Are you planning to apply to a foreign university for another degree or are hoping to relocate to a different country? If so, you probably already know about the International English Language Testing System, more commonly referred to as IELTS. It’s an English proficiency test, one needs to clear in order to be eligible to apply for admission or file an immigration application in most countries around the world. More often than not, it is a mandatory step. Unfortunately, owing to the lack of information about taking IELTS in Pakistan, a lot of students and immigration aspirants not only struggle to register and prepare for the test but also have a hard time understanding how the whole process actually works.
To put it simply, IELTS is a widely-accepted language aptitude test that is recognized (and required) by almost all foreign employers, higher education institutes and immigration authorities. In the past few years, some private universities in Pakistan have also started asking students to clear an IELTS exam before applying for admission.
The test has four components: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
Here is what you need to know about taking IELTS in Pakistan.
Which Organization to Choose for IELTS
To start off, there are two organizations currently providing this testing service in Pakistan:
- The British Council
- Australian Education Office (AEO)
As the name suggests, the British Council is a London-based organization that specializes in international educational services. Meanwhile, AEO serves as the official IELTS centre of IDP: IELTS Australia in Pakistan. IDP Education is a Melbourne-based international education organization.
Both the British Council and IDP are the official test partners of IELTS worldwide.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no difference between the tests given by these two organizations. From test modules to grading and scoring, the entire process is exactly the same. In fact, even their cost is almost the same.
The only major difference between the British Council and AEO is between their numbers of IELTS testing centres in Pakistan.
The British Council Pakistan offers up to four IELTS test dates per month in 14 cities across the country. The list includes Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Quetta, Multan, Abbottabad, Peshawar Hyderabad, Quetta, Multan, Gujrat, Bahawalpur, Mirpur, Sargodha, Faisalabad and Sialkot.
Meanwhile, AEO only conducts the test in three cities, namely Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi.
Types of IELTS in Pakistan
Generally, there are two types of IELTS you need to choose from.
- IELTS Academic
- IELTS General Training
The IELTS Academic test is generally required by educational institutes. Meanwhile, the IELTS General Training test is mostly required by employers and immigration authorities among others. Both of these tests cost the same and have a similar format.
However, before you register with the British Council or AEO to take IELTS in Pakistan, please confirm which of these tests you’re supposed to book. These tests are not interchangeable. Moreover, if you are planning to study in the United Kingdom or move there, you might have to book either IELTS UKVI Academic or General Training tests. IELTS Life Skills exam also has two levels and is required for immigration to the UK.
Which Mode is better?
Once you know whether you have to appear for IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training, you need to decide between two exam modes:
- Paper-based IELTS exam
- Computer-delivered IELTS exam
The paper-based exam requires candidates to use a pencil to write their answers for the listening, reading and writing modules. On the other hand, the computer-based exam requires candidates to put their answers on the computer instead of a paper.
Once again, it is pertinent to mention that marking for both of these tests is exactly the same.
Whether you opt for paper-based or computer-based type, depending on your preference, the timing for reading and writing is going to be the same. Since the speaking test comprises a face-to-face conversation with an examiner, your mode of the exam has no effect on it.
The only difference between the two is that paper-based IELTS allows a candidate to take 10 minutes to transfer their answers from the question paper to the answer sheet. However, since you type all of your answers on screen and don’t have to transfer them anywhere at the end of the test, candidates are only given 2 minutes to check their responses.
If you are someone who works on the computer on a daily basis, computer-delivered IELTS may be a better option for you. But if you are someone who’s more comfortable writing things down on a paper, then you should opt for the paper-based test.
Computer-delivered IELTS was introduced in Pakistan earlier this year. Furthermore, the results for computer-based exams are delivered within 5 to 7 working days while the results for the paper-based IELTS take up to 15 days.
How to Register for IELTS in Pakistan
Let’s take a look at how to book IELTS exams in Pakistan with both British Council Pakistan and AEO.
British Council Pakistan
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to apply for IELTS in Pakistan with the British Council.
- Visit the official website of British Council Pakistan
- Hover over ‘Take an Exam’ tab and click on ‘Take IELTS with the British Council’ from the drop-down menu
- Of the available options, select ‘Book your test at an official IELTS test centre’
- Once the webpage opens up, you’ll see a list of tests along with their modes and cities Click on the ‘Book Now’ link present in front of your desired test type.
- Enter the required details and select a date
- You’ll be asked to create a new account to fill an online form to complete registration
Documents Required for IELTS Registration with British Council Pakistan
- Scan of your valid CNIC or passport
- Those under the age of 18 have to submit written permission by a parent or guardian in order to apply for the test
Paying Your Test Fee
Here is how you can pay for your IELTS registration fees for British Council Pakistan:
- Through your credit card or debit card. If you choose to use someone else’s card to make the payment, then you must submit and bring along a ‘Credit Card Authorization Form’ along with the documents listed on the form. If you are using your own card, make sure to bring it along on the test day.
- Through bank draft
- Through cash at any branch of the Standard Chartered Bank
- The British Council does not accept check payments.
