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IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the world’s leading international standardised test for English language proficiency, and we are proud to be an official IELTS Test Centre.

An IELTS certificate is a passport to work or study across the world. It is recognised by employers and universities in over 130 countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA, and also acknowledged by many professional registration bodies, immigration authorities and governments.

At Lewisham College you can study for your test on our specialised IELTS preparation course and then sit your IELTS test in familiar surroundings.

Taking one of our IELTS courses will enable you to improve your English language skills to the level you need to succeed in the IELTS test. Our experienced tutors will help you to develop your reading, writing, listening and speaking, ensuring that you feel confident in all four skills.

  • Courses

    Check out what we have to offer below, and if you’d like some advice about the best course for you, do get in touch with our IELTS Department.

    Course List

    General English Courses

    These courses are designed to boost your level of general English as well as preparing you for English language tests.

    English Language Programme – full time
    EFL Summer Programme
    English Language Grammar & Skills Programme
    English Language Speaking and Pronunciation Programme
    Cambridge English Preparation & Practice

    We also offer tailor-made courses and one-to-one tuition in English language. Find out more by contacting our IELTS Department.

    As one of around 900 official IELTS test centres worldwide, Lewisham College gives students the opportunity to prepare for, and take, the IELTS tests. We offer tests at our campus in south east London – which is conveniently located close to public transport links.

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  • Study for IELTS with us

    At Lewisham College we offer the following IELTS course:

    • IELTS Preparation & Practice Programme

    This is a one term evening course.

    Why study with us?

    We are experts in preparing students for the IELTS test. You’ll benefit from:

    • Teaching by our highly experienced tutors
    • Lively mix of group, pair and individual work and computer-based activities, with plenty of opportunity to practise your skills
    • Flexible course starting dates
    • Average class sizes of 12
    • High-tech teaching facilities, fully installed with the latest learning technologies
    • Dedicated online learning site to support your learning
    • Great student support

    How to apply

    You can apply for the course by clicking the ‘Apply’ button on the course page. This will open a simple enquiry form which you can fill in and submit. We will then contact you by email to arrange your free initial assessment. At this assessment session (which we hold twice a week), we’ll assess your current level of English language, and help you decide on the right study plan for you.

    Paying for your course

    You can either pay the whole amount before starting the course, or pay by instalment plan using direct debit. This means you make a minimum initial payment of 50 per cent of the course fees, and the remainder by the mid-point of the course.

  • The IELTS test

    There are two different types of IELTS test:

    • General Training – for people who want to train or study at below degree level, or to migrate to an English-speaking country
    • Academic – for people who want to study at higher education level, or to gain professional registration (eg as a doctor or nurse)

    Make sure you know the level required by the organisation you’re applying to, and also which of the two IELTS tests they recognise (Academic or General Training).

    Whichever of these you take, your IELTS test will consist of four papers:

    • Listening
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Speaking

    The speaking and listening tests are the same for both the General Training and Academic tests, but the reading and writing tests are different.

    Find out about the test format for each IELTS paper.

    How is the IELTS test scored?

    There is no such thing as a pass or fail in IELTS. Results are given as ‘band scores’ on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest).

    The IELTS scale is:

    • 9 Expert user
    • 8 Very good user
    • 7 Good user
    • 6 Competent user
    • 5 Modest user
    • 4 Limited user
    • 3 Extremely limited user
    • 2 Intermittent user
    • 1 Non-user

    Educational institutions, employers and immigration authorities set their own requirements in terms of the IELTS level you need.

  • Preparing for your IELTS test

    Taking our IELTS Preparation and Practice programme is a great way of preparing for your IELTS test. This interactive course is designed to give you all the support you need in the areas where you’re weakest – you may be confident at speaking English, for example, but feel much less happy writing in it. You’ll also get the chance to do practice tests to help you improve your scores.

    Like anything, the key to success in your IELTS test is to practice, practice, practice. To make maximum progress, make sure you attend every session of your IELTS course, complete all the assignments you’re set, and listen to your tutor’s feedback on your work.

    Here are some more handy tips that will help you feel as confident as possible on the big day:

    • Talk to native English speakers – this is great for getting you used to different accents which may come up in your test
    • Listen to English language radio, television and film
    • Read English newspapers and magazines
    • Test yourself using the free sample test questions on the IELTS website
    • Get a good night’s sleep the day before your test
    • Allow plenty of time to get to the test centre
    • Make sure you bring everything you need (including your passport or identity card)
    • Try to relax and remember that the examiners will want you to achieve your best possible score!

