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The basics of IELTS Life Skills test to move to UK

Posted on January 5, 2021
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IELTS Coaching

When it comes to proving language skills for immigration, IELTS is a popular choice of test people take. There are many areas that you get trained for in an IELTS coaching program.

A new variant of the IELTS test that suits the requirements of UK immigration is the IELTS Life Skills test. This test is offered by the IELTS partners namely:

  • IDP (IELTS Australia)
  • The British Council
  • Cambridge Assessment English

The test is available at 3 CEFR levels namely A1, A2, and B2. The test is designed in a way to meet UKVI’s requirements for certain visa categories and other immigration purposes.

How should you choose which level of IELTS Life Skill test you must take? Here’s how to decide:

Purpose Skill test level
Visa application made for a settled person’s family to UKVI IELTS Life Skills Level A1
Visa application made for a settled person’s family to get a visa extension to UKVI IELTS Life Skills Level A2
Applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK or for citizenship to UKVI IELTS Life Skills Level B1

To make your IELTS training more meaningful, here is a look at the areas that you are expected to focus on for each skill Level:

Skill Level A1


·       Listen and respond to speech in English which will include statements, simple narratives, single-step instructions, and questions

·       Communicate in English basic information, opinions, and feelings on topics that are familiar

·       Talk with another person about familiar topics in a familiar situation

Tasks included

·       stating preferences

·       agreeing and disagreeing

·       suggesting

·       describing

·       giving personal information

·       making decisions

·       asking for information or descriptions

·       commenting

·       selecting

·       giving opinions

·       Explaining, justifying, or giving reasons

Skill Level B1


·       Listen and respond to speech in English that includes narratives and information, and follow instructions and explanations

·       Communicate information, opinions, and feelings on familiar topics using formality as is appropriate

·       Engage in conversation with one or more people, making relevant points, and give responses to what others say to reach a shared understanding about topics that are familiar

Additional to tasks for A1, the tasks included are

·       comparing

·       narrating

·       persuading

·       prioritizing

·       expressing future certainty or possibility

·       showing cause, contrast, reason, or purpose

·       planning

·       asking about events in the past or future

The 4 areas where assessment is done in the IELTS Life Skills test are:

  • conveying information
  • obtaining information
  • engaging in discussion
  • speaking to communicate

How the test is organized

  • In part 1, you have to ask and answer questions on topics that are familiar to you.
  • Part 2 there is a combined task involving listening and speaking.
  • At levels A1 and B1, you will listen to a task played to you on a CD.
  • Completing the task demonstrates your ability to listen to both the general meaning and detail.
  • You will say your answers, and you are allowed to make notes on paper as you listen to the CD.
  • This round will be followed by a discussion on a theme related to the content you were given to listen to on the CD.
  • At the B1 level, there is an additional task to plan an activity with another candidate.

Test duration

A1: 16 to 18 minutes

B1: 22 minutes.

The test result will either be a pass or fail. The result will be available within a week of the test. The test dates will be available within 28 days at permanent locations. At pop-up locations, test dates will be available quarterly.

Upon failing the test once, you can retry the test any number of times.

If you found this blog engaging, you may also like…

Scoring pattern in IELTS exam – A quick walkthrough


CEFR – Common European Framework of Reference

UKVI – UK Visas and Immigration

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