What is the IELTS Indicator Test?

With IELTS testing limited or suspended in certain countries to ensure the safety of test-takers and IELTS examiners during COVID-19, the IELTS Indicator test was developed to ensure that as many students as possible can move forward with their plans to study abroad. 

The original IELTS Academic test gauges conversational English language proficiency and is an admission requirement for many English-speaking post-secondary institutions. IELTS Indicator follows the same standards, format, and timing as the original IELTS Academic test, but is completed by the test-taker online from home.

An Indicative Score

Illustration of pencil shavingsIELTS Indicator is not a substitute for the standard in-person IELTS Academic test and is an interim test designed to provide an indicative score only. While IELTS Indicator is not universally accepted, the good news is that many schools are allowing it to fulfill a student’s English language proficiency requirement.

We have included a list below highlighting ApplyBoard partner schools that accept IELTS Indicator. However, you should consult your ApplyBoard Representative for the most up-to-date information to determine whether the school(s) you’re applying to accept IELTS Indicator.

You may be required to take the in-person IELTS Academic test when testing centres reopen.

Read: “5 Best IELTS Preparation Books for International Students”

IELTS Indicator Test Format

As previously mentioned, IELTS Indicator follows the format of the standard IELTS Academic test and is divided into the same four sections:


  • 30 minutes 
  • 40 questions 


  • 60 minutes
  • 40 questions 


  • 60 minutes
  • 20 tasks 


  • 11–14 minutes
  • 3 tasks over video conferencing

Frequently Asked Questions

Illustration of test results with ribbonHow long is IELTS Indicator available?
IELTS Indicator will only be available for a limited time. The online version of the test was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and while certain testing centres remain closed.

How often is IELTS Indicator held?
IELTS Indicator is held once a week.

Can I take a break during IELTS Indicator?
No, you will not be permitted to take a break during the 2 hour and 45 minute test. However, the Speaking portion of the test will be completed separately on a video call with an IELTS examiner.

How can I book the IELTS Indicator?
You can book your IELTS Indicator test online on the official IELTS Indicator website.

What if IELTS Indicator isn’t available in my country?
If IELTS Indicator isn’t available in your country, you will have to book the in-person IELTS Academic test.

What do I need to take the IELTS Indicator?
IELTS recommends test-takers have access to the following:

  • A reliable internet connection
  • A laptop or desktop computer that adheres to the minimum and recommended system requirements
  • Speakers and a microphone
  • A camera that is turned on for the length of the test
  • The photo ID, such as a passport or driver’s license, that you used to register for IELTS Indicator, readily accessible throughout the test

When will I receive my IELTS Indicator results?
You will receive the results of your IELTS Indicator test within seven days. Your results will include an indicative score for each of the four sections and an overall band score.

Discover: “5 Best IELTS Practice Tests for International Students”

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ApplyBoard Partner Schools Accepting IELTS Indicator

The following ApplyBoard partner schools across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom currently accept the IELTS Indicator test:


United States

United Kingdom

Haven’t taken an English Language Proficiency (ELP) test? Explore schools that allow you to submit ELP test scores later.

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