How to Pass IELTS – The International English Language Testing System

Having a good command of the English language is essential for those hoping to move here.

The Australian Government use the International English Language Testing System, or IELTS as it is known, to assess the English language skills of applicants looking to move to Australia. For many applicants the minimum requirement may be grade 6 across all four tests, for others though, the pass mark could be even higher.

It is an area in which many potential migrants to Australia struggle. In the past I have offered here on this page and e-book which I reviewed and felt was very good, but feedback has quite rightly suggested that the 60 page book format wasn’t the most suitable learning platform for the IELTS test.

So I have address that problem and I am delighted to announce my partnership with IELTS Online, and again before offering this to you I have thoroughly reviewed what they have on offer here.

ielts_onlineWelcome to IELTS Online

IELTS Online was established in 2005 to provide IELTS test candidates with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to sit the IELTS exam.

I’ve had a good look around the members area on your behalf and I am very impressed with the layout, the attention to each of the four modules and the study plan itself.

Whether you are taking the Academic or General Training IELTS test for the first time or looking to improve your score with a repeat test, this course is suitable for you.

IELTS Master and IELTS Express

IELTS Online can offer you two convenient ways to prepare for the IELTS test online: IELTS Master and IELTS Express. Both courses have been created by experienced English language course developers and IELTS test tutors and are highly successful in helping students succeed in the IELTS test.

Why choose IELTS Online?

  • 100% online!
  • Proven systems and techniques that really work
  • High student satisfaction rate
  • Flash movies with audio and transcripts
  • Practice tests under simulated exam conditions

Your enrolment includes:

  • Interactive course of instruction covering all IELTS modules
  • Practice tests in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking
  • Study tools, Web broadcasts & other resources
  • Native English speakers in all lessons and practice labs

IELTS Online courses are suitable for people with at least an intermediate level of English (approximately IELTS Band 5 or TOEFL 520 equivalent). See below for information on the courses available.

A detailed and comprehensive online course offering extensive preparation and practice for the IELTS test.

  • Practice tests in all 4 modules; Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking
  • More than 300 activities in over 1500 web pages of content
  • 500 pages of teaching material
  • Detailed feedback and model answers for all questions
  • Over 5 hours of audio recordings
  • Test tips and study strategies in all modules
  • Recording tools to practice your speaking online
  • Online Tutors (as an optional extra) to give you detailed feedback on your assessment tasks

90 Days Access for just $99.00

Enrol Now

IELTS Express is an online course designed for people who want to quickly prepare for the IELTS test.

  • Familiarise yourself with the format of the IELTS test
  • Two full practice IELTS tests
  • Over 100 interactive activities in over 200 web pages of content
  • Learning materials and practice tasks in all four modules

     45 Days Access for just $49.00

Or you can choose to add detailed feedback on your assessment tasks with the option of IELTS Master Plus, full details available by clicking on ‘Enrol Now’ below.

Enrol Now

I have spoken to people and also had many emails and comments from those who have taken this test several times and failed. It’s not cheap either, I believe it cost something like $300 a go. One reader said he’d failed it eight times!

That’s a lot of money down the drain.

Fortunately, enrolling in this online study course will hardly dent your wallet at all by comparison.

If you need to take your IELTS exam and you want to massively improve your chances of passing, I highly recommend that you check this out.

Enrol Now


What is the IELTS test really like?

To find out, take a look at an article written by one of my readers:

Update December 2016:

IELTS isn’t for everybody though, so if you are struggling with this test, it might be worth looking at the other options. There is some chat in the comments below about this, and quite a few people have had much better results with Pearson PTE.

This, according to my MARA migration agent, is a full list of acceptable English-language tests as at this moment in time:


Visa Assessment Service
{ 99 comments… add one }
  • Sunil Reddy October 15, 2018, 8:28 pm |

    Hey Bob,

    I never got a chance to thank you, my PR journey started with BobInOz page, since then I have guided my friends to check your website in their endeavour for migration to Australia, its a Bible for people who want to migrate to Oz. It’s been more than 3 years since I received my PR and referred your site back in 2013, today I feel relieved to have thanked you for helping me in this journey.

    Thanks a ton!!!


    • BobinOz October 16, 2018, 6:53 pm |

      Thanks Sunil, glad to have helped and I appreciate the acknowledgement and all the referrals to your friends.

      Hope you continue to enjoy life here in Australia, it’s now 11 years for me, and I’m still loving it.

      Cheers, Bob

  • ed oraliza November 19, 2017, 9:13 pm |

    hi bob,
    should i pass all component of an english test of pte to be granted for a 457 visa? how anout if i failed one of them?

    • BobinOz November 20, 2017, 8:43 pm |

      Well, I know that you do certainly have to pass all components in the IELTS test, so I’m pretty sure it will be the same for Pearson’s.

      It might be worth asking this same question over on my page about taking the test…

      As a few people over there have said they’ve taken the Pearson’s test and so hopefully one of them can provide you with the answer.

