Students in Saudi Arabia could consider the UK as a great place to pursue education, whether at the boarding school level, for undergraduate studies or for post-graduate courses. To study in UK-based educational institutions, it is important for students to speak and understand English to the level that a syllabus or course requires. This level is set by the specific educational institution. However, most UK universities accept the IELTS results as proof of English proficiency.
IELTS or the International English Language Testing System is the world’s most popular and accepted English language test. The test is accepted in more than 10,000 organisations in over 140 countries, including the UK. It reflects how well a student can read, write, understand and speak English, to be able to study and work in an English-speaking environment.
If you wish to apply for a student visa (Tier 4) at a higher education institution to directly enter into a bachelors or post-graduate degree in the UK, or wish to obtain a work visa for a company based in the UK, you will be required a Saudi Arabia registration for the IELTS with the British Council in the Kingdom. All immigration authorities that require an English language test accept the IELTS scores.
IELTS Test in Saudi Arabia Information
Applicants need to understand that there are several test formats for the IELTS. If you are a student applying for any UK university, or require a work visa, please check which test format you will be required to appear for with the organisation you are applying to.
IELTS for UKVI
Generally, for immigration to the UK for study and employment purposes, applicants need to register for the IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). There are two categories of this test: Academic and General Training. The academic test is for the purpose of pursuing higher education, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The general training test is reserved for courses below the degree level or to work in any English speaking-nation, including the UK.
Many universities in the UK, particularly Tier-4 sponsors, accept IELTS results. This means that an applicant might not need to take the IELTS for UKVI test and can simply submit their IELTS results.
Both IELTS and IELTS for UKVI are similar in terms of format, level of difficulty and test scoring. However, the test report form is slightly different in case of IELTS for UKVI, which shows that the applicant has taken the test in one of the designated test locations, approved by the UK Home Office.
The British Council has approved the UKVI test centres across the world, including for the KSA. Test centres are located in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Al-Ahsa in Saudi Arabia. You will need to pay a fee for Saudi Arabia registrations for this test.
IELTS Life Skills A1
This test is applicable if an applicant is considering a visa application under the “family of a settled person” category. The test measures English language proficiency in practical day-to-day life scenarios.
IELTS Life Skills B1
This category is applicable for people who are applying for a UK visa for indefinite leave to remain in the country or for citizenship.
The tests can be administered in computer-delivered or paper-based formats in 14 locations across Saudi Arabia set up by the British Council. The council conducts these tests on specified dates at designated locations, which can be found on the British Council’s website.
Applicants can also choose to prepare for the tests through a huge variety of free and paid preparation materials, provided by the British Council. One could also choose to take reading, writing, listening and speaking practice tests to help score better on the IELTS.
How is the IELTS Test Conducted?
Applicants receive an email at least 3 days prior to the test date, notifying them of the test centre’s location, procedure and timing of the test. On the day of the test, the applicant need to bring with them:
- Identification proof (National ID card or passport)
- Pencil and a pen
- Transparent bottle of water
Baggage, food and mobile phones are not allowed inside the examination premises. Watches of all styles are also prohibited; there will be a clock at the test venue. It is important to carry the same ID document that was used whilst booking the test, since the staff will verify the same when the applicant arrives at the test centre.
The staff will also click a photograph on arrival of the applicant, as an added security measure. This photo will appear in the test report form. Applicants with special requirements need to notify the staff at the test venue, six weeks in advance, so that arrangements can be made accordingly.
Duration of the IELTS Tests
The listening, writing and reading tests are conducted for 2 hours 45 minutes. However, the computer-delivered listening test has slightly different timings than the paper-based test. This is because in the paper-based test, applicants require some time to transfer their answers to the answer sheet.
The speaking test could be scheduled on the same day as the other tests, or a week before or after. Applicants will be provided notification in advance via email, regarding the date and the venue. The speaking test is conducted in a face-to-face setting, with a trained IELTS examiner.
Saudi Arabia Registration for an IELTS for UKVI Test
To book an IELTS test, you need to follow 3 steps:
- Check the availability of your preferred date at the various test locations on the website.
- Create an account with the British Council. Guardians will need to book tests for applicants below the age of 18.
- Book the test and pay the fee.
Depending on which test you wish to appear for, you will need to click on the right Saudi Arabia registration link. Please make sure that you have a photo of your ID document available beforehand, which you need to upload to book the test. Payment can be made through a card or other online options.
To register for the IELTS for UKVI in Saudi Arabia, click on this link. Here, you will see separate links for General Training, Academic and Life Skills tests. After clicking on the appropriate link, you will be asked to choose:
- Country/Territory of the preferred test location
- Special arrangements, if needed, for the test; based on which your options for dates might get limited.
- Test month
- Separate links will be provided according to location and gender
- Test date on which you would like to appear. You will be shown whether a paper-based or computer-delivered test is available for your chosen location and date.
The test date and location will be shown, on Google Maps, once you finish the selections. However, your booking will not be fully confirmed until you go through the entire process. You will also receive a confirmation mail with all the details, at least 3 to 5 days prior to the test date. The British Council can choose to modify, discontinue or replace your selected preferences.
The test date chosen above is for the listening, writing and reading test. After this, you will be redirected to choose a date for the speaking test. It could be on the same day as the other tests, or you could choose a different date. After this, you will be asked to create an account with the British Council (if you do not already have one). For this, you will need to provide:
- Date of Birth
- Email Address
After you create an account and login with your credentials, you will need to specify other details, such as your address, mobile number and whether you are booking the test for yourself or a minor dependent. Upload your ID document and pay the mentioned amount for the tests to complete your registration. You can cancel your Saudi Arabia registration any time before you take the test, by intimating your test centre beforehand.
Checking Scores for tor IELTS
In case of a paper based test, you can check your scores after 13 calendar days from the date of test on the Test Taker Portal. For computer-based tests, results are available within 5 to 7 calendar days. These results remain online for 28 days.
However, remember that universities and colleges will require original copies of your Test Report Form. The Test Report Form can be delivered directly to the UK University you are applying to by the British Council, irrespective of whether it is a paper-based or computer-based test. The British Council can send up to 5 additional copies of this report. If you need more than that, you will need to pay an administrative fee per copy for airmail and international courier.
The IELTS test is a compulsory step towards obtaining a UK visa for study and work purposes. It is a useful test, if you are interested in advancing your career in an English-speaking nation. The test is accepted worldwide as a standard for English language proficiency.
For more queries on the IELTS in relation to application for a UK visa, contact Saudi Able Link at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will answer all your queries within 48 hours of receiving them. You could also consider filling our contact form, which will be instantly received by one of our visa consultants. Or else, please call us at 0207 096 1985.