IELTS Preparation

Thin Strip

IELTS is an acronym for “International English Language Testing System“.  The IELTS test is also a test of an individual’s ability to use and understand the English language.   There are two versions of the IELTS: the Academic Version and the General Training Version.  The Academic Version is similar to the TOEFL in that it is intended to provide information about an individual’s ability to understand English for an academic or school setting.  The General Training Version of the IELTS is used to assess English language proficiency for people who need English for work or immigration reasons.  The IELTS is used frequently in Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa.  The Academic Version is also accepted at many American universities although the TOEFL remains more prominent. Obtaining a passing score on the IELTS is required for immigration to Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

The IELTS looks at 4 areas of language: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.  Each of these areas is tested for a specific amount of time (11-60 minutes depending on the domain).  All but the speaking module must be taken in the same day, the speaking domain or module must be taken within 7 days of the other domains.  IELTS scores range from 0-9.  Each number score also corresponds to competence level; for example 9 = Expert User, 6 = Competent User, and 1 = Non User.   The minimum score needed on the IELTS Academic Version for college admission in America varies from college to college, but usually a score of 6 is the minimum.  When the IELTS is used for the purposes of immigration, required scores generally vary as well, with a minimum of 5 required by New Zealand and a minimum  of 6 required for Australia in order to immigrate.

Gaining a strong understanding of the English language is required before taking either of these exams.  St. Louis recommends a minimum of CLB Level 6 in order to achieve success.

(Excerpts of this explanation have been taken from )

St. Louis offers IELTS test PREPARATION classes,  which include practice tests.  It is strongly recommended that students successfully complete CLB 6 in listening, 6 in speaking, 5 in reading and 6 in writing.   These language benchmarks will support you in your efforts to prepare for the IETLS test.  Your ESL instructor will give in-class support to help you achieve these CLB levels and guide you as to whether you are ready to complete the test. St. Louis also has strong relationships with nearby Colleges and Universities that are testing sites.

St. Louis does not administer the IELTS tests.  You can visit the following websites to find information on testing locations and costs:

Home – IELTS Canada

Canada’s First Official IELTS Testing Centre. IELTS is a test developed by the world’s leading experts in language assessment on four key English language skills …

Although St. Louis no longer offers TOEFL test preparation classes, please visit the following websites for testing information and sites.

TOEFL: Home – Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEFL ® Talks. FREE webinars available in 6 languages. Learn about the TOEFL iBT test and test prep tools, and chat with a TOEFL expert. NEW — View Prerecorded Webinar

IELTS preparation classes are offered on an ongoing basis at St. Louis – St. Mary’s Campus, Monday to Friday, 12:30-3:00pm.

NOTE: Evening IELTS classes are closed effective Nov 11, 2021

Fees for IELTS preparation classes are FREE

**Current students who are visitors to Canada are welcome to attend at an additional cost

  • Visitor’s Materials Fee : $40
  • Visitor’s Hourly Fee: $7/hour

Canadian Citizens, Convention Refugees, Refugee Claimants, Permanent Residents or Landed Immigrants who are not a current ESL / LINC student at St. Louis,  and have had an assessment by the YMCA or a teacher in the last 2 years, please follow these steps:

Step 1: Contact the YMCA Language Assessment Centre – 519-579-9622 (Kitchener) / 519-621-1621 (Cambridge) to determine if your language assessment is eligible. (Visitors to Canada, contact St. Louis at 519-745-1201 directly.)

Step 2: If your English language skills shows Canadian Language Benchmarks are listening 6, speaking 6, reading 5, writing 6, you may be eligible to take the  IELTS preparation class.

Step 3: Register at St. Mary’s Campus for IELTS preparation class by emailing

For information contact St. Louis at 519-745-1201 ext 245; 229 or email