  • Christiane June 27, 2017, 7:18 pm |

    Hi guys, I just did the TOEFL test for my 457 visa and want to share my experience with you. I chose the TOEFL as all IELTS test dates in my area were booked out for the next weeks. IELTS and TOEFL are pretty similiar. The biggest difference is the speaking part. In IELTS you speak to an actual person whereas in TOEFL you speak into the computer at the same time as everyone else taking the test. This is really the hardest part since you have to concentrate really hard to focus on your speaking part. The total test time was about 4h with a 10 min break inbetween. This was really exhausting.
    I scored with only 3 afternoons of learning and familiarizing myself with the structure of the test 104/120 points. The minimum points for 457 are 36/120 (equivalent to 4,5 for IELTS).
    The test starts with a reading part. You get a 3-4 one-page texts which could be part of a university lecture. Then you get several multiple choice questions about the text. The answers are often only slightly different so you have to be careful. Then the listening part starts. You here a few converations or lecturers and have to answer questions about it afterwards. So you have to take notes while you listen. After the listening part is a 10 min break and then the speaking part starts which is for most people the hardest part. The last part is writing. There you have to write a 300 word essay about a given topic.
    The TOEFL test is not easy. I would say even a native speaker who is not the brightest candle on the cake would not pass it. But if you are used to reading, listening, speaking and writing English in your everyday or working life you should have no problem to pass.
    My biggest advice is to familiarize yourself with the structure of the test and take a couple of the free tests you can find online!

    • BobinOz June 28, 2017, 8:35 pm |

      Hi Christiane

      Thanks for this feedback on the TOEFL test, we’ve heard a lot about the IELTS test and also there’s been much talk about the Pearson’s test as well, but so far not much on TOEFL so I’m sure your information will be very handy to some people.

      Sounds like a tough test though, and long at four hours with only 10 minutes rest. Congrats on your result, sounds like a great score and way over what you needed. Thanks also for the tips, and I agree, I think it’s essential to do some the free tests online to get an idea of what you’re in for.

      My advice to anybody would be if they take one of these tests and then they find it really hard and fail, maybe look at one of the other tests as they are all quite different. Thanks, Bob

  • John December 14, 2016, 7:17 am |

    Hi Guys, I’m a nurse and i scored 40 on the points test so i had to achieve ‘superior English’ to make it up to the full 60 for EOI. I booked the IELTS as initially i thought it was the only way, however a MARA agent told me i would probably fare better with PTE Academic. I looked on their website and they had a test date 2 days prior to the IELTS so i booked that too. I did a lot of research re the format of both tests. The general consensus was that if you are a native speaker and can familiarise yourself with the format of PTE you shouldn’t have a problem. There are lots of tutorial videos on youtube which i watched. I rocked up on the day and during the first (speaking) part of the test, i thought i had made a mess of it….i had beads of sweat running down my glasses and i almost walked out of the room i was that sure i had failed already! I decided to stay and just treat it as experience so i knew what to expect next time. Incredibly i got my results less than 48 hrs later and i scored 90 90 90 90. My advice….defo go PTE but watch the videos and use the tips and you will pass.

    • BobinOz December 14, 2016, 8:42 pm |

      Crikey, that’s a result, congrats! I’m assuming you are not the same John that’s been commenting below? He and Mark have been talking about this, Mark’s a big fan of the Pearson’s test and I suspect you are as well now.

      Interesting that you feel it suits native speakers who are prepared for the format, good advice for those who need to grab some extra points for English. Looks like I need to update this post to include the other options, because clearly IELTS isn’t for everyone.

      Thanks for letting us know about your experiences with this test, and good luck, Bob

    • John December 15, 2016, 6:13 am |

      Hi Bob,

      No, I’m a different John! There are a number of different English tests that DIBP and skills assessing authorities accepts, IELTS is the oldest and most established so most people just go for that. I can’t comment on it because i have no experience of it, but when researching it online it would seem that PTE seems to be the favoured method of testing. The main difference is that the IELTS is done in a written pencil and paper format, with a person interviewing you for the spoken part. The PTE is completely computerised, so you sit there at a computer station with a headset/microphone and away you go. I have read of people having to sit the IELTS multiple times, at £155 a pop, waiting 2 weeks for results. The PTE costs the same but the results are sent via email much quicker, i got mine less than 2 days after the test. The PTE is assessed by a computer program as opposed to a person, where it could depend on how strict the marker is. The only drawback with the PTE would be if you’re not used to using a computer and able to type relatively fast. Having said that if you’ve failed IELTS, give it a go!

      • Mark December 15, 2016, 3:32 pm |

        Hi John Different one congratulations on your 60 its so hard sitting in front of an examiner for your 20 points..its neither hoop to jump through but its a tough hoop. Yes Bob is correct I am a big fan of Pearson’s over Ielts.. I guess what swung it for me was an invigilator one day at an IELTS, Cambridge educated no less I later learnt. Green tweed waistcoat brown jacket and and yellow tie. if you can picture him, a proper scholar as someone may say. Anyway he said after one sitting…to a lady very upset, that even he was and I quote ‘perplexed as to what answer they wanted’ to the question / section she was upset about. He wasn’t saying it for empathy to be given, he was not the sort.

        Yes you have to be ready for the format I didn’t prepare but spend my life talking on conference calls and dictating things…You have to be not put off either. I am technically not a native speaker as I grew up in the USA though you could argue as its an American test I am but I am frequently pulled up for my use of grammar by my wife a schoolteacher yet I get by in my profession.

        Anyway well done good luck with your visa unless your already here.

        • BobinOz December 16, 2016, 4:27 pm |

          I’ve now added an update to the foot of the above page with a list of all the currently acceptable English language tests available. Pearson PTE, it seems, would be a good choice for many people.

