The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test is to be held at Brandon University this year. The IELTS which is co-owned by British Council is one of the worlds most popular English language proficiency tests. The test is designed to assess the language ability of people who aim to study and work in, immigrate to and integrate into an English-speaking environment. It is based on the four key English skills required by those wishing to excel in Canadian society: listening, reading, writing and speaking. British council has been teaching English throughout the world for 85 years and evaluating it through IELTS for the past 25.

The global outreach that this testing system has cannot be understated. There are 1,100 test centers and locations around the world that, over the past years, have provided English language testing to three million people. Within Canada, IELTS is the preferred high stakes English language test. Trusted by over 350 Canadian organizations, it was the first test to be recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC) and Immigration Québec as proof of English language proficiency for such government programs as Express Entry and other Canadian programs. In May 2014, IRCC announced it was renewing its trust in IELTS for another five years.

One of those organizations that recognizes IELTS scoring is Brandon University itself. Any international student whose mother tongue is not English will be required to submit evidence acceptable to the University or faculty that a minimum English proficiency scoring was attained. The minimal acceptable score on the IELTS is a 6.5 overall. The way that ranking within the testing system works is that each skill, once tested, is assigned a score from 1-9 and then an overall band score is issued.

Tests such as this one allow for Brandon University to accept students from around the world while still ensuring that they are not left at a disadvantage in their studies due to the presence of a language barrier. With the ever-shrinking world that we are living in it is important that Brandon University makes itself a desirable location of study not only for native Canadians, but international students as well. BU has managed to achieve this, and the fact that events such as this one are now also being held at BU shows that it is continuing to take steps down the right path.