1.5 million reasons why IELTS shines
A record 1.5 million tests were taken around the world last year under an organisation run by British and Australian educationalists.
This figure reinforces the International English Language Testing System's (IELTS) - jointly owned by the British Council, IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations - position as the world's most popular high-stakes English language test.
The figure also represent 16 consecutive years of global growth.
North America, followed by the Philippines and Hong Kong, experienced the largest growth over the year, while the mainland, Australia and India continue to retain their positions as the largest markets for IELTS.
Tony Pollock, CEO of IDP Education in Australia, speaking on behalf of the three IELTS partners, said: 'We believe the increase in the number of IELTS tests can be attributed to two key factors.
'Firstly, we have seen greater test accessibility, with 800 locations in 130 countries now available.
'There are also more than 6,000 institutions globally that rely on the rigour and reliability of the IELTS test to make informed decisions where English language skills are a key requirement, including universities, employers, professional bodies and immigration authorities.'
IELTS measures a candidate's ability across the four skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking.
Candidates cited the main reason for taking the test last year was in pursuit of entry into an academic institution, followed by migration purposes.
'IELTS continues to help change people's lives as they look for opportunities around the world - whether that be in education, for migration or employment.
'That's why IELTS is a high-stakes test and also why it's so critical that the test continues to be a robust and rigorous measure of English language proficiency,' Pollock said.
'With 1.5 million tests delivered last year, it is clear that the effectiveness of IELTS in this regard is acknowledged by candidates and those who use and rely on the test alike.'