  • John Ackerman November 1, 2016, 6:44 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    I wondered if you could give me your opinion on the current scenario I am in please, I am a UK resident who is applying for Australian skilled work visa as an Electrician, and I am struggling to achieve the required score of 8 in my IELTS, so far I have achieved 7.5… close! But I am considering if its worth using my current score for State sponsorship application, as opposed to the visa that allows me access in any state of Oz, and that Melbourne, Victoria is our preferred destination. Because this is not on the state sponsorship list, but Southern Australia is, and bearing in mind Melbourne is a preferred destination, under the stress, time and effort to achieve just an extra half mark, it may be worth considering Adelaide as a suitable destination, however its hard to decide this important decision, what is your experience/knowledge in comparison to these 2 destinations in relation to house prices and availability for work (I appreciate its hard to answer the latter), one would presume that as Electricians are on the state sponsorship in S Australia that this may mean that they are in more demand and therefor it would be easier to find a job.
    I did backpack in Australia in 1999, hence for Melbourne being the preferd choice, but then things may have progressed in what seemed a quiet city of Adelaide.
    Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.
    By the way great web site, it has proved to be very helpful since the start of our application.
    Kind regards

    • BobinOz November 2, 2016, 12:17 am |

      Hi John

      Well, I can’t advise you on visa applications, only MARA migration agents are allowed to do that, but I can tell you that it is extremely difficult to get work in Adelaide at the moment. If you check my main page about Adelaide and in particular the comments, you will see just how hard it is in that state to find work.

      So if finding work is very important to you, you really should try and stick with your plans to go to Melbourne as the situation there is much better.

      What might be a better idea is to look at an alternative English language testing system, I’ve heard from several sources that the Pearson’s Test is a better option than IELTS.

      Check it out for yourself, speak to a MARA migration agent if you have to or look up the list of acceptable English-language tests on the government’s immigration website to check what you need for the points. This would be what I would do if I were you. Hope that helps and good luck, Bob

      • Mark November 2, 2016, 1:49 pm |

        John Ill second all day long what Bob has wrote but reason for my ten penne’th is take the Pearson test I’m assuming its still valid.. Give you an idea. around 30 people all attending Burton Ielts. No one was passing, always .0.5 away in one or other category. We talk to each other learn from the frustrations A lawyer needed 9 you think 8.00 is bad…We all one weekend April last year talked about Pearson new in November 2014 but took tull April 2015 to become chat fodder so to speak. Id say 75% of us passed in the following weeks with Pearson’s Its not because its over easy its not Its just more sensible, more open, not talking about a subject you may know nothing about. I personally out of 90 scored a 87 88 89 90 as its 4 sections . Its similar price though its in the week usually or was and just you at a computer. First one can be weird, I passed first go though others didn’t so do t again its not like taking the IELTS as most of us did around 8 or 9 times. Id like ti think three goes on a Pearson you will have passed, results are quicker as well. Please let us know how you go on. I can also heartily recommend Melbourne and especially down the peninsular.

        • John November 2, 2016, 6:32 pm |

          Hi Mark,

          Many thanks for your advise, its much appreciated and very useful.
          Kind regards, John

        • John December 3, 2016, 7:37 pm |

          Hi Mark,

          In response to your last message on the 2nd November, unfortunately I didn’t particularly like the structure of the Pearson test, against the IELTS, so no surprise I did not achieve the score I required (90) for a 189/190 for Victoria, hence took another go at IELTS and received the results yesterday,… no luck again, but to be honest I’m happy with my original results, (7.5,7.5,7.5, & 9) which is enough to get us state sponsorship for NSW, so here we go, all ships ahoy, I instructed my agent to start the EOI for NSW. As to where to live, I lived in Bondi Beach as a backpacker in 1999, but that was different then in my younger day, and renting accommodation between 7 of us was feasible, so am unsure where to choose as a place to live/work in NSW as it’s a BIG state, so I’ve got some research to do! Probably north or south of the City out of the high priced house market, and rat run of a central city, although I appreciate that’s where most of the work is!

          Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

          • Mark December 3, 2016, 8:07 pm |

            Wow You needed 90 that’s full marks not one mistake on a Pearson’s test or at least it was when I did it and even though I came close a full 90 90 90 90 would be very hard …I’m guessing if you was stood in front of me id be saying are you sure that’s right (in a very nice way) … My wife was our lead and needed 80 across all 4 for VIC…Anyway well done sounds like you have everything in place to submit EOI now… Then the chaos starts, good fun though and well done…Been to Sydney but I’m not well placed to answer your local questions however I am sure someone will…Enjoy what might be your last Christmas UK… .

      • John November 2, 2016, 6:29 pm |

        Hi Bob

        Many thanks for the prompt response, that’s very helpful information, and I have also heard that the Pearson version test is a better option, which i have a test booked for tomoroow.
        My application is also via a MARA agency, just to make things easier.
        Many thanks, John

        • Mark November 2, 2016, 9:10 pm |

          All the best with your test John

  • josef May 25, 2016, 11:31 pm |

    Dear Bob, thank you again for this useful website. just one quick question. i have applied for a skilled visa 189 and i have the needed points by myself. my wife is coming with me and she needs just functional english. can she do the IELTS test after i apply for the visa, while they are checking my application , or she needs the IELTS average of 4.5 result before i submit my application in the immi account ?

    Thank you again for your time

    • BobinOz May 26, 2016, 6:19 pm |

      I’m afraid that isn’t a question I can answer, you would either need to speak to your case officer about it or a MARA registered migration agent to find out what the process is. Good luck, Bob

  • shubham April 23, 2016, 10:16 pm |

    Hi ,

    I have one query . I am on Visa 457 and my wife came here with me on dependent visa .
    After moving here she also got Permanent job . Now we are planning to apply for PR . Can you please advice about Ielts exam ,weather we both have to give or is it optional for one or any one can give .

    please advice

    • BobinOz April 25, 2016, 4:26 pm |

      Ah, that’s a question about visa applications and eligibility, I can’t answer those, please see Would I Qualify?

  • Claire January 18, 2016, 11:06 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    I’ve had my MARA assessment back today, and need to complete the ielts test which unfortunately for me in my profession means the academic tests… Do you know if the master or express packages above cover the academic tests?

    Now to scare my toddler a bit more with pics of bad crocodiles, nasty sharks, scary snakes and naughty spiders…. Being a 2 year old boy he seems to have no fear!

    Thank you in advance,


    • BobinOz January 19, 2016, 10:21 pm |

      Academic, lucky you:-) I’d be very surprised if they cover it somehow, but you’d get a more accurate response from them. It was so long ago that I reviewed these courses, I really can’t remember. Might be worth sending them a quick support ticket.

      Don’t forget about the crocs, I’m sure your little boy will want to know all about them as well.

  • karl December 11, 2015, 10:43 pm |

    hello im a metal fabricator on a 457 by an agency they can not nominate me for pr at all so ill have to sit the exam iv had 3 friends an people i worked with who didnt reach the correct marks that they needed id class one or two alot smarter then me and just think im going to be wasting my time and coin sitting it im from ireland and i speak english i do think this is just a big money racket has anyone actually passed it at all out there i havent heard of anyone ??

    • BobinOz December 14, 2015, 6:50 pm |

      Yes, people do pass it, I’ve seen certificates and I’ve spoken to people who have passed it. The guy who wrote this article passed it, and quite a few people writing comments there have passed it as well.

      Read his tips, they will help. Good luck, Bob

  • mohammadali October 24, 2015, 12:32 am |

    hello everyone
    as far as I know british council and idp australia are the holders of ielts test.
    and it has a 2 year credit from the date of issue hence after expiration you must sit ielts again if there is any need for it.
    moreover for applying to the DIAC (department of immigration and border protection) and the assessment authorities like: EA,VETASSESS,… it is required to have minimum of 6 score in each band (listening,speaking,reading,writing).
    here are the the points awarded for the ielts score:
    6 in each band= 0
    7 in each band= 10
    8 in each band= 20
    having said that both general and academic modules of ielts are accepted.
    best regards

    • BobinOz October 26, 2015, 11:07 pm |

      Thanks for the info, just wanted to add that academic IELTS is a much harder exam and very rarely required. Be sure to check which exam you need to take because to take the academic version when you don’t need it would not be a good idea.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Osman September 16, 2015, 8:47 pm |

    Tanks a lot..
    How can i get god result ?

    • BobinOz September 17, 2015, 12:09 am |

      Well, it’s thanks not tanks and good not god, and it should be I not i, so there’s a start for you 🙂

      I’m just kidding with you, if you want an advantage taking this test, consider signing up as advised in the above article. Good luck, Bob

      • Kazi January 15, 2016, 4:40 pm |

        Hi bobinOz
        I have ielts score 6 overal in academic module but in 2 skills i have gotten 5.5?
        Do you think it is ok?
        Would you please help me?

        • BobinOz January 18, 2016, 2:36 am |

          Depends what you need for the visa type you’re going for, you are best off talking to a MARA agent about this.

  • BobinOz June 10, 2015, 9:38 pm |

    Your post has now gone live djmcbell, the link to it has replaced your original comment on it here. It’s an excellent post and I am also proud to have it on my website. Thanks for your input, very much appreciated.

    I encourage anyone reading this thread to go over and take a look, it’s well worth a read. And if any of you have taken the IELTS, like you have Martin, and want to add further tips and advice in the comments over on that page then that will just help people further who need to take this test.

    Cheers, Bob

  • BobinOz May 25, 2015, 9:09 pm |

    Martin, thanks for this, I’ve learned something here. Firstly, I hadn’t really realised that it was DIBP who were the ones that stipulate the lowest score across all four equals your result, I thought it was a general IELTS thing.

    Secondly, I thought the more you scored the more points you got and in part that is correct, but DIBP do give the maximum score of 20 points whether you get an 8 or a 9 or even a 10, if that’s ever possible.

    So thanks for clearing that up and djmcbell, I have to retract my “I hate to say it…” statement because I was wrong, and congratulations, you have an excellent score and achieve maximum results.

    Obviously you knew that, it was just me 🙂

    • Martin May 26, 2015, 12:37 am |

      No problem, I guess it’s never too late to learn something new 😉
      9.0 is their max score or I would have been back to them for a recount :p

      • BobinOz May 26, 2015, 6:34 pm |

        Well, given that they don’t do a 10, I’d say you both did rather well indeed. I think I need to be very careful about what I write, otherwise you two guys will be correcting my grammar 🙂

        • djmcbell May 26, 2015, 8:03 pm |

          Don’t worry, I think any grammar police would be kept busy by the Daily Mail for years before they got here! 😀

          In any case, I was wondering whether you’d like a “guest” article, Bob, based on IELTS and what it involves, the actual testing process etc?

          • BobinOz May 27, 2015, 9:12 pm |

            Well, you’ve already given us a quite comprehensive rundown in your comment above on 11 May, but if you want to write a proper post I’d be more than happy to publish it, especially as this was something I didn’t need to go through.

            Obviously if I had have had to take IELTS, I would have got a 9 as well 🙂 🙂

            • djmcbell June 4, 2015, 7:11 pm |

              Get ready for the longest post ever! I can’t be bothered emailing it over so do with this what you will!

              Bobinoz says…

              Yes, it was a very long post and I did do with it ‘what you will!” I thought it was that good that I gave it its own page on my website as you will see from our conversation which continues below.

              To see exactly what djmcbell said, take a look at…

              What’s It Really like to Take the IELTS Test?

