Common myths about the IELTS test
You might hear all sorts of claims about the IELTS
test. Be wary about accepting them all as true –
there are a lot of myths being said about the test.
You must also be aware of scams offering IELTS
information. One recent scam asks you to phone China on +86 950
xxxx xxx xxxx. When you phone this number, AUD$100 may be billed to
your phone account and your SIM card may also be erased. Please
share this warning with your friends.
Instead of listening to these false claims about the
test, the best thing you could do is to concentrate on improving
your English proficiency and follow the preparation advice we
provide on this website.
Some other myths to look out for:
IELTS is too difficult.
IELTS is no more difficult than any other exam. The questions
are straightforward and designed to assess how well you can use
your English – not to trick you or test your opinions. As with any
exam, IELTS requires thorough preparation.
Also, remember that there is no pass or fail in IELTS. The
results are reported on a 9-band scale (1 being the lowest, 9 being
the highest). This scale has remained consistent for over 20
The score you need is determined by the requirements of your
visa or the institution/ organisation to which you are
applying. Always remember to check what score you need before you
take the test.
If I sit the test in my home country, I might get a better
This is a common myth. However it is important to understand
that the IELTS test will be the same level of difficulty wherever
you sit the test. Think about where you will feel most confident
taking the test.
It is important to recognise that good meals and good sleep in
the lead-up to your test will help you perform your best. Also
consider how early you need to travel on test day to reach the
Keep in mind that all IELTS examiners in each country receive
the same high level of training and are closely monitored to ensure
they rate your responses consistently wherever you sit the
If I smile and make the examiner laugh in my Speaking test, I
may get a better mark.
Smiling can help you feel relaxed which in turn might help you
Every examiner is trained and monitored closely to be fair to
every candidate and assess your level of English only. The
examiners will not give you more or fewer marks if you are smiling
I will lose marks if I don’t speak with an Australian, American
or British accent.
You are not expected to change your accent for the IELTS test.
Instead, focus on speaking clearly and at a natural pace so that
the examiner can understand you. Practising your English every day
and listening to different native speaker accents will help you to
more clearly pronounce difficult words.
If I write more than the word limit in my Writing test, I will
get more marks.
The minimum word limit is important. You must write at least 150
words for Task 1 and at least 250 words for Task 2. If you write
less than this, you will lose marks. However if you write more,
this does not mean you will gain marks. Rather it is more important
that you use correct English, appropriate grammar, a wide range of
vocabulary and sentence structures.
If the opinions I express in my Writing or Speaking test are
different to the examiner, I might lose marks.
In your Writing and Speaking test, there are no right or wrong
opinions. The examiner is assessing how well you can use your
English to report information and express ideas.
If I keep practising sample questions, I will get a better
Practising sample tests will help you learn what is expected in
each part of the test. This is good test preparation in order to
maximise the English skills you have. However, remember that to
improve your English you need to use English in everyday contexts –
speak it with your friends, write notes and email in English, read
English newspapers, listen to English radio.
If you feel you need help with your English, you should also
consider taking an English course.
I’ve heard it is easy to cheat at IELTS.
IELTS is protected by sophisticated and multi-layered security
measures to prevent cheating in order to protect you and the
organisations that accept your results. At registration the
following identity checks are taken:
- Your photograph is taken and your finger is scanned when you
register or arrive for the test. This photograph and
fingerscan is used to ensure that the same person sits every
part of the test.
- Identity checks are also undertaken during the Reading and
Writing test and again on check-in for the Speaking
- All test materials are collected, checked against registration
and seat details and double-counted before test takers are released
from their test session.
- All test centres are regularly monitored and audited.
- Test papers are printed on high-security paper and distributed
automatically to test centres without human intervention.
- Every test paper includes a unique combination of questions –
no two tests are the same.
- Systems are in place to automatically and routinely scrutinise
test results. In the event that any anomaly is identified, the
candidate, Test Centre and any organisation that has been sent the
result are notified and appropriate action is taken which may
include cancellation of an individual’s result.
- IELTS makes it easy for universities, employers and government
to check the validity of results at any time, using a secure
- Any malpractice, which includes getting somebody else to sit
the test on your behalf, will result in being disqualified from the
test. Details of the malpractice will also be passed on to any
organisations to which you have applied, including relevant visa
For a full list of terms and conditions please refer to
IELTS is harder than other English tests.
Thousands of educational institutions, employers and
professional registration bodies accept IELTS because it is a high
quality and fair test. This is why IELTS is also accepted by more
governments for migration purposes than any other test.
The institution/organisation to which you are applying will
determine the level of English you need.