Frequently asked questions about test results
1. How are the tests marked?
IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system to measure and report test scores in a consistent manner. You receive individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking and an Overall Band Score on a band scale from one to nine. Find out more about how IELTS is