              • Martin June 5, 2015, 3:07 pm |

                Excellent post djmcbell! That is a pretty comprehensive round up! I would add just a couple of things that happened during my exam.

                1: My speaking test was a few days before the exam. That has its good and bad points, for me it meant an extra day off work which wasn’t ideal. As I understand it could also be a few days after the exam.

                2: You could bring a bottle of water but you had to peel off the label! That threw a few people as well as the watch issue.

                On another note I received an invitation to apply last night ? so I guess I need to move to a new thread as the process continues!

                • djmcbell June 5, 2015, 4:52 pm |

                  Good luck Martin – we’re trying to complete the application for the industry body who will assess me (in fact I think we’ve completed and sent it off) and are just getting all the stuff together for the visa application itself.

                  • BobinOz June 7, 2015, 8:08 pm |

                    On March 5, 2013 at 7:57 am Kim posted a comment, you can read it here, and it had 2171 words. Your comment has 2221 words, but is it the longest comment ever?

                    When I answered Kim’s comment I said “I was tempted to say it’s probably the longest comment on this blog, but I have a feeling in the back of my mind that somebody, at some point, posted an incredibly long comment with something like 3000 words.

                    Now the reason I knew in my mind that there was a comment with 3000 words in it is because the longest post on this website was my rant against Telstra which had 2864 words and I know for sure this person’s comment beat it. I also know that their comment was also a rant against something, I don’t remember what it was though.

                    So the longest comment is out there somewhere, if anyone comes across it, I’d be interested to know what it was about myself. 🙂

                    Anyway djmcbell, I’m afraid you haven’t just written the longest post ever, but you did come remarkably close. That said, the other long posts are all rants of sorts, yours is a very helpful and informative post and I thank you for taking the time to do it.

                    In fact it’s so useful that I think it should be an official post rather than a comment, so I’m going to give it its own page on Wednesday. This is the kind of information that’s very useful for anyone planning to take their IELTS exam and I know that quite a few people do skip the comments after reading a post and I don’t want people to miss this one.

                    So, thanks for giving me Wednesday night off, I appreciate it 🙂

                    Cheers, Bob

                    • BobinOz June 7, 2015, 9:00 pm |

                      @Martin, this is the thread you probably need to look at – EOI

                    • djmcbell June 9, 2015, 5:48 pm |

                      Oh I am proud.

                      One quick note – on the Listening exam, you obviously can’t ask for the recording to be paused or rewound. In fact, you’d probably be kicked out for interrupting.

                      I’ve just received the go-ahead from the industry body I had to apply for, so I’m officially employable too! Yay me!

  • Martin May 13, 2015, 6:24 pm |

    BooYa! IELTS off the to do list 🙂
    9.0 across the board! I surprised myself!
    I English not so bad me thinks 🙂

    Next step EOI, I feel like I should drop everything at work and go celebrate but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. All of this is just to have a chance at being considered for a visa.

    • BobinOz May 14, 2015, 6:13 pm |

      9.0? That’s a pretty dandy score Martin, you probably now have more points than you know what to do with 🙂

      Good luck with your next stage, hope it goes well. You might want to read my page about it over at EOI.

      • Martin May 14, 2015, 8:37 pm |

        Thanks Bob, way ahead of you 🙂
        It’s a great feeling, we went from “maybe we could get this or that visa, if we get sponsorship” to “What visa should we choose?”! The ball is most certainly in our court now 🙂

        • BobinOz May 15, 2015, 8:48 pm |

          Nice position to be in Martin, Hope to see you here in Australia sometime soon.

          • djmcbell May 22, 2015, 9:35 pm |

            My IELTS have just come through (or at least the provisional ones). Not quite as good as Martin’s (9.0’s in everything but Writing, where I got an 8.0) but it’s more than required and gives me an overall of 9.0!

            • Martin May 22, 2015, 11:03 pm |

              Congratulations djmcbell! I believe that means you have superior English and a bucket of points in the bag 🙂 I just submitted the EOI last night. There was an invitation round today but not yet. It’s a bit like when I play lotto, which isn’t often, but when I do I expect to win 🙂

              • djmcbell May 23, 2015, 12:11 am |

                Not quite at that stage yet Martin – we’ve got a few other things to do first with our visa, as a specialist industry body has to go through my application and see whether I’m employable.

                • Martin May 23, 2015, 2:27 am |

                  One step at a time. It’s a bit of a roller coaster with spikes that could go up or down and lots of flat sections in between while you wait for the next spike 🙂 best of luck with your assessment!

                  • BobinOz May 24, 2015, 8:43 pm |

                    I hate to say it djmcbell, but as I understand it, you do not have an overall 9, it is not an average. Your lowest score out of the four tests is what counts for the overall test, so I think you have 8.

                    • Martin May 24, 2015, 11:07 pm |

                      Well your half right. They do give you a band score which is the avg of the 4 parts. Maybe other countries or universities would set this as their pass mark. As for Oz DIBP, they are only concerned with your lowest result in each part. Lucky for djmcbell an 8 is as good as a 9 as far as they are concerned 🙂

                    • djmcbell May 26, 2015, 5:07 pm |

                      In actuality, it is an overall 9.0 (according to the official results I received in the post the other day) so yay me!

  • djmcbell May 11, 2015, 6:20 pm |

    I thought I’d leave a quick comment regarding the IELTS. I took mine a few days ago (I need all 7’s, minimum, in the General Training test – there were some people there who needed 8’s).

    I must confess that I didn’t do a huge amount of practice beforehand – I did one of each of the practice papers from the official IELTS website.