  • Practical information about your IELTS test

    Prepare for test day

    • Read the IELTS rules and regulations before the test so you understand them. You’ll find these on the IELTS Application Form
    • Make sure you have something to eat and drink beforehand as you will not be allowed to take food into the test room. You will only be allowed to take a drink in a transparent bottle
    • Plan your journey and allow plenty of time to travel to the test centre
    • Make sure you bring the necessary identification documents with you. If you arrive with the wrong ID, you will not be allowed to take the test

    Test day

    IELTS tests are held on Saturdays, with the following timetable:

    8.30am The test begins with registration, including biometric checking
    10am Listening, reading and writing tests begin

    Each candidate will have an individual appointment for the speaking test. These are normally held on a Saturday afternoon after the other parts of the test.

    Transport and parking

    Your test will take place at our campus at Lewisham Way, London SE4 1UT. The campus is very easy to reach by public transport. There is generally parking available in nearby residential streets. We also hold tests at Lewisham College, London SE4 1UT.

    Your belongings

    Before the test you will be asked to leave your belongings, including electronic devices and watches, in a separate room. This room will be locked but not attended during the test. Unfortunately we cannot accept liability for items left in the room, so we advise you not to bring valuable or unnecessary items.


    Our campus is within walking distance of lots of food outlets and supermarkets, and there are also vending machines on campus.

    Exam room

    The exam room may be air conditioned. You are allowed to bring in a clear bottle of water (which must not have a label of any kind).

    We supply pencils, pens and erasers, but you are welcome to bring your own. If so, they need to be loose or in a clear pencil case.

    Special arrangements

    For candidates with a physical or learning difficulty or disability we are happy to make special arrangements. In order for us to organise this, you will need to supply a report, based on appropriate tests and in English, from a specialist practitioner on headed paper. If adapted materials are required, we will need three months’ notice.

    Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your requirement.

    Late arrivals

    It is your responsibility to arrive for your test on time, so we strongly recommend that you check travel information before leaving home. (Visit or call +44 (0)20 7222 1234, textphone: +44(0)20 7918 3015, for the latest travel news.) Unfortunately, candidates who arrive after 9am on the day of their test will be marked as absent, will not be allowed into the exam hall and will lose their test fee.


    Your results will normally be available 13 days (the second Friday) after the test. From this day you can check your results on the British Council website.

    How can I get my certificate?

    You can collect your Test Report Form between 11am and 12 noon from Lewisham College, London SE4 1UT.

    You can request additional sets of results to be sent to recognising institutions. There is a charge of £25 for each set of results, plus any overseas or tracked postage. Please email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request a form for this.

    Enquiry on results

    If you are not happy with your result, you may decide to use the Enquiry on Results process, in which your test will be re-marked. To do this, you need to complete an Enquiry on Results form and return it to us along with your original certificate. There is a fee of £110, which is reimbursed if your score is increased. This process takes six to eight weeks, and the request must be made within six weeks of your test date.


    If you are unhappy with any aspect of the Lewisham College IELTS Test Centre service and wish to make a complaint, you can do so by sending a letter or email to our office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. detailing the problem.

    If you have a complaint on the test day, you can complete a Candidate Complaint Form which is available from our staff on the day of your test.

    If you are still not satisfied, you can contact British Council Customer Service UK, Bridgewater House, 58 Whitworth Street, Manchester M1 6BB, UK.


    If you cancel your IELTS test up to 5 weeks before your test date, there is an administrative fee of 25%. If you cancel your test less than 5 weeks before your test date, you will lose the full test fee.

    Please note that if you are registering for a test date less than five weeks away, you will not be allowed to change or cancel your IELTS test without losing your full test fee.


    You can transfer to another test date provided you request the change more than five weeks before the test date you are registered for. You will be charged a 25% transfer fee. Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you require a transfer.

    If you are registered for a test date less than five weeks away, you will not be allowed to transfer your IELTS test without losing your full test fee.

  • IELTS - the myths and the facts

    I’ve heard the IELTS test is really difficult

    Actually it’s a really straightforward test which is designed purely to assess how well you can read, write, speak and listen in English. Preparing well in all four skills is the key to success.

    I’m scared I’ll fail my IELTS test!

    You can’t pass or fail an IELTS test – but you can fail to achieve the score you need for certain requirements. Scores are given on a 9 band scale (1 being the lowest and 9 the highest), so your result just tells you what level of proficiency you’ve achieved. What score you need will depend on what you want to do next – such as studying at a UK university or working for an institution such as the NHS.

