IELTS General Practice Test with British Council

Need to prepare for your IELTS General Training test? British Council has you covered. Our extensive range of free, online learning materials will help you get ready for the exam and earn the best mark possible.

Still yet to book your test? You can do so here!

What is the IELTS General Training test?

There are two types of IELTS tests you can take: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.

The General Training test is for those who are applying to an immigration program, such as Express Entry in Canada, and the Academic exam is for those looking to study at a Canadian university or other form of higher education.

IELTS General Training has the same Listening and Speaking sections as the Academic test but a slightly different Reading and Writing section.

Find out more about the IELTS General Training test format here, then scroll to the ‘About the test format’ section.

How can I prepare for the IELTS General Training test?

At British Council, we have lots of free resources available online to help you prepare for your IELTS General Training test. From webinars to IELTS General practice tests, study packs and free learning apps, plus a comprehensive online assessment tool.

Visit our Prepare for IELTS page to access the following study materials for your IELTS General Training test:

    • Free apps, which help you to:
      • Learn more about each section of the IELTS test
      • Practise your skills.
      • Get IELTS test tips.
      • Improve your grammar and vocabulary skills.
    • IELTS study packs, so you can:
      • Enjoy weekly webinars with our IELTS experts.
      • Access even more free resources.
      • Learn the skills you need for test day.
    • Free webinars delivered by IELTS experts.
    • ‘Road to IELTS’ – our comprehensive e-learning and online assessment tool. Download sample tests, practice interactive activities and get expert advice.

Free practice materials

Free General Training practice tests with British Council

Get prepared for your General Training IELTS test with the British Council’s free online practice tests. Have a go at all four sections of the exam to get in some IELTS Reading practice, as well as Writing, Listening and Speaking practice ahead of your exam day.

IELTS General Reading practice test:

IELTS Listening practice test:

IELTS Speaking practice test:

IELTS Writing practice test:

Watch our video for more information on free practice tests & resources

How much preparation should I do before the exam?

This is a very common question! Firstly, it is important to know what level you are at (you can take a practice test to know this). Once you know your approximate level, you may feel ready to take the test or will need to start working on areas to improve. Make sure you prepare lots so that you are ready for test day. It is difficult to give a specific number of hours in which you should study as people progress and learn at different speeds.

Can I fail the IELTS test?

The IELTS test is not pass or fail, so you cannot fail the exam. You are simply given a score based on your English language ability – whatever that may be. The only way you can achieve 0 is if you fail to turn up or attempt the test.

Making sure you prepare for the test beforehand and knowing what to expect in each section can help you achieve a higher score. If you don’t get the score you require, it is important to practice your areas of weakness before you take the test. Additionally you could invest in an online tutor to help with this. The British Council provides an excellent online tutoring service to help you get the score you need.

How is the IELTS test scored?

An average is taken from each of the four sections of the test (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing), then you are provided with your final score. You can see a description of each IELTS band in the table below:


Band score Skill level Description
9 Expert user Full operational command of the language. Your use of English is appropriate, accurate and fluent and you show complete understanding.
8 Very good user Very good user You have a fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. You may misunderstand some things in unfamiliar situations. You handle complex detailed argumentation well.
7 Good user You have an operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriate usage, and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally, you handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
6 Competent user Generally, you have an effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. You can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 Modest user You have a partial command of the language, and cope with overall meaning in most situations, although you are likely to make many mistakes. You should be able to handle basic communication in your own field.
4 Limited user Your basic competence is limited to familiar situations. You frequently show problems in understanding and expression. You are not able to use complex language.
3 Extremely limited user You convey and understand only general meaning in very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
2 Intermittent user You have great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1 Non-user You have no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
0 Didn’t attempt the test You did not answer the questions.

What happens once I’ve finished the exam?

Once you’ve finished your test, it gets submitted for marking. If you took IELTS on computer, the results usually take around 3 to 5 days to come back to you. If you took your IELTS test on paper, then it typically takes 13 days to get your results. You can preview your results online once they are ready.

Start your IELTS journey today

To start your journey in Canada, book your IELTS test online today. At British Council, we have over 80 test locations across Canada, making it easy for you to find one near you.

Book online by clicking here, then select the province you live in to find your nearest test centre. Our simple-to-use booking platform means that you can book your test  in just a few simple steps!

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