance if your Speaking test is on a different day to your main test day.

4. REGISTER ONLINE

Use our Online Registration System to book your place on the test. IELTS Tests are available in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, East London and Port Elizabeth. 

Please ensure you are able to provide the documents in step 5 and are able to pay using one of the payment methods in step 6. 

5. PREPARE AND SEND YOUR DOCUMENTS  

Please make sure you send us ALL of the following documents when you register for your test:

  • A photocopy of your identification document (your passport or country Identity Book)
  • Proof of payment for your chosen city

You can also upload these documents directly when you register online, you do NOT need to send us the documents if you uploaded them online.

6 CHOOSE YOUR PAYMENT OPTIONS

The cost of sitting the IELTS test depends on your chosen city:

Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban  R2400
Port Elizabeth  R3000

You can pay for your test in one of the following ways:

1. Online when you apply for your test

2. Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT)

Bank: Standard Chartered Bank
Account name: British Council
Account number: 001-883526-00
Branch: Johannesburg Branch
Branch code: 730020
SWIFT address: SCBLZAJJ
Type: Current Account

3.Cash Deposits

Bank: Nedbank
Account name: SCB – BRITISH COUNCIL
Account number: 145-41169-19
Branch name: Corporate Client Services JHB
Branch code: 145405

4. Credit Card

Complete a credit card payment form.

Send your proof of payment or credit card form to IELTS.admin@britishcouncil.org.za or fax it to +27 (0)86 570 0422. Please keep a copy as proof of payment.

7.  COMPLETE YOUR REGISTRATION

If you are paying online there is no need to visit the bank, or send any documents.

If you paid through a bank please submit the following documents to your local British Council office:

  • Copy of your passport or Identity Book
  • Proof of payment

We need to receive all documents within five working days of your online registration. Unfortunately, if we do not receive documents within five working days your application will be cancelled. 

We cannot process incomplete applications, so please make sure you have sent us all the necessary information.

Copies of your results

If you would like your results to be sent to universities or other educational institutions, please enter the relevant addresses in the appropriate fields on the online registration form. We can issue a maximum of five copies per student. 

8. AFTER YOU REGISTER

After registering you will receive an automatic email with your access codes to the free online course: Road to IELTS

We will send you a confirmation email one week before the test date giving you the start time of your test and the venue address.

For more information please contact our Exams Services

9. SHOULD YOU NEED TO CANCEL OR CHANGE A TEST DATE 

If you need to cancel or transfer your test date, you can do so 5 weeks prior to your test date. All requests for refunds or transfers require supporting documentation and an administration fee is charged in some cases.

Please fill out the Refund and Transfer Request Form and send back to us. Alternatively, contact us for more information.

Prepare

If you book your IELTS test with the British Council you can take advantage of our exclusive access to a wide range of learning materials – all designed to help you get the best possible score in your IELTS test. 

1. ROAD TO IELTS COURSE – 30 HOURS OF FREE ONLINE STUDY

Road to IELTS is a popular online self-study resource for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking practice. Written by the British Council for its IELTS students, Road to IELTS includes: 

• practice materials

• timed tests

• tutorials

• online scoring

• self-assessment tools so that you can measure your progress.

You can try our Road to IELTS resources with 10 hours of free study right now.

When you register for an IELTS test with us you’ll be free to enjoy a further 20 hours of access to the learning materials. 

2. FURTHER BRITISH COUNCIL ONLINE PREPARATION MATERIALS

We also have a selection of online preparation materials for your Listening and Speaking tests.

PREPARE FOR THE IELTS LISTENING TEST

• Practice your listening now with these online activities which include podcasts, stories and poems

• Practise a listening test with these IELTS mock listening papers

• Download listening materials from the British Council’s iTunes University (you will need iTunes to access this content)

PREPARE FOR THE IELTS SPEAKING TEST

• Practice your speaking with this series of online videos

• Practice your IELTS interview skills with these online tutorials

3. LEARNENGLISH WEBSITE

We have a website dedicated to learning the English language. It’s called LearnEnglish and it has a number of very useful English learning resources, such as:

• Videos

• Podcasts

• Grammar and vocabulary tutorials

• Business/ work resources and a magazine

• Games

• IELTS tips

• Community networking opportunities

You’ll find that learning materials on the site really support your preparation for your IELTS test, and they’ll give you more confidence when it comes to test day.

4. ORDER THE OFFICIAL IELTS PRACTICE MATERIAL

You can also order the Official IELTS Practice Material from us. This 90 page book contains sample tests, mark schemes, information on the format of the test as well as a DVD with sample listening and speaking tests.

Results

We understand that getting your results is important to you. We know you want them quickly, but it is equally important that we give you the score that correctly reflects your performance. 

You can expect your IELTS result to be available 13 calendar days after your test.

IELTS RESULTS ONLINE AND BY OFFICE PICK UP

You’ll be able to preview your results online from 12.00, 13 days after the main test day.

You can pick up your IELTS Test Report Form (your Certificate) from our Johannesburg office on the 13th day after the date of the main test day. 

You will not be able to obtain your results over the phone, by email or by fax. For more information please contact us

TEST REPORT FORMS (TRFS)

Your personal Test Report Form

You will receive one copy of the Test Report Form. Unfortunately, replacements cannot be issued if you lose it. 

However, for a period of two years you can apply (to the centre where you took the test) for verified photocopies of the Test Report Form.

TEST REPORT FORMS FOR INSTITUTIONS

We can also arrange for additional original copies (up to a maximum of five) to be posted to receiving institutions (e.g. universities, immigration officers, etc.). If you would like us to do this, please include the relevant addresses when you register. 

We can also arrange for additional original copies to be posted to receiving institutions (e.g. universities, immigration officers, etc.), whether in-country or abroad, but you will need to cover the DHL costs. If you need more copies of your TRF, please fill out the 'Additional TRF Form' in the downloads section.

If the addresses of the institutions were entered incorrectly when you registered you can change them. Please get in touch with our Exams Services team to do this.

Institutions need original copies of your Test Report Form. Photocopies of your Test Report Form will not be accepted.

Institutions may be able to view candidates’ scores through the IELTS Test Report Form (TRF) Verification Service. To do this they will need your Test Report Form number which can be found in the bottom right corner of your Test Report Form.

THE VALIDITY PERIOD OF YOUR TEST REPORT FORM

Institutions will not usually accept a Test Report Form that is more than two years old. After this time you will need to provide them with evidence that you have maintained or improved your English since taking the test. 

For Test Report Forms issued after January 2014 the validity is extended to three years.

UNDERSTAND YOUR IELTS SCORES

IELTS provides results for all levels of English: there is no such thing as a pass or fail. You will be given a score from zero to nine for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking

Find out more about how to understand your IELTS scores and the nine-band system.

Find out how IELTS scores relate to the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

HOW TO QUERY YOUR SCORE

It is unusual for there to be a mistake in the marking. However, if you believe a mistake has occurred you can apply to our Enquiry on Results Service to have your test re-marked. This must be done within six weeks of the test date. You can choose which sections of the test you want to have re-marked. 

There is a fee for the Enquiry on Results service, which will be refunded should your overall score change as a result of the re-marking. The Enquiry on Results Service can take up to eight weeks to complete. Please contact us for further information about how the service works.

CAN I RE-TAKE THE TEST?

You can take the test as many times as you wish. However, please note that to significantly improve your score it is necessary to undertake further study. IELTS research indicates that scores are unlikely to improve without further English language tuition.