Why IELTS?

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the world’s most popular English language test. More than 2.2 million IELTS tests are taken each year.

Taking IELTS opens doors – it can help you live, study and work around the world. More than 9,000 organisations worldwide accept IELTS, including government, academic and employment institutions. In fact, IELTS is the only English language test accepted for immigration purposes by all countries that require one.

The IELTS test is designed to help you use English in your new life abroad. In less than three hours, it will assess all of your English skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

The most effective way of testing your English conversation skills is face-to-face. IELTS is the most widely accepted English language test with a one-on-one speaking test to assess your English language communication skills. 

Designed by experts in English language assessment and trusted around the world, you can be sure that IELTS will give a fair and consistent assessment of your English skills.   

Why take IELTS with the British Council?

The British Council has more than 75 years’ experience teaching and testing English. We have helped people in more than 130 countries gain English language qualifications that help them make the most of their chances in life. That’s a lot of experience, and it means that if you take an English language test with us, you can be confident that you’ll be well looked after.

Here are just a few reasons why millions of people have taken IELTS with the British Council:  

  • Expert support: from videos and books to online interactive courses, you have access to the best preparation materials to help you do well in your test
  • Free resources: Road to IELTS is the British Council’s popular online preparation course. When you register for an IELTS test with us you also get access to 30 hours of free training.
  • Convenient dates and locations: we have more than 500 test locations in over 100 countries. This means that you have a huge range of options for where and when you can take your test. .
  • Easy booking: You can book your IELTS test online and take advantage of flexible payment options online by credit card, offline by electronic bank transfer or payment at a Post office..
  • Fast results: We guarantee you will be able to see your results online within just 13 days of the date you take your test.
  • Special arrangements: your English language ability will be assessed objectively, regardless of any disability or special needs that you may have. Find out more about how we can facilitate your special arrangements. Please note, you will need a medical certificate issued within the last two years at the time of registration.

IELTS in Switzerland

IELTS is not only the must-have test to study or work abroad. It is also widely accepted in Switzerland. As a matter of fact, many prestigious Swiss universities and higher education institutions recognise IELTS for educational purposes.

Follow the link to see a list of some of the Swiss institutions who accept IELTS.

IELTS and the Common European Framework

IELTS is recognized by the Council of Europe. The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) provides a basis for the mutual recognition of language qualifications, thus facilitating educational and occupational mobility.

CEFR Level A2 B1 B2 C1 C2
IELTS score range 3.5 - 4.0 4.5 - 5.0 5.5 - 6.5 7.0 - 7.5 8.0 - 9.0

On 22 May 2014, the UK Home Office issued guidance on secure English language test (SELT) providers. We encourage you to check the full text and FAQ here.

Register

You can register for IELTS quickly and easily through our Online Registration Service.

To register, simply follow the steps below:

1. Read the information for candidates

Download and read the Information for Candidates (PDF, 934 KB) which contains important information about the test format, the question types and the test results. Please note that IELTS is not recommended for candidates under the age of 16. 

2. Decide which version of the test is right for you

There are two versions of the IELTS test:

IELTS Academic

IELTS General Training

Read our simple guide to help you decide which version of the test is right for you. 

3. Check the IELTS test dates 

There are a limited number of places for all our IELTS test sessions. To make sure you get a place, we recommend that you register two months before your chosen test date. Of course, places may be available after this date. You can use our Online Registration System to find up-to-date information about test dates and availability.

Please note: Your Listening, Reading and Writing test will be completed on the same day. The speaking test in Switzerland is usually on the main test day. You will receive notification in advance if your Speaking test is on a different day to your main test day.

PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU ARE APPLYING FOR THE TEST ON 13 DECEMBER - RESULTS WILL BE RELEASED ON MONDAY 5 JANUARY 2015 DUE TO THE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR HOLIDAY.

4. Register online

Use our Online Registration System to book your place on the test.

Please ensure you are able to provide the documents in step 5 and are able to pay using one of the payment methods in step 6. 

5. Prepare and send your documents  

Please make sure you send us the following documents when you register for your test:

  • A colour photocopy/scan of your passport or national ID card (ID cards valid for Swiss or EU citizens only).
  • For candidates NOT paying by credit card, proof of payment (a bank order summary, post office receipt or similar).

6. Choose your payment options

The cost of sitting a test is CHF 335. You can pay for your test in one of the following ways:

i)  Online by credit card through the online application form.

ii)  Via a bank transfer

Credit Suisse
Bank Account Name: The British Council
Bank Account Number: 262603-51
Bank Account Sort Code: 4835
Bank Code: -
SWIFT/BIC: CRESCHZZ30A
IBAN: CH02 0483 5026 2603 5100 0

iii) At the post office using an inpayment slip, in which case you must use the following details:

Bank Name: Credit Suisse
Bank Account Name: The British Council
Bank Account Number: 262603-51
Post Account Number: 80-500-4 (for post office payments ONLY)

  • In the REFERENCE section of your payment please write: [IELTS / name / city / test date], e.g. IELTS / Luke Skywalker / Bern / 1 January 2015
  • Once you have made the payment, please send us the bank transfer receipt with the rest of your registration documents. 

7. Complete your registration

Send all documents from step 5 via email to ielts@britishcouncil.ch – all documents must be sent by email or uploaded during the online registration process.

We need to receive all documents within five working days of your online registration. Unfortunately, if we do not receive documents within five working days your application will be cancelled. 

We cannot process incomplete applications, so please make sure you have sent us all the necessary information.

