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The complete beginner guide to IELTS Exam 2021


For those who wished to complete the IELTS exam, the sudden outbreak of the COVID in early 2020 has affected everyone’s plan. Because of this pandemic, the IELTS registration and examination period and time have become very unpredictable in the Toronto area ever since. Since April 2021, all the examination centers have been filled with a months-long backlog of IELTS tests, and the schedule has been delayed. Fortunately, according to one of the reliable local sources in Toronto, the IELTS exam will be held as scheduled starting from May.

After hearing the good news, I am sure you are now very excited to get back in the game. We are pleased to have Trillium Education, the leading IELTS consulting and training centre for IELTS in Toronto , share the complete IELTS beginner guide with the most updated information and tips to help everyone achieve the desired score for your favorite university and immigration application.

IELTS Exam Type

The first thing before registering for the IELTS exam is to know what type of exam you need. The IELTS exam is divided into two categories: Academic (A Type) and General Training (G Type).

The IELTS Academic (A Type) test is mainly for students who intend to study abroad. The target group is mainly international students. That means, if you wish to apply for a university in a foreign country, you need to choose A type IELTS certification. 

The IELTS General Training (G Type) test mainly tests your English proficiency and checks whether you have enough language skills to live and work in an English-speaking environment or workplace. In this case, the main target groups are those who wish to work or settle down in places where English is the official language.

After understanding the types of test you need, what about the differences between the two types in terms of format and difficulties? 

For question types, Type A and Type G are almost identical as both consist of four parts: Speaking, Listening, Writing, and Reading. In terms of difficulty, there is also no difference between the Speaking and Listening exams. However, according to the survey and feedback collected from public sources, there are differences in Writing and Reading. Most examinees believed that the Writing and Reading parts of A Type are generally more challenging than G Type. Thus, you should pay attention when choosing the type of test and the preparation or training in advance. 

As a reminder, it is important to note that if the examinee chooses the wrong test type during the registration, there will be no changes or refund. So, you must decide and proceed with care.

IELTS Scoring Standards

Now that you have a clear idea of what you need regarding the type of tests and direction. We will now look at the IELTS scoring system for the questions.

The IELTS test uses a 9-point full score scoring standard with each of the four categories (Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing) being a 9 as well. Think of the popular GPA (grade point average) used to average the scores of classes students earn in high schools or colleges. For the calculation of the final total average score, the IELTS test adopts a 0.25-point rounding system. For example, if a candidate scores a 7.0 in listening, 6.0 in speaking, 6.5 in reading, and 6.0 in writing, then the final score of this IELTS exam will be 6.5 (after rounding up from score 6.375 since it is higher than 6.25).

Before taking the IELTS exam, candidates must clearly understand the scores they expect to target. At the same time, candidates must assess their skill level more objectively. According to the past requirements of the IELTS scores for Canadian Universities, candidates will need at least a final IELTS score of 6.0 to be considered. As for immigration purposes, getting a score of 4.0 to 7.0 will be sufficient for most people. For more specific score requirements, you may refer to the regulations of each university or the government’s immigration requirements. 

IELTS Exam Time and Location

After the planning and preparations, candidates should now consider the time and location of the IELTS test. For the IELTS test, the total duration of the test is 2 hours and 40 minutes. Among the four parts of the test, Listening, Reading, and Writing will be tested at the exact location on the same day consecutively. However, the Speaking test could be different depending on the test location availability. It may be conducted on the same day or 7 days before or after the test date. Generally speaking, if we take the computer-based test, the results will be available in 3 to 5 days, while the traditional paper test can take about 13 days to get the test results.

IELTS Exam Centres in Toronto

As far as the test location is concerned, the IELTS test centres in Toronto are mainly provided by two major organizations responsible for IELTS: IDP and British Council. According to Trillium Education’s experience, the average difficulty level of the exams provided by the two centres is not much different. However, some candidates from the local community claim that the test provided by the British Council is slightly easier. I will let you be the judge of that.

After choosing your IELTS exam location, we can begin to make an appointment for the test. The following website contains information about all Canadian test centres and provides registration steps. See here:https://www.ielts.org/for-test-takers/book-a-test.


At this point, some of you may already have booked the IELTS exam. Congratulations, you are one step closer to achieving your dream of studying and living abroad. Now, the rest is just to prepare and study for the upcoming IELTS test. We encourage every candidate to attend the local IELTS training school like Trillium Education or find online video courses to help you with the four categories of listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. There should be plenty of good resources online. Good luck, everyone!

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