IELTS Life Skills B1 Test Guide for 2024


This article will discuss the following:

  • Must the applicant take the IELTS Life Skills B1 Test?
  • What level IELTS Life Skills Test does the applicant have to take?
  • What happens in the IELT Life Skills B1 exam?
  • How do you best prepare for the B1 IELTS Life Skills Test?
  • How do you book the B1 IELTS Life Skills Test?
  • What happens after the B1 IELTS Life Skills exam?

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What is the IELTS Life Skills B1 Test?

The IELTS Life Skills B1 test is targeted for certain applicants who want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and/or British citizenship.

It is on the list of Home Office approved Secure English language tests.

The IELTS Life Skills B1 test costs £150. 

It only assesses listening and speaking (it does not assess reading and writing) and can be booked using this link.

part 1

Do you have to take the IELTS Life Skills Test?

Does everyone have to take the IELTS Life Skills Test?

No. Every applicant will not be required to sit an English language test.

Some applicants will be exempt, while others can satisfy the English language requirement via other means.


Exemption #1 – Physical or mental disability

Applicants with physical or mental medical conditions may be exempt from the English language requirement.

To be exempt, applicants with a physical or mental disability must be professionally diagnosed to persuade the Home Office caseworker that it would not be reasonable to sit the English language test.

This gives people who are deaf, mute or have a speech impediment a very high probability of being granted exemption from the English language requirement.

It is important to note that not all medical conditions are automatically exempt – each case is decided on its own merits.


Exemption #2 – Age

Applicants above 65 years of age (or higher) on the date of application will be exempt from the English language requirement and, therefore, will not have to sit the B1 exam.

In such a case, all that is required is submitting a passport or travel document to satisfy the English language requirement.


Alternative #1: Being a Majority English-speaking National

Taking the IELTS Life Skills B1 test is one of many ways to satisfy the English language requirement.

One of the alternatives applies to those who are nationals of a majority English-speaking country, as listed below:

  • Antigua and Barbuda;
  • Australia;
  • the Bahamas;
  • Barbados;
  • Belize;
  • The British Overseas Territories;
  • Canada;
  • Dominica;
  • Grenada;
  • Guyana;
  • Jamaica;
  • Malta;
  • New Zealand;
  • St. Kitts and Nevis;
  • St. Lucia;
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines;
  • Trinidad and Tobago; and
  • the United States of America.

In this situation, the applicant’s passport or other travel document is all that is required to prove exemption from the English language requirement.

If the applicant is unable to submit this document due to loss, theft, or other reasons, they can still prove their nationality by submitting the following documents:

  1. A letter from their country’s national government or Embassy which states their name, nationality, and date of birth; or
  2. A national identity document.

Alternative #2: Relying on a Bachelor’s degree level or above qualification that was taught in English

The other alternative to the B1 English language test applies to applicants who have been awarded an English-taught degree qualification (or above).

If the applicant’s degree or above level qualification was obtained from a UK university, then the requirement will be satisfied – as long as it is an academic (i.e. not vocational) degree.

If an academic degree or above level qualification was awarded from an educational institution in one of the following countries, the applicant would also need to submit a statement from Ecctis (previously known as UK National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC)) that the qualification meets or exceeds the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK:

  • Antigua and Barbuda;
  • Australia;
  • the Bahamas;
  • Barbados;
  • Belize;
  • Dominica;
  • Grenada;
  • Guyana;
  • Ireland;
  • Jamaica;
  • Malta;
  • New Zealand;
  • St Kitts and Nevis;
  • St Lucia;
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines;
  • Trinidad and Tobago; and
  • the USA.

Please note that Canada is not on the above list.

If the applicant’s academic Bachelor’s degree level qualification (or above) was obtained from an educational institution that is not included in one of the above countries, then you will need to submit the following:

i) Documentation from Ecctis that the qualification meets or exceeds the recognised standard of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or PhD in the UK; AND

ii) Documentation from Ecctis that the qualification was taught or researched in English at the required CEFR level or above.

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part 2

What happens in the IELTS Life Skills B1 exam?

The IELTS Life Skills B1 exam lasts around 20 minutes.

The applicant will take the exam with one other candidate.


Part 1 of the test: introduction

In the beginning, the examiner will ask the applicant four questions:

  1. “What is your name?”
  2. “Can you spell it for me?”
  3. “Where do you come from?”
  4. “How long have you lived here?”

These questions are the same in every exam. The applicant can therefore prepare answers for these beforehand.

The introduction should be used to warm up and to become as relaxed as possible.

