Wednesday 29 May 2013


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) reinforces its position as the world’s most popular English proficiency test for higher education and global migration, with a record of two million tests taken around the world in the last 12 months.

The two million test figure represents 11% growth in the number of tests taken in the last 12 months and marks the eighteenth year of consecutive growth in IELTS test numbers.

The growth in test numbers also reflects the strong growth in the number of organisations turning to IELTS to meet their needs for language proficiency assessment. IELTS is now accepted by more than 8,000 educational institutions, employers, professional associations and governments in 135 countries around the world – including over 3,000 institutions and programs in the USA.

Making the announcement from the IELTS booth at the NAFSA conference in St. Louis, Missouri – Zach Johnson, CEO at IELTS USA said “of the two million tests, the numbers of people taking IELTS to go to the US continues to grow and all of the Top 25 US universities accepting foreign students accept IELTS as proof of English proficiency.”

Globally, the demand for IELTS in countries such as China, India, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey has remained high, with students taking the test for entry to educational institutions in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and USA, among many other destinations.

John Gildea, Head of IELTS at the British Council says “the phenomenal growth we’ve seen around the world is testament to the popularity of the test with test takers – and the organisations that trust IELTS scores as an accurate indicator of a person’s ability to communicate in English”

Nadeem Hussain, Director, Examinations Services at British Council Hong Kong says, “IELTS is one of the most popular English proficiency tests around the world.  While statistics show an increase in Hong Kong students using IELTS to apply for universities in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand from 2011/12, UK remains the most popular destination for IELTS takers, followed by Canada and the US, which grew by 25.5% and 19.2% respectively.  This growth in US bound candidature shows that more institutions in the US recognise IELTS and more students realise that IELTS is accepted in the US.”

The British Council Hong Kong IELTS Scholarship 2013 for overseas study is now open for applications.The scholarship is for candidates currently living in Hong Kong and Macau who will begin undergraduate or postgraduate studies outside Hong Kong and Macau in 2013 and attend a higher education institution that accepts IELTS as part of its admission requirements. The deadline for applications is 15 June 2013. 

Notes to Editor


IELTS is the International English Language Testing System, the world’s most popular English language proficiency test with two million tests taken in the last year. Over 8,000 organizations trust and accept IELTS as a secure, valid and reliable indicator of true to life ability to communicate in English for education, immigration and professional accreditation. IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

Candidates are tested in listening, reading, writing and speaking. All tests are scored on a banded system from 1 (the lowest) through to 9 (the highest possible band score).

IELTS offers a choice of two versions, to serve both academic and non-academic purposes. IELTS Academic measures English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher learning environment. The tasks and texts are accessible to all test-takers, irrespective of their subject focus. IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and texts reflect both workplace and social situations. General Training is suitable for immigration purposes to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

For details, please visit

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We work in over 100 countries worldwide. Established in Hong Kong in 1948, the British Council strives to connect the UK with the rest of the world through education, arts, science, governance and much more.  In 2011-12, we delivered 227 Arts, Education and Science events and provided extensive English language support with online learning, excellent English teaching and examination services;46,653 students took exams with us; and 22,309 learners were engaged inEnglish learning services.