    The test will be easier if I sit it in my home country

    IELTS is a global test which will be identical wherever you decide to take it. All examiners have the same high level of training and are closely monitored to make sure that results are consistent across the world.

    I won’t do well because I don’t have a British accent

    The examiner is assessing how clearly you speak in English and how well you can be understood. Speaking in a different accent isn’t a disadvantage, but listening to native speakers will help you to learn how to pronounce tricky words more clearly.

    I’m worried about expressing the wrong opinion in my writing or speaking tests

    There are no right or wrong opinions, so don’t worry. All the examiner is assessing is how well you can use your English to report information and express ideas.

    IELTS is harder than other English tests

    IELTS is a high quality and fair test, which is why thousands of educational institutions and employers around the world trust it. It’s also accepted by more governments for migration purposes than any other test.

  • IELTs for migration

    If you’re thinking of migrating to an English speaking country such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the USA, an IELTS qualification can be the passport you need to help you get there. Even if you’re a native English speaker, being able to prove that you have a high level of written and spoken English will put you at a distinct advantage.

    Most countries follow a points-based system for immigration, work visas and permanent residency, which means you get a certain number of points depending on your age, education, English language proficiency and other factors. Your IELTS qualification will give you points towards your overall score – and the higher IELTS band you achieve, the higher the points you are awarded.

    Each country sets its own IELTS requirements, which can be found on the relevant government websites. For example, if you are migrating to Australia, the following points are given:

    • IELTS band 6 = 0 points
    • IELTS band 7 = 10 points
    • IELTS band 8 = 20 points

    Taking an IELTS preparation course is a key step to success, even if you are an English native speaker. It’s easy to feel over-confident about the test when you’ve been using English all your life, but if you want to achieve the best possible score – and the highest number of points – it’s really important to familiarise yourself with the test format and understand exactly what examiners are looking for.

  • IELTS for higher education

    If you’re an international student wanting to study a higher education (HE) course (such as a degree) at a UK university, an IELTS qualification will normally be part of your entry requirements.

    The IELTS Academic test is specially designed for international students applying for an HE course, and is different from the IELTS General Training test. It includes long texts featuring academic language, and requires you to understand and summarise information from diagrams, graphs or illustrations.

    The aim of the IELTS Academic test is to check whether you’re ready to begin studying at HE level in English. Remember that HE courses at UK universities are taught exclusively in English so if you don’t have a good level of spoken and written English, you could struggle to keep up once you’re on the course.

    The IELTS test score requirements differ depending on which university you are applying to, and whether you want to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Most leading UK universities have IELTS score requirements of between 5.5 and 7. Some institutions also specify an overall score and a minimum score per component or for a specific skill such as writing.

    Find out more about IELTS for study.

  • IELTS for healthcare professionals

    Having a good level of spoken and written English is a crucial requirement if you are a non-native speaker and want to work as a healthcare professional in the UK.

    Nurses, midwifes and doctors need to show evidence of their proficiency in English before working for the NHS, and this includes a recently-achieved IELTS test score. According to the latest regulations, nurses trained outside the UK need an overall score of 7 in the Academic IELTS test. You need to achieve a score of no less than 7 in the reading, listening and speaking tests, but a level 6.5 in writing will be accepted. Doctors need an overall score of 7.5 in the Academic IELTS test. You need to achieve a score of no less than 7 in each module.

    Being able to communicate effectively with both patients and colleagues is a crucial part of any healthcare professional’s clinical work, and the IELTS preparation course will enable you to improve your English skills up to the level you need. Having gained an IELTS qualification at the right level, you will be able to progress your application to professional bodies and apply for jobs in healthcare trusts across the UK or in other English speaking countries – with confidence in your ability to delivery quality care and outcomes for your patients.

  • Useful Links

    If you have any questions, please email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    To find out more about the IELTS test, visit the British Council website or IELTS website


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Coronavirus update

Lewisham College is closely monitoring all communications and guidance as it becomes available. This information is for students and staff and reflects updates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE). We are prepared to escalate our contingency arrangements in the event of change.

The government is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work with the WHO and international community. For staff and students it remains business as usual across our sites and our workplaces.

Please note that, at present, this advice refers only to arrivals from Wuhan, and not the remainder of China. If you have returned from Wuhan you should:

General guidance for those planning visits to Wuhan or other destinations in China

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) maintains updated travel advice for those planning a trip to Wuhan or other destinations in China. This is available at:


This advice is derived from The Department of Health and Social Care will be publishing updated data on a daily basis at 2pm until further notice:

Supplementary Q&A for individuals wishing to know more around how the UK is managing the risk: