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IELTS Life Skills FAQs

What is IELTS Life Skills? What is it for?

IELTS Life Skills is a new English language test offered by the three IELTS Test Partners – British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

IELTS Life Skills is a test of Speaking and Listening, available at CEFR Levels A1, A2 and B2. It is designed to meet the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration for certain visa categories and other immigration purposes.

Which IELTS Life Skills test do I need?

Are you applying to UK Visas and Immigration for a ‘family of a settled person’ visa?
IELTS Life Skills A1 is the test for you.

Are you applying to UK Visas and Immigration for a 'family of a settled person' extension visa?
IELTS Life Skills A2 is the test for you.*

* The government announced on 18 January 2016 a new English language requirement for family route migrants seeking to extend their stay in the UK (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-a2-english-requirement-in-the-family-route).  Non-EEA national partners and parents on the family route will need to pass a speaking and listening test at level A2 in order to qualify, after two-and-a half-years in the UK, for further leave to remain on the five-year partner or parent route to settlement.  The government recognises the need to give those affected sufficient time to prepare for the new test.  The timing of implementation and further details will be confirmed by the Home Office in due course and published on the GOV.UK website.  The new A2 English language requirement will not affect those required to apply for further leave to remain in the meantime. 

Are you applying to UK Visas and Immigration for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship?
IELTS Life Skills B1 is the test for you.
 
Life Skills decision matrix

IELTS Life Skills  A1 Prove your English speaking and listening skills as part of your application to UK Visas and Immigration for further leave to remain.
IELTS Life Skills A2 Prove your English speaking and listening skills as part of your application to UK Visas and Immigration for further leave to remain (extension visa).
IELTS Life Skills B1 Prove your English speaking and listening skills as part of your application to UK Visas and Immigration for indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.

When and where can I take an IELTS Life Skills test?
The tests are available throughout the world, in locations specified by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). You must confirm at the time of registration that you wish to use your test result for a UK visa application. You must sit the test in an 'IELTS for UKVI' test session, as UKVI will not accept results from all IELTS tests offered at these locations.
 
To find out whether you need to take an approved test, what level you need to achieve, and which test you can use, you should contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Check if you need a UK visa
 
What is the format of the IELTS Life Skills test?
You take the test with another test taker and one examiner. Your own performance on both speaking and listening will be assessed during this one session.
 
Why does IELTS Life Skills only cover speaking and listening?
The new test has been designed to meet specific immigration requirements for which applicants only need to demonstrate speaking and listening skills.
 
How long does the IELTS Life Skills test take?
IELTS Life Skills at CEFR Level A1 takes 16–18 minutes, IELTS Life Skills at CEFR Level A2 takes no more than 20 minutes and Level B1 is 22 minutes.
 
Is there any break between speaking and listening?
No, you will be assessed on your speaking and listening skills at the same time.
 
How is IELTS Life Skills assessed?
A certificated IELTS examiner will assess your performance throughout the Speaking and Listening test based on the following criteria:

  • obtaining information
  • conveying information
  • speaking to communicate
  • engaging in discussion.

The performance of the other test taker paired with you in the IELTS Life Skills test does not affect the assessment of your own performance.

How can I prepare for the IELTS Life Skills test?
Prepare for the test with free test samples.
 
How many copies of the IELTS Life Skills Test Report Form will I get?

You will receive one copy of the IELTS Life Skills Test Report Form.
 
How soon will I get my IELTS Life Skills results?
Test results are normally available within seven days of your test.

How often is an IELTS or IELTS Life Skills test available?
For IELTS and IELTS Life Skills, test dates will be available within 28 days at permanent locations and quarterly at pop-up locations.
 
How often can I retake IELTS or IELTS Life Skills?
For IELTS tests, there are no restrictions on retaking the test. For IELTS Life Skills, if you pass the test, you cannot retake it at the same level for a period of two years. If you do not pass it, there are no restrictions on retaking the test.

Register for IELTS Life Skills