    One thing to remember is that there doesn’t seem to be any specific revision you can do beforehand – it is simply examining your capability of using the English language in four different ways:

    Listening – you will listen to a few pre-recorded conversations in English and have to answer questions. You can answer the questions whilst the recording is going on and, generally, the questions and answers are in the same order. The questions can range from simple things such as “what time is the uptown bus?”, to ones which require greater understanding such as “what disadvantage does this restaurant have?”, whilst giving a list of answers which are not phrased the same as in the recording (e.g. “small portions”, when the recording says “the meals were small”).

    Reading – you will be given an hour to look through a question paper and answer questions based on the texts within it. Normally the questions are in the same order you’d find their answers in, but not necessarily. Ensure to read the instructions as they will tell you what to write (e.g. “write no more than two words from the text”). You will often have to complete sentences or decide on which heading is most appropriate for a paragraph of text, or label a diagram.

    Writing – you will have two things to write – with mine, the first one was a letter, and the second was an essay – and a “minimum number of words” (again, for mine the first was 150, the second 250). The larger one is worth more marks. I would read both questions so that, if like me you start with the first question, you can think about what to write for the second question at the same time. This one takes an hour.

    Speaking – a conversation about a variety of topics, which should take about 10-15 minutes. I can’t really give any advice about this, other than to try and be as clear as possible.

    For the first three tests (Listening, Reading and Writing) you are able to write in the question paper, then copy over to your answer paper. I did this for the Listening (as it’s easy to just write the answer next to the question during the recording) and the Reading. In the Listening you’re given a bit of time to copy your answers over, in the Reading you’re expected to do it within the hour. Same for the Writing, but for the Writing I just wrote straight onto the answer sheet.

    If you have time during the tests (especially during Reading and Writing), check your answers. Don’t sit there twiddling your thumbs (which a few people in mine were doing). Check they’re right and, if they’re not (which I had a couple of times), correct them, or if you can think of anything extra to add. Also, during your Writing test, when you’ve finished a paragraph, count the words and write them next to it so you can add up how many words you’ve written quickly (then, once you’re done, erase the numbers).

    Good luck to everyone taking the test. I think I did pretty well but I can’t imagine what it would be like to someone who hasn’t been brought up with English.

    • BobinOz May 12, 2015, 12:06 am |

      Very interesting post djmcbell, it’s a great roundup of the four-part test, I’m sure many people will find this very helpful. I was lucky, when I came here I didn’t have to do the test, which was great, but it also means I can’t write about my experiences with it here.

      So it’s excellent that you have done it for me, thank you 🙂

      Hope you get all the 7s you need, cheers, Bob

      • owais May 13, 2015, 6:23 am |

        I have given ielts two times but didnt get the required score ….is there any other way which replaces ielts? Plz tell

        • BobinOz May 13, 2015, 5:28 pm |

          I do believe there are now other options, may I suggest you search the website for English language tests to see what the latest information is?

  • Pradeep May 6, 2015, 2:02 am |

    Isn’t there a quota by occupation per month for different visas example the 190. That means to say you may possibly not be invited even if you meet all requirements but the quotas full. Anyhow in anticipation of your response how costly or difficult is it to become a MARA registered agent? Must you own a business? Just felt it’s rather unfortunate there are so many questions you couldn’t respond to when the information is easily available on Or maybe it’s just me who has read most everything there 5 times over.

    • BobinOz May 6, 2015, 7:02 pm |

      I could read the website 10 times over and commit it to memory, but I still would not be able to answer these kinds of questions, it would be illegal for me to do so.

      I could be put into prison for doing so, or face a very large fine, the law here in Australia is very clear about this. You can find out more on my page called Would I Qualify?.

      So even if I do know the answer, and I do know the answer to your question, I still cannot say it.

      It matters not to me how much it costs to become a MARA agent, I have no interest in becoming one.

  • shahid May 4, 2015, 7:34 pm |

    Hi Bob, I have skilled assessments from ACS, which is positive. the only problem is in IELTS I have 6.5 band which include 7 in listening 5 in reading 6.5 in writing and 7 in speaking. can i apply EOI or i have to get 6 band in each module of IETLS.

    thanks for your help in advance.

    • Filipe May 5, 2015, 2:37 am |

      Id like to know too.

    • Martin May 5, 2015, 1:27 pm |

      There is some good info in this thread you should look at but here is a summary.

      Main applicant:
      Min 6 in each section of ielts, 0 points
      7 in each section, 10 points
      8 in each section, 20 points

      Additional applicants over 18:
      4.5 in each section or pay additional charge for English course in Oz.

      Good luck

      • BobinOz May 5, 2015, 4:06 pm |

        Yes, the key factor here is that it is your lowest score of the four modules which is your overall score, it is not an average of all four scores.

  • Islahuddin April 15, 2015, 10:00 pm |

    Hi Bob,
    Thanks in advance for wonderful job done to the society by advising in right path.

    I am a diploma holder in mechanical engineering with 3 years of experience as purchasing officer.
    i have recognized ANZSCO CODE:591113-Purchasing officer
    my occupational experience is relevant in the same field
    My question “above ANZSCO CODE-591113 doesn’t reflect under SOL and CSOL, Can i lodge an EOI for above code under skill migration / Regional family sponsored scheme”
    I am preparing for IELTS mean while i am searching for assessing authority for above occupational code, assessing authority for above ANZSCO CODE is no where indicated in
    Could you please help me ?

    • BobinOz April 16, 2015, 2:00 am |

      No, this is something I specifically can’t help with. Only MARA registered migration agents can help with this sort of advice, please click on my link above to Visas for more information.

