For the first time ever in a single 12 month period, more than one million people around the world (or two every minute) have gained certification in the world’s most popular English language test for immigration and higher education - The International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
Topping the results league table were those whose first language was Tagalog - spoken in the Philippines - with an overall score of 6.571 across the four papers (listening, reading, writing and speaking). They were closely followed by Spanish, Malay, Hindi and Tamil (spoken widely in Southern India and Sri Lanka) speakers. From a country perspective Germany tops the list - its residents scored an average of 7.16 - followed by Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia and Hong Kong.
Results also show that female candidates have the slight edge on their male counterparts with an overall score of 5.94 across the papers compared with 5.74 for men.
Just over half of those taking the test (51%) do so because they wish to enter higher education in a foreign country. An increasing number of these candidates are doing so to study in the USA with more than 1,700 universities and colleges (including Harvard and Yale) accepting IELTS scores.
Beryl Meiron, Executive Director of IELTS International in the USA said: "This is the first year that IELTS has reached the one million mark and the number of candidates taking the test has more than doubled in the last three years. We believe this is a direct reflection of the fact that it gives a well rounded picture of how well a person really knows English. It covers the speaking, writing, reading and listening abilities in a way that is relevant to the real world. It’s not just about giving our students a piece of paper saying they can speak English but it’s about proving that they have the language skills they need to operate in a work or study environment in their country of choice."
IELTS is offered in over 500 locations in 121 countries with the greatest number of tests taken in China, India, Australia, UK and Pakistan, making IELTS the most popular international English language test of its kind in the world.