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If you are looking to pursue your UK dream and forge a life in the country, you’ll need to sit for the IELTS Life Skills for UKVI. 

The IELTS Life Skills for UKVI assesses your essential English skills as part of your application, these are your listening and speaking skills. 

However, there are key differences between the two different IELTS Life Skills for UKVI tests, these are the: 

The IELTS Life Skills A1 test is necessary if you are applying for a visa based on the criteria of being a ‘family, spouse or partner’. This is also called the ‘Family of a settled person’ visa. The IELTS Life Skills B1 test should be taken if you want to stay in the UK and are applying for indefinite leave to remain in the country or for citizenship. For the tests, there is the standardised version or the IELTS for UKVI test version. In order to apply for any visas in the UK, you will need to take the UKVI version

The content, format, scoring and difficulty will remain the same, except you will have to take your test at a UKVI approved test centre outlined by the UK Home Office. 

In this article, we will take you through the essential details of your IELTS Life Skills test that you must know. 

IELTS Life Skills A1 and B1 what to expect

1. The test format and duration is different 

While both the A1 and B1 Life Skills tests assess your listening and speaking skills, A1 will last between 16 to 18 minutes while B1 will take up to 22 minutes. 

There is nothing to worry about duration wise. As long as you prepare well and understand the test format and what is expected of you, you will be able to score well. 

2. The test will take place with one examiner and another test taker

Both A1 and B1 tests will require you to take the test face to face with an examiner and one other candidate. This is done so as to reflect the everyday experience of communicating with another person in an English-speaking country. 

Rest assured that the second test taker’s performance will not affect your test results. 

3. Be prepared to describe a topic, give opinions or preferences and justify those

For both the A1 and B1 tests, you will be expected to listen and respond to spoken language topics and complete certain tasks that might include describing, giving opinions, commenting or justifying your answers. 

However, the B1 test will require you to think deeper and hold a more complex conversation that includes narrating, showing contrast and expressing opinions about future possibilities. 

This is in addition to the tasks in A1, making it more difficult in nature. 


Your questions answered

1. Do I need to score high for my tests? 

No, it is not necessary to attain a high score like the Academic or General Training tests. You are simply given a pass or fail mark in your Life Skills A1 or B1 test. 

Once you pass, you can utilise your test results for your UK application. 

2. Will my accent affect my test grade?

No, it is not required for you to purposefully change your accent. 

Instead, you should focus on speaking clearly, at a natural pace and understand what is needed from you to complete the tasks. 

Practice more on having everyday conversations as well as listening to native speakers frequently to get used to the rhythm and intonation. 

3. Can I bring along my mobile phones or electronic device?

No, you may not. Bringing along such devices can result in disqualification, so leave them out! 


Book your IELTS Life skills test with IDP today!

While you shouldn’t worry too much about the IELTS Life Skills tests, it is always best to get prepared and practice well to help you attain a passing grade. Take the time to go through our resources and prepare yourself better with our wide range of sample tests at your disposal! 

Take the time to go through IDP's test preparation materials to prepare yourself better with our wide range of sample tests at your disposal! 

And once you are ready, you can book your IELTS test with IDP!