Attention: Before You Register For Your IELTS Exam - IELTS University (Singapore)
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Attention: Before You Register For Your IELTS Exam

Last Updated: July 2024

Attention: Before You Register For Your IELTS Exam

Having taught hundreds of IELTS students, I've seen many students waste a lot of money and time because they failed to understand the 5 important things I mention below. Read below and know what you need to know before you register for your $330/$340 IELTS exam in Singapore. The procedures to register for the IELTS exam in Singapore are also stated below.

1) Am I Prepared?

This tip could save you hundreds of dollars!

It is extremely important to prepare for the IELTS exam - if you want to save a lot of money while achieving your required score! Over the years, I've come across many students who taken the exam a ridiculous number of times. For example, I knew of a student who took the exam more than 10 times before attending my classes. Yes, 10 times! If each exam costs about S$300+, that means this person spent over S$3,000 on exam fees! (This person eventually passed his IELTS exam after attending my classes and understanding what he had been doing wrong!)

I would say that based on my experience, many students take the exam a few times before passing. That's because they don't really prepare the first time round or they don't give themselves enough time to prepare.

Whether you take formal IELTS preparation classes or you prepare by yourself, it's important not to rush into registering for your exam - unless you have a strict deadline, of course.

By not preparing for your IELTS exam, you think you'll save a lot of time and money. You couldn't be more wrong. In the end, it could mean that you'll spend even MORE time and money by not preparing for your IELTS exam as you'll probably have to take the exam a few times before you get your desired score!

NEW (From September 2020 Onwards)

Attend a Free 2-Hr Live IELTS Masterclass on Zoom to get the most comprehensive introduction to the IELTS exam where you can ask questions about IELTS and my IELTS classes. WhatsApp Jonathan at +65 9768 1054 with the words "I'm interested in your IELTS Masterclass" and the Zoom link will be sent to you.

2) Academic or General Training?

Before you register, you need to know whether you're taking the Academic or General Training version of the exam. Yes, there are two types of IELTS and you need to know which one you need to take. If you register for the wrong one, you're going to waste your time and money.

Differences in test format

The General Training IELTS test is the easier of the two papers. The only differences in the test format is in Task 1 of the Writing paper and also in the Reading paper. For Writing Task 1, the Academic IELTS paper requires the student to write a report on graphs, tables, maps, etc., and this is much more difficult than the General Training Writing Task 1 of writing a simple letter. For Reading, the Academic IELTS paper contains longer and more difficult texts.

Which type to take?

It is important to know which type of IELTS test the student needs to take! While General Training is normally required for migration and Academic is generally required for further studies, one should not assume this to be the case always.

A lot of students ask me which type of IELTS they should take. The truth is that I wouldn't know. Every student needs to find out which one is required for their situation. They could ask their agent or find out from the website of the organization (university, government website, etc.). Everybody's individual situation is different!

What band score you need

You also need to know what band score you need. In my experience with my IELTS students in Singapore, most migration students need 7.0 in General Training IELTS. However, nurses and accountants usually need 7.0 in Academic IELTS. For students wanting the further their studies with a degree, a 6.5 or 7.0 in Academic IELTS is normally needed. However, as mentioned, one can't assume this is the case for everyone.

Take Note: When organizations indicate that the student needs to get, for example, "7.0", they are referring to the "overall band score", which is calculated as the average score of the 4 individual sub-tests (Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking). However, some organizations may also state a further requirement of a minimum score for each individual sub-test. So, for example, some universities require students to get a minimum overall band score of 6.5 with a minimum 6.0 for each sub-test. Therefore, if you get an overall score of 6.5 but one of your sub-test is 5.5 (which does not meet the 6.0 minimum), your IELTS score will not be accepted.

Here are some questions to ask your agent or the organization that requires your IELTS score:
1) Do I need to take the Academic or General Training IELTS?
2) What is minimum overall score I need?
3) Is there any minimum score I need for the sub-tests (Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking)?

3) Normal IELTS or "IELTS for UKVI"?

