Assalamualaikum and Hii!
I feel like sharing a little bit about IELTS.
IELTS is the International English Language Testing System. It is recognised by many institutions. What I know is, people take IELTS because they want to enter universities in Australia, Canada, UK, New Zealand and other English-speaking countries. For education purposes, there's the academic test. For those who plan to migrate and work in these countries, there is the general training test. It is quite different in terms of content of essays for what I've seen.
As for the US, a friend of mine took TOEFL.
In Malaysia, British Council provides the test.
Haa, mesti nak tau cost dia berapa kan, I think it is around RM300-500? I'm not too sure.
Beloved PETRONAS paid for me. Okay kena belajar rajin, balas jasa baik.
I registered for IELTS because it is recommended to have an English language qualification to enter UK universities. Some universities demand them, however, some might say your 1119 qualification (included in English SPM) is already sufficient. It depends on which university you're applying too.
Different courses require different minimum qualification too. Science courses might require lower compared to arts courses. *coughcough, Say if Science courses need an overall band 6.5, Arts courses in the same university would require overall band 7.0. This is just an example by the way.
Basically IELTS consists of four test components,
The speaking test might or might not be on the same day. I think you can arrange for that, or maybe British Council sets the date. Mine was on the same day.
My test started early in the morning. Listening, reading and writing tests were continuous and then the speaking test after lunch. Everything was supposed to end at 5.30PM for all of us KDU candidates, but it ended way earlier at about 3PM because everything went smoothly alhamdulillah.
As for results, you'll get bands for each component, then after calculating that, they'll give you the overall score. Here is what I got from the IELTS website,
The IELTS 9-band scale
Each band corresponds to a level of English competence. All parts of the test and the Overall Band Score can be reported in whole and half bands, eg 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0.
Band 9: Expert user: has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
Band 8: Very good user: has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriacies. Misunderstandings may occur in unfamiliar situations. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
Band 7: Good user: has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
Band 6: Competent user: has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
Band 5: Modest user: has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. Should be able to handle basic communication in own field.
Band 4: Limited user: basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in understanding and expression. Is not able to use complex language.
Band 3: Extremely limited user: conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
Band 2: Intermittent user: no real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
Band 1: Non-user: essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
Band 0: Did not attempt the test: No assessable information provided.
The results will come out two weeks after the test date. Quick and efficient I'd say.
So, for those thinking of taking IELTS, please do if your university or working place needs it. Don't if you're taking it for fun, because to me, it is quite costly. Well, unless you're not worried much about financial matters, then that's good for you. IELTS results is valid for two years. After two years, you'd have to take the test again if you were to apply for anything.
http://www.ielts.org for more info and,
http://www.roadtoielts.com for practices, and guide for each test component.