You will get an email confirmation for the test once you have made the payment and selected a seat. The organization will send you the details of your test, including the timing and venue, at least three days before the exam is scheduled. Moreover, all four of your tests may be conducted on the same day or your speaking test may be scheduled for another date within a seven-day time period.
You’ll also receive a reference number after completing your booking, which can use to access the Test Taker Portal. Moreover, the British Council will also provide you with a code to access their online preparation material.
The IELTS registration process for AEO is also pretty simple. Let’s take a look.
- Visit the official AEO Pakistan website
- Hover over the ‘IELTS’ tab and select ‘Book My Test’ from the dropdown menu.
- For those who wish to register manually, please download the linked IELTS Application and fill it accordingly. Then, submit the duly filled form along with bank draft/pay order and photocopy of your CNIC/passport to AEO through courier. Candidates can also personally submit their documents at their nearest AEO Pakistan centre.
- Candidates applying online can click on the ‘Online test date booking portal’ to select their city and module.
- Pick a date and click on ‘Registration’
- Select your preferred time slot
- Once you click continue, you’ll be asked to create a new account by filling in your personal details on an online form.
Documents Required for IELTS Registration with AEO Pakistan
- A photocopy of CNIC or passport, whichever one was used while filling the form
- Online test booking reference.
These documents must be submitted at the AEO office within five days following the booking.
Paying Your Test Fee
- Through bank draft or pay order
- Through credit card
IELTS Registration Fee in Pakistan for the British Council
|IELTS Academic or General Training (Paper-based)||Lahore and Islamabad||PKR 34,800|
|IELTS Academic or General Training (Paper-based)||Karachi||PKR 33,900|
|IELTS Academic or General Training (Computer-delivered)||Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi||PKR 34,800|
Please visit the official website to find out the cost of taking IELTS in other cities.
IELTS Registration Fee in Pakistan for AEO
|City||Via Bank Draft||Via Credit Card|
|Lahore and Islamabad||PKR 34,800||PKR 35, 844|
|Karachi||PKR 33,900||PKR 34,917|
The registration fee for bother paper-based and computer-delivered tests are the same for AEO.
Also, please note that the registration fee is subject to change.
IELTS Format in Pakistan
There are four parts of an IELTS exam.
To further explain the format, here is a brief explanation of each part of the exam.
The listening test comprises 40 questions and is 30 minutes long. This is usually the first part of an IELTS exam, where the candidate receives a question paper and pair of headphones to listen to a recording.
Once the recording starts playing, you cannot stop or pause it. All you have to do is to listen to the recording carefully and answer the questions on the sheet. The questions are always in the same order as the information being shared on the recording, but if you miss out on a question, don’t dwell on it or you might not be able to catch the answer to the next one.
At the end of the paper-based IELTS exam, candidates get 10 minutes to transfer their responses to the answer sheet. However, those appearing for computer-delivered tests will only get 2 minutes to check what they have written.
IELTS listening test is the same for both Academic and General Training modules.
The reading component of the exam lasts for one hour and constitutes of 40 questions divided into three parts.
This test could be different for Academic and General Training candidates.
IELTS speaking test is conducted by a certified examiner at the testing centre. It might or might not be conducted on the same day as the rest of the components.
The duration for a speaking test is between 11 and 15 minutes. It is divided into three parts where the examiner grades you on your fluency, pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.
All candidates take the same test.
This is probably the trickiest of all the four components, as the writing exam for both Academic and General Training candidate is slightly different. It is divided into two tasks and lasts for an hour.
Task 1 for the IELTS Academic test requires candidates to write a short report on either a chart, graph, map or a table. Meanwhile, those taking the IELTS General Training test have to write a formal or informal essay.
For Task 2, both types of candidates have to write a formal essay of at least 250 words.
How to Prepare for IELTS
The easiest way for IELTS preparation in Pakistan is to use the course material provided by your chosen testing organization. There are quite a few online IELTS preparation portals that allow users to take mock tests for free. If you plan on taking IELTS in Pakistan, it is extremely important for you to get familiar with the format of the test.
Depending on your language skills, you can also consider enrolling in an IELTS preparation centre. Almost all language institutes offer preparation for IELTS in Pakistan.
Moreover, to improve your vocabulary, try reading a newspaper on a daily basis. Conversing with someone in English can also help you build the required confidence.
IELTS Results and Test Scoring
IELTS scores candidates out of 9 bands. Band 1 stands for ‘non-user’ while band 9 denotes ‘expert user.’
It is pertinent to mention that the IELTS score required for studies might vary with each university and chosen subject. Usually, foreign universities require at least 6 band score in IELTS Academic test. Similarly, immigration authorities and employers may also require a certain score for a candidate to be eligible to apply.
Meanwhile, whether you are planning to apply for a scholarship abroad or seeking a job opportunity, you might need to get your education credentials verified by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. For those who have to go through the process, here is a detailed guide on how to get your documents attested through HEC.
On the other hand, if you are planning to apply for the NTS test, here is a step-by-step guide to help you out.
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