  • Keira April 6, 2015, 7:32 pm |

    Hi Bob, I’ve seen some of your previous replies saying that getting 60points does not guarantee their visa to be granted. Can you please make it clear for me? Does it mean successful granted visa would also depend on how many Visa at that time? And if so, in case someone fails to be accepted, can they try to lodge their visa again or they need >>60points in the second time?
    I’m strongly appriciate your advices!

    • BobinOz April 7, 2015, 6:26 pm |

      No, it is far more complicated than that, you would need to discuss your personal situation with a MARA migration agent to find out exactly what options you might have. I can’t advise you, I’m not a MARA agent.

  • Martin Folan December 23, 2014, 4:27 pm |

    Skills assessment in the bag! Time to test me English in the IELTS 🙂 There is absolutely no point to this post, only to show a little burst of excitement as I tick one more thing off the to do list 🙂 Now for a spot of light BobinOz reading. Again thanks for all the advice Bob, It is starting to look like this might actually happen!

    • BobinOz December 23, 2014, 8:49 pm |

      Martin, it’s “Time to test MY English in the IELTS” – now come on, concentrate! 🙂

      Seriously though, the skills assessment is almost certainly the biggest hurdle so maybe this thing really might happen, as you say. Good luck in your IELTS test, then you just need to face up to the medical and get that clear police check….

      One step at a time, you just need to keep walking. Good luck, Bob

  • Michael November 25, 2014, 10:23 pm |

    Hi Bob,

    I have a question : I have a job offer on a 457 Visa in Sydney. I am going to get 98.000 AUSD + Superannuation + Car Allowance.

    I have read on the website that there is an English Language Salary Exemption Threshold (ELSET) of $96.400 for all subclass 457 visa.

    Do you know something about that? Does it means that I don’t have to take the IELTS?

    Thank you in advance.


    M. Kirchmanns

    • BobinOz November 27, 2014, 12:02 am |

      I’m afraid that’s not a question I am legally allowed to answer Michael, only MARA registered migration agents are allowed to advise on eligibility criteria. You probably have a MARA agent acting on your behalf or the company who have offered you the job will have one, you need to ask them about this.

      Good luck, Bob

  • Sam November 24, 2014, 8:24 am |

    Dear Mr. Bob,


    I’m applying for skilled visa ie; 189 – Independent Visa type. I have done my Bachelors Degree in Science (Regular), Master Degree in English Literature (Distance) and Post Graduate Certification In Business Management(Regular). I’m Retired, Army officer from Indian Army, with 12 years of service and have bit of corporate experience.
    My query is IESTL exam is related to details of Australia or is it some where linked with the English exam too….as in detailed English exam having grammar and all…..
    Look forward to hear from your end soon.
    Thanks & Regards.

    • BobinOz November 24, 2014, 8:01 pm |

      I’m not sure I understand your question Sam, but IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System and is not specificly anything to do with Australia, its recognised worldwide.

      Hope that answers your query.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Nayef November 14, 2014, 1:04 am |

    Hi BoB

    if my points were enough and i fulfilled all requirements .
    does this grant me a visa?

    • BobinOz November 15, 2014, 2:29 pm |

      Interesting question Nayef, and not one I can answer with 100% accuracy, but as you have said “and I fulfilled all requirements” then yes, I would say you would be granted the visa.

      There are no tricks in this process, no hidden agendas and no secret prejudices that I’m aware of. If you do fulfil all requirements then I really do think you are granted the visa, I do not believe that the Australian government would refuse a 100% sound application for basically no reason at all.

      I hope that answers your question, but do talk to a MARA registered migration agent if you do intend to take this further.

      Good luck, Bob

  • aki October 30, 2014, 9:08 am |

    Hi there,
    My husband is holding a 457 visa and he want to apply skilled migrant visa but the problem is he cant pass the IELTS. He got a 6 band overall but failed in some category, all of the requirements are completed except for the IELTS. He gave up already and losing hope. I have heard from other migrants that they pay 4,000 to the lawyer to be exempted from ielts. Can you pls advise me if whats the other option of not taking the ielts, and do you know any lawyer who can help us with that matter. Pls advise, thanks

    • BobinOz October 31, 2014, 12:40 am |

      No, it’s not true, you can’t pay a lawyer to be exempt. Sounds like fraud to me, so I would avoid any such schemes if I were you. I don’t know what other options you might have, if any, you would have to speak to a MARA migration agent about that.

      Good luck, Bob

  • mohammadali October 2, 2014, 1:46 am |

    hello mr bob
    i want to migrate to australia but i dont know to go to live in big cities or go regional low populated areas bcuz i want to go to a place to have more chance to find a job…
    some people says if you get regional sponsorship you will have more chance to find a job even with a higher salary… is that right?
    my another question is having 489 visa give less chance to find a job in comaprison with 190 or 189? i mean employers give advantage to 190 or 189 bcuz 489 is not permanent? is there any difference?

    • BobinOz October 2, 2014, 8:50 pm |

      It’s impossible for me to say, getting a job is such a personal thing, between you and a prospective employer. It very much depends on you and what you do, but I can’t offer advice, as I say, it’s impossible for me to do that. Good luck though, Bob

  • ferry September 17, 2014, 11:41 pm |

    I am a student in INDIA. I am going to recently complete my batchlors.I want to study MBA in AUSTRALIA. i want to know
    – if pr is easily available afterwards for mba passed outs or not
    – in your points calc d work experience should be in Australia only or overseas also its counted ?
    -my mba course in aus is for 2 years then how many years of student visa is given to me?
    -r there extra points for any type of extra curricular activities performed by me in my batchelors
    -Do i get permanent jobs after completing my mba from aus?{ campus placements}

    • BobinOz September 18, 2014, 5:12 pm |

      These are not questions I can answer Terry, you should consult with a MARA migration agent for some of them, others of your questions are simply impossible to answer. For example, no one can tell you whether you would get a permanent job no matter what your qualifications are, getting the job depends on getting a job offer which is something nobody can control except a potential employer.

