IELTS for teachers

Learn more about IELTS, access resources to help you with test preparation and find out about professional development opportunities through examining and research.

IELTS teachers have an important role to play in getting their students ready for the test. If your students score highly, it could greatly improve their chances of being able to work, live or study abroad.Over three million test takers take IELTS every year, with teachers playing an integral role in the preparation stage.

We are keen to support IELTS teachers, and have put together the following support materials. If you are considering becoming a teacher of IELTS, you will also find information about the test.

IELTS support materials

Test overview

IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). IELTS is known and respected by teachers of English around the world. 

The test measures the language proficiency of those who want to work or study in countries where English is the native language spoken. This includes the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. IELTS is available at more than 1,600 locations worldwide.

There are two IELTS tests a test taker can choose from. This includes IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Both test types assess the test taker’s ability in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English. Find out more about what's in the test.

IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council; IDP IELTS; and Cambridge University Press & Assessment. As internationally focused organisations, we are committed to academic excellence and cultural understanding.

Why teach IELTS?

If somebody wants to migrate, work or study in an English-speaking country, then they must be able to demonstrate a high level of English proficiency. It is essential for job opportunities as well as integration into the community. 

IELTS is the most popular test for those looking to migrate to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK with over three million IELTS tests taken each year.

In addition, IELTS is recognised by more than 11,000 employers, universities, schools and immigration bodies, making it very globally accepted.

IELTS test scores

IELTS results are scored on a scale of 1-9. The score that your students need to achieve will vary depending on the individual institution requirements.

For more information, visit ‘who accepts IELTS scores?’, which will tell you if the institution accepts IELTS and what score they require.

Band score Skill level Description
9 Expert user The test taker has fully operational command of the language. Their use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.
8 Very good user The test taker has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. They may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.
7 Good user The test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. They generally handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
6 Competent user The test taker has an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. They can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 Modest user The test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes. They should be able to handle basic communication in their own field.
4 Limited user The test taker's basic competence is limited to familiar situations. They frequently show problems in understanding and expression. They are not able to use complex language.
3 Extremely limited user The test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
2 Intermittent user The test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1 Non-user The test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
0 Did not attempt the test The test taker did not answer the questions.

Teaching tips

To be considered for the IELTS Morgan Terry Memorial IATEFL Scholarship applicants are required to submit a description of educational material they have created and used to prepare prospective IELTS test takers for taking the test. This inspired us to film our own activities for the IELTS classroom. We hope you find them useful and they may even inspire you to apply for the 2022 IATEFL scholarship.

Teaching tips

Download our Teaching Tips postcard

Teacher development

There are many professional development opportunities for teachers through IELTS examining or research.

Additional support material for IELTS teachers

IELTS teachers can find plenty of support materials on our website, blog and YouTube channel. We’ve compiled helpful exercises and advice to ensure you have everything you need to be able to teach IELTS to your students with confidence. 
Be sure to also follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn where we will post the latest news and advice to stay up to date as an IELTS teacher.

Guide for teachers

The Guide for teachers provides further information about the test and offers detailed descriptions of test scores. It includes tips from teachers on how to prepare students for IELTS.