Throughout the test, answering the questions using complete sentences is essential.

The examiner will then ask the applicant to give them their mark sheets.


Part 2 of the test: topic discussion

In this task, the examiner will give the applicant a topic.

The applicant will then be expected to ask their partner questions about this topic.

The applicant will also be expected to answer their partner’s questions about this topic.

The following is a typical task:

“Now you are going to ask each other some questions. I want you to find out from each other about something you do in your free time and why you enjoy it. You have two minutes to talk to each other”.

Be careful – the applicant’s job is not to talk about the topic but to ask questions. Therefore, as soon as the applicant answers a question, they should immediately ask a follow-up question.

Example

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I like reading, going to the gym and cooking. What about you?

I am a big sports fan. I play football for a local team, and I go to watch matches most weekends, too. Do you play any sports?

The applicant should keep asking and answering questions until the examiner stops them.

The examiner will then give the applicant instructions for the next task.


Part 3 of the test – presentation and questions

The applicant and their partner are given two different topics in this part of the test.

The applicant will have to talk about their topic for one and a half minutes.

After this, the applicant’s partner will ask the applicant three questions about what the applicant said.

Once this has been done, the applicant’s partner will talk about their topic, similar to the applicant.

The applicant’s job here will be to listen to them and ask them three questions afterwards.

The listening section will be next.


Part 4 of the test – listening

The applicant will listen to two short recordings in this part of the exam.

After listening to the records, the examiner will ask the applicant a multiple-choice question about one of the recordings.

There will be three possible answers that the applicant can choose from.

Once the applicant has answered, they will then hear the recording again.

After hearing the recording, the applicant will again be asked two more questions.


Part 5 of the test – planning

This is the part that IELTS Life Skills candidates most often need help with.

The examiner will say something like:

“Now you’re going to plan something together. I’d like you to imagine that you are organising a party for your friends.

First, discuss where you should have the party and choose the one you think would be best”.

The applicant will be given prompts like this:

  • In a restaurant?
  • In someone’s home?
  • In a bar or café?

Second, the applicant will be asked to plan the event.

They will be given prompts like this:

  • What food and drink should there be?
  • How many people should there be?
  • What games or activities should there be?

Part 6 of the test – open discussion

In the last part of the IELTS Life Skills B1 exam, the examiner will give the applicant a more open topic that they will have to discuss for four minutes.

Sample question

“We are going to talk about food and cooking. Find out from each other what kind of food you like and what you can cook”.

There are two things that you should note.

Firstly, it is good to ask a lot of questions.

Secondly, since you will have much more time in previous activities, this will allow you to discuss your topics in more detail.

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part 3How do I book the IELTS Life Skills B1 exam?

Booking the IELTS Life Skills B1 exam is easy.

All you need to do is follow the steps below:

  1. To start, find a test location from this link and select “IELTS for UKVI and IELTS Life Skills” from the two options;
  2. Scroll down from the list of countries and choose your country. Then, select “Find a test location”;
  3. Various test centres which are available in your country will be displayed. Select from the list and click “Book now”;
  4. You will then be shown the contact information of the testing centre you chose. You also need to pay the exam fee during this step.

What ID documents do I need to book the IELTS Life Skills B1 test?

Identity Document

Can this be used for tests taken in the UK?

Can this be used for tests taken outside the UK?

Passport.

Yes

Yes

Biometric Residence permit.

 

Note: These should only be used for tests taken in the UK if you do not have a valid passport

Yes

No

Valid photographic Government issued identity cards.

No

Yes, but only in the country where the document was issued

Identity cards of EEA nationals and Swiss nationals.

Yes

Yes, but only in the country where the document was issued

Travel documents, including:

 

· Convention travel document.

· Stateless person’s travel document. 

· Certificates of Identity.

· Travel document issued by the United Nations. 

· Travel documents issued by the International Red Cross. 

· Emergency travel documents.

 

Yes

Yes

Here are some essential things that you should remind yourself before submitting these documents:

  1. Your documents must be original and valid. This means that expired documents will not be accepted. Photocopies will also not be accepted.
  2. Bring the document that you used when you booked the test online.

What document can we use if the Home Office possesses the applicant’s passport?

If, when you apply for an IELTS Life Skills B1 test, the applicant’s passport is in the Home Office’s possession, they can ordinarily submit a valid EU identity card or a Biometric Residence Permit.

Otherwise, you may request that the applicant’s passport be returned from the Home Office.


What if there is no availability for the preferred test centre?

You can check other nearby test centres if there are no available appointments for your chosen time.

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