A record number of Chinese students applied to sit the exam of the International English Language Testing System last year, making China the largest source of applicants.
Shanghai's test organizer, the British Council, said yesterday that more than 210,000 Chinese people applied for the test last year, 60 percent higher than in 2006.
The global number of IELTS applicants also increased, doubling the figure of just three years ago to reach 938,000 people last year.
"The substantially rising figure indicates that IELTS has become the most popular English exam for studying abroad," the British Council said in a report.
To meet the rising demand, test organizers have added 75 test sessions in China this year. Exams will be available on 46 days in 2008, compared with 33 days last year. Another three test sites have been added, taking the total for China to 30.
IELTS is recognized as the admission benchmark for English in 68 countries. Students said the growing recognition of the IELTS score was the reason for its popularity.
(Shanghai Daily January 23, 2008)