If you're taking the IELTS to get a visa to move to or stay in the UK, you may need to take a special type of IELTS called "IELTS for UKVI". The test format is exactly the same as the normal IELTS test but the registration procedure is different. There's also "Academic" or "General Training" for "IELTS for UKVI". The cost is slightly more expensive at S$380. Again, if you want to know whether you need to take the normal IELTS or the "IELTS for UKVI", just check with your agent or the organization that requires the IELTS result. But please make sure that if you need the "IELTS for UKVI", you register for the correct one!

4) Which IELTS date to select?

What to think about before deciding on a date

You'd need to decide which date(s) you want to take your IELTS test. The main papers (Listening, Reading and Writing papers) are taken together (around 2 hours and 45 minutes in total) on either a Thursday or Saturday morning while the Speaking paper (around 15-20 minutes) will either be held in the afternoon of the same day or on a different day.

In Singapore, the IELTS exam is held up to 3 or 4 times every month. Most of the time the main papers will be on a Saturday morning but occasionally it will be on a Thursday morning. However, because there are 4 different kinds of IELTS (IELTS Academic, IELTS General Training, "IELTS for UKVI" Academic and "IELTS for UKVI" General Training), it's important to actually find out the dates available for the type of IELTS you're taking.

The IELTS type with the most timings is "IELTS Academic" (around 3-4 times every month). The other 3 types of IELTS are available only 1 to 2 times a month.

Actual IELTS dates at British Council and IDP Singapore

Normal IELTS Exam Dates (2018)

Note: Click on image to zoom in

Normal IELTS Exam Dates for Computer Delivered at IDP (2018)

(IDP Singapore just started to offer a Computerized version of IELTS where you type your answers on a computer.)

Note: Click on image to zoom in

UKVI for IELTS Exam Dates (2018)

Note: Click on image to zoom in

5) When to register and pay for your IELTS exam?

Bringing all the above together, here are my suggestions. If you're taking either IELTS General Training, "IELTS for UKVI" Academic or "IELTS for UKVI" General Training, it's important to book maybe a few weeks to 2 months in advance as there are not many dates available for these types of IELTS. If you're taking IELTS Academic, it's not necessary to book so far in advance - maybe 2-4 weeks before you want to take your exam.

Why not just book as far in advance as possible? I would caution against this because you may not be prepared and you may end up taking the exam when you're not ready and then wasting S$300+. Trust me, many students do this and they regret booking their exam too early as they realize they are not prepared and they can't postpone their dates.

You also need to consider that the IELTS results will be given out 13 days from the day of the main papers. Therefore, if the organization that needs your IELTS has deadline for your results, you need to take this into account.

One more thing I want to address: when should you book your speaking test? Many students want to take their Speaking exam on the same day/afternoon of their main papers. Their rationale is that they can do everything in one day! This is something I'd advise against because you'll be very exhausted after the main papers in the morning and that would most likely affect your Speaking performance. In addition, you want to actually "prepare" for your Speaking test. Therefore, my suggestion would be sitting for your Speaking test on another day when you can prepare for it better.

How to register?

For both British Council and IDP, you can register for the IELTS exam online or at the organization itself. The most convenient way is to register online. Here's how to do so:

IELTS Registration: Step 1

Prepare the following materials before you start your registration process:
- A soft copy (gif or jpeg) of an image of your ID document or passport (for foreign nationalities in Singapore, you need the soft copy of your passport - you would also need to bring this on the test day).
- A valid VISA or MASTERCARD for online payment.
[Normal IELTS: S$330 (IDP), S$340 (British Council). "IELTS for UKVI": S$380 (IDP or British Council)]

IELTS Registration: Step 2

Go to the following websites to register:
British Council Singapore: Normal IELTS (click here) or "IELTS for UKVI" (click here)
IDP Singapore: Normal or "IELTS for UKVI" (click here)

IELTS Registration: Step 3

You'll receive all the information about your IELTS exam (location, timing, etc.) in your email. If you have any questions, just call the organization you registered with.

Jonathan has taught over 1,000 IELTS students in the past 5 to 10 years in Singapore, Australia and various other countries. To find out more about his classes, click here: Find Out More About Jonathan's IELTS Preparation Classes.