 

8. After you register

After registering you will receive an automatic email with your access codes to the free online course: Road to IELTS.

You can enter details of up to five receiving institutions in your online application form. If you wish to add more institutions after completing your application, please email us. We can send copies of your results to institutions for up to two years after your test date.

We will send you a confirmation email one week before the test date giving you the start time of your test and the venue address. If you have not received this email one week before your test please let us know immediately.

For more information please contact our Exams Services at ielts@britishcouncil.ch

Special Arrangements

IELTS is designed to be a fair test and your English language ability will be assessed objectively, regardless of any special needs that you may have.

We can help you with any special arrangements you require for your test. For example, we offer support for people with visual impairments, hearing difficulties and dyslexia.

Please contact us three months in advance of your test date to find out how you can apply for special arrangements. 

Refunds

If you want to request a refund, please read our refund policy (PDF 35 KB) prior to making a request.

  • If you cancel your registration less than five working days after submitting the online application form you will receive a full refund of the test fee.
  • If you cancel your registration at least five weeks before the test date you will receive a refund of the test fee, minus a CHF50 administration fee.
  • If you cancel your registration within five weeks or less of the test date, you will not receive a refund unless you can provide appropriate evidence to support your cancellation. If you want to do this, please complete and submit a Request for Refund Form (PDF 35 KB) along with the supporting evidence. We will need to receive your request and supporting evidence at least five days before the test date.

Test day transfers

If you want to transfer to a different test date, you need to notify us at least five weeks prior to the test session you have registered for. To do this, please complete and submit a Request for Transfer Form (PDF 35 KB).

If you are unable to take the test due to unforeseen circumstances on the test day, please make sure we receive your transfer form and supporting documentation no more than five working days after the test date.

Prepare

If you book your IELTS test with the British Council you can take advantage of our exclusive access to a wide range of learning materials – all designed to help you get the best possible score in your IELTS test. 

1. Road to IELTS Course – 30 hours of free online study

Road to IELTS, written by the British Council, is a popular online self-study resource for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking practice. Written by the British Council for its IELTS students, Road to IELTS includes: 

  • Practice materials
  • Timed tests
  • Tutorials
  • Online scoring
  • Self-assessment tools so that you can measure your progress

You can try our Road to IELTS resources with 10 hours of free study right now.

When you register for an IELTS test with us you’ll be free to enjoy a further 20 hours of access to the learning materials. 

2. Further British Council online preparation materials

We also have a selection of online preparation materials for your Listening and Speaking tests.

Prepare for the IELTS Listening Test

Prepare for the IELTS Speaking Test

3. LearnEnglish website

We have a website dedicated to learning the English language. It’s called LearnEnglish and it has a number of very useful English learning resources, such as:

  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Grammar and vocabulary tutorials
  • Business/work resources and a magazine
  • Games
  • IELTS tips
  • Community networking opportunities

You’ll find that learning materials on the site really support your preparation for your IELTS test, and they’ll give you more confidence when it comes to test day.

4. IELTS Books

You can buy a selection of IELTS self-study books from us. Our books are written by some of the world’s leading English language experts.

5. British Council IELTS courses and workshops

If you think that you would benefit from face-to-face preparation, we provide a number of courses taught by highly qualified English language teachers with an in-depth knowledge of the IELTS test. 

Find out more about our IELTS courses.

Results

We understand that getting your results is important to you. We know you want them quickly, but it is equally important that we give you the score that correctly reflects your performance. 

You can expect your IELTS result to be available 13 calendar days after your test.

IELTS results online and by post

You’ll be able to preview your results online 13 days after the main test day.

Your IELTS results (also known as your Test Report Form) will be posted to you 13 days after the date of the main test day.

You will not be able to obtain your results over the phone, by email or by fax. 

Test Report Forms (TRF)

You will receive one copy of your personal Test Report Form. Unfortunately, replacements cannot be issued if you lose it. 

 

Test Report Forms for institutions

We can arrange for additional original copies to be posted to receiving institutions (e.g. universities, immigration officers, etc.). If you would like us to do this, please include the relevant addresses when you register or email us to add more. 

Institutions need original copies of your Test Report Form. Photocopies of your Test Report Form will generally not be accepted.

Institutions may be able to view candidates’ scores through the IELTS Test Report Form (TRF) Verification Service. To do this they will need your Test Report Form number which can be found in the bottom right corner of your Test Report Form.

The validity period of your Test Report Form

Institutions will not usually accept a Test Report Form that is more than two years old. After this time you will need to provide them with evidence that you have maintained or improved your English since taking the test. 

Understand your IELTS scores

IELTS provides results for all levels of English: there is no such thing as a pass or fail. You will be given a score from zero to nine for each part of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking

Find out more about how to understand your IELTS scores and the nine-band system.

Find out how IELTS scores relate to the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

How to query your score

It is unusual for there to be a mistake in the marking. However, if you believe a mistake has occurred you can apply to our Enquiry on Results Service to have your test re-marked. This must be done within six weeks of the test date. You can choose which sections of the test you want to have re-marked. 

There is a fee for the Enquiry on Results service, which will be refunded should your overall score change as a result of the re-marking. The Enquiry on Results Service can take up to eight weeks to complete. Please contact us for further information about how the service works.

Can I re-take the test?

You can take the test as many times as you wish. However, please note that to significantly improve your score it is necessary to undertake further study. IELTS research indicates that scores are unlikely to improve without further English language tuition.