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IELTS test day FAQs


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Frequently asked questions about test day

1. What are the test rules?

Test rules and guidelines can be found on the Notice to Candidates provided in the IELTS Application Form. You are also advised to read the Information for Candidates booklet carefully so that you understand the test format and know what to expect on test day.

2. Do I take all parts of the test on the same day?

The Listening, Reading and Writing section of the test are always completed immediately after each other and with no break. Depending on the test centre, you may also sit the Speaking test on the same day, or it may be scheduled up to 7 days either before or after the test date. If you take computer-delivered IELTS, the Speaking test will be taken on the same day.

3. What if I am delayed by circumstances beyond my control (e.g. a transport strike)?

The test centre may offer you a test on the next available test date.

4. What can I take into the examination room?

You must bring the valid passport/national identity card you used on the IELTS Application Form with you to the test.

Only pens, pencils and erasers can be taken if you take the paper-based IELTS

Pencils and paper will be provided if you take the computer-delivered IELTS, therefore you will not need to bring your own.

You must leave everything else outside the examination room. Mobile phones and pagers must be switched off and placed with personal belongings in the area designated by the supervisor. If you do not switch off your phone/pager or if you keep it with you, you will be disqualified. Find out more about test day.

5. Which part do I take first?

The Listening, Reading and Writing tests must be completed on the same day. The order in which these tests are taken may vary. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test may be taken up to 7 days either before or after the test date. If you take computer-delivered IELTS, the Speaking test will be taken on the same day.

6. What is the Speaking test?

The Speaking test is a discussion with a certified and highly qualified IELTS Examiner. The Speaking test is made up of three parts and is recorded.

7. What do I need for the Speaking test?

You must bring the same identification documents (ID) you supplied on your IELTS Application Form and continue to use the same ID for each part of the test. Your ID will be checked before you enter the interview room.

8. What kinds of accents can be heard in the Listening and Speaking tests?

As IELTS is an international test, a variety of English accents are used in both of these tests.

9. Do I have to write in pencil? (Paper-based IELTS only)

Typically pencil has always been recommended for the IELTS Listening and Reading of the test.

In many test centres, we now also require the Writing test to be completed in pencil. This is because gradually, all of our test centres are upgrading to new scanners. These particular scanners work best with a pencil as there is no risk of your answers smudging (whereas there is with pen/ink). These test centres are also using answers sheets with a slightly updated design.

We would like to emphasise that no changes have been made to the test format, content, or marking standards. This is simply an operational change. It is also important to note that if you forget to bring a pencil, the test centre staff can provide a pencil for you.

10. Can I make notes on the Listening and Reading question papers? (Paper-based IELTS only)

Yes. The IELTS Examiner will not see your question paper.

11. Can I make notes if I take the computer-delivered IELTS?

Yes, the computer-delivered IELTS provides a note taking and highlight function. You can try these functions and familiarise yourself with IELTS on computer.

12. Can I write in capital letters?

Yes, you can use all capital letters in the IELTS Reading and Listening section and also in the Writing section of the IELTS test.

13. How can I improve my Writing score?

It is vital to fulfil the Writing task, especially Task 2, in order to demonstrate your skills.

Writing Task 2 is worth twice as many marks as Task 1. 25 percent of the Writing score for Task 2 (GT and Academic) is based on the completeness of the response. Make sure you respond to all parts of the task. This criterion is referred to as “Task Response”. If all parts of the Writing Task 2 are addressed, a person will score band 6 or higher for this quarter of their Task 2 score. If the task is not fully addressed, an examiner must award less than band 6 for this criterion. So responding to every individual part of a Writing task is very important.

The remaining 75 percent of the score for Task 2 in Writing is based on vocabulary, accurate grammar and the structure and linking of ideas. Read the assessment criteria used for Academic and General Training writing tests carefully before your test day.