IELTS Life Skills for the UK

If you are going to or staying in the UK, there is an IELTS test for you.

IELTS Life Skills for UK Visas and Immigration

IELTS Life Skills is for people who need to show their English speaking and listening skills at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) levels A1 or B1. IELTS Life Skills is designed to meet the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration for certain visa categories and other immigration purposes.

IELTS Life Skills is available at two levels:

  • IELTS Life Skills – A1 Speaking and Listening. This test is for UK visas and immigration for a “family of a settled person”.
  • IELTS Life Skills – B1 Speaking and Listening. This test is for UK visas and immigration for “indefinite leave to remain or citizenship” visa.

The focus of IELTS Life Skills

At each level, the test is designed to assess whether you can listen and respond, make your meaning clear, and talk with other people.

Face-to-face Speaking and Listening tests

You will take the test with an examiner, and with one other test taker. You will be expected to take part in short discussions on everyday subjects.


Format of the Speaking and Listening test

IELTS Life Skills test format

What happens during the test?

There are two main parts to IELTS Life Skills.

  • In the first part, you are expected to ask and answer questions on familiar topics.
  • The second part is a combined listening and speaking task.
  • At level A and level B, you will listen to a task played on a CD. Completing the task allows you to show your ability to listen for both the general meaning and detail.
  • You will say your answers, although you can make notes on paper while you listen to the CD.
  • There will then be a discussion on a theme related to what you have listened to on the CD.
  • Additionally at B1 level, there is also a task where you plan an activity with the other test taker.
How long is the IELTS Life Skills test?

Test times for IELTS Life Skills

For IELTS Life Skills you only need to attend one short session to complete the test. The times allowed for each level are:

  • IELTS Life Skills –  A1 Speaking and Listening 16 –18 minutes
  • IELTS Life Skills – A2 Speaking and Listening 20 minutes
  • IELTS Life Skills – B1 Speaking and Listening 22 minutes.
Assessment of IELTS Life Skills

How will I be assessed in the test?

You will be assessed on your ability in four key areas:

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

At times during the test, you will be allowed to take notes to prepare your answers. The examiner will not mark your notes – only your speaking and listening skills are marked during the test.

IELTS Life Skills Results

Results for IELTS Life Skills tests

Test results are normally available within seven days of your test.

You will get one of two results:

  • Pass
  • Fail

A fail result means that you have not been successful and your test cannot be used for your visa application.

IELTS Life Skills topics

What are the IELTS Life Skills topics?

You will take the test face-to-face with an examiner, and with one other test taker. You will participate in a structured conversation listening and responding to a selection of tasks.

The tasks in IELTS Life Skills are designed to reflect the everyday experience of communicating in an English-speaking country. You will be expected to take part in short discussions on everyday subjects including:

  • personal details/experiences
  • family and friends
  • buying goods
  • work
  • health
  • leisure
  • education/training
  • transport
  • housing
  • weather
IELTS Life Skills - A1 Speaking and Listening

A1 Speaking and Listening

You will be expected to:

  • Listen and respond to spoken language, including simple narratives, statements, questions and single-step instructions
  • Communicate basic information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics
    Talk with another person in a familiar situation about familiar topics.

Tasks may include:

  • describing
  • giving opinions
  • giving personal information
  • stating preferences
  • commenting
  • asking for information or descriptions
  • agreeing and disagreeing
  • explaining, giving reasons or justifying
  • deciding
  • suggesting
  • selecting
IELTS Life Skills - B1 Speaking and Listening

B1 Speaking and Listening

You will be expected to:

  • Listen and respond to spoken language, including straightforward information and narratives and follow straightforward explanations
  • Communicate information, feelings and opinions on familiar topics, using appropriate formality
  • Talk with one or more people in a familiar situation, making relevant points and responding to what others say to reach a shared understanding about familiar topics.

In addition to the A1 tasks, the B1 tasks may include:

  • comparing
  • showing contrast, cause, reason or purpose
  • prioritising
  • planning
  • persuading
  • narrating
  • asking about past or future events
  • expressing future certainty or possibility

Prepare for your IELTS Life Skills test

Download the free sample tests to help you prepare for your IELTS Life Skills test.

Test dates for IELTS Life Skills

If you need an IELTS test for UK visa applications, you can only take them at a UKVI approved IELTS test centre. In Australia, only IDP IELTS Sydney is UKVI approved. We offer all the approved IELTS tests for UK visa applications. To register for a test, please visit here.

Book IELTS Life Skills