  • srinath September 12, 2014, 1:23 am |

    Hi Bob,

    I am eligible for Visa subclass 190- state nominated. This is for the occupation of Company Secretary (ANZSCO code: 221211). Currently having 60 points. Need ACT state sponsorship for the 5 points. But this occupation availability is ‘limited’ for which I have to give proof of minimum 5 job advertisements relevant to this occupation. I tried googling in the internet but couldn’t find a single job in the ACT state. Most jobs are available in only Sydney or Melbourne. Unfortunately, it’s only ACT state which is ready to sponsor. Can you please help me with ways I can get these 5 job advertisements for verification. Need your help and advise.

  • NottySaint September 5, 2014, 4:59 am |

    General Skilled Migration 190/489 – State nomination made easier
    Immigration SA has made it easier for citizens and current passport holders of exempt countries to apply for South Australian state nomination.

    Exempt Countries include:

    United Kingdom
    New Zealand
    United States of America
    Republic of Ireland

    If you are a citizen or passport holder of one of the listed exempt countries, you no longer need to provide an English test result (IELTS or OET) to Immigration SA regardless of Immigration SA’s English requirement for your occupation.

    If you are an International Graduate of South Australia and a citizen or passport holder of one of the listed exempt countries, you can also access the Immigration SA work experience waiver for ‘available’ occupations. See point eight under eligibility requirements for information on how to qualify for a work experience waiver.

    Please note you may still require an IELTS or OET to gain additional points on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) points test. Additionally Skills Assessing Authorities and Registration / Licensing bodies in South Australia have their own English / work experience requirements so people from exempt countries need to ensure they can meet those requirements prior to applying for state nomination.


  • NottySaint July 29, 2014, 1:35 pm |

    Alternative English Language tests for visa applicants

    From November 2014, the department will accept English language test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) and the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) across the Temporary Graduate, Skilled, Former Resident and Work and Holiday visa programmes. Scores from the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test will also be accepted from early 2015.


    • BobinOz July 29, 2014, 6:35 pm |

      That’s interesting, but I wonder if it will be easier or harder? Obviously though, this is certainly good news for people who have already taken these tests successfully.

      Cheers, Bob

      • Surendra May 25, 2015, 3:00 am |

        Hi Bob,

        I’ve been following your blog for sometime now from India and must admit it’s been real fun! 🙂 I appeared for the Pearson test recently and must admit it was pretty quick (just 3 hours). The test results too came in the next day even though they mentioned it could take upto 5 days! A friend mentioned that the IELTS test takes about 7 to 8 hours and results could take upto 15 days. Plus, I found that getting an appointment for the test was quicker too. So overall, I think the Pearson test is better coz it saves a lot of time (don’t know if its easier).

        Hope to see you soon in Oz! Until then, please keep the posts coming!!!


        • BobinOz May 25, 2015, 9:24 pm |

          That’s good to know Surendra, but is the Pearson test acceptable for all visa types and does it have the ability to earn extra points in the points calculation process? Obviously I don’t expect you to answer that, it’s a sort of thing that only a MARA migration agent would probably know in full, but I think it’s questions people need to ask if they are considering taking that test instead of IELTS.

          Good tip though, worth looking into.

          You keep reading, I’ll keep posting 🙂

          Cheers, Bob

          • Shaz July 15, 2015, 7:19 pm |

            Hi Bob, I believe it’s accepted. Here’s a link from the “”

            • BobinOz July 15, 2015, 9:56 pm |

              Yes, it’s definitely accepted for something, but I am really not sure exactly what. See my previous comment. I think to be sure that it’s the right test for you, or anyone, advice should be taken from a MARA registered migration agent.

  • Nottysaint July 29, 2014, 1:29 pm |

    Points Based Skilled Migration (subclasses 189, 190 and 489) visa

    Members of your family unit aged 18 years or over included in your application who have been assessed as not having functional English language skills will be required to pay a second instalment charge (see the department’s website which entitles them to English language tuition in Australia to achieve functional English. The full amount of this charge must be paid before a visa can be granted to you. Members of your family unit who are able to demonstrate functional English ability (eg. obtain an overall band score of 4.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)) do not have to pay this charge. Applicants who pay this charge will receive information about the Adult Migrant English Program and where they can receive their tuition when the visa is granted.

  • Rosanne February 14, 2014, 1:36 am |

    Hi Bob,
    I have a question about Vetassess practical assessment interview?. My husband is about to do one in next few weeks on Carpentry and Joinery and I was wondering has anyone done one recently and if they had any useful advice of tips???

    • BobinOz February 15, 2014, 9:04 pm |

      Not a question I can help with, I’ve never done one. Can anyone else help out here?

    • Martii February 16, 2015, 3:58 am | did your assessment go ? Actually do you have to go there personally?

      Can you describe it?

  • zoe February 1, 2014, 9:01 am |

    I am English and I have an English education up to Degree level and I can not work out if I still need to do the ielts. Only reason being that, I need an 8 to work and despite having a degree at 2.1 level I am concerned that I wont get that level due to my dyslexia.

    Thanks Zoe

    • BobinOz February 3, 2014, 1:39 pm |

      The short answer is that I don’t know Zoe, I think you will have to ask the immigration department or talk it through with a MARA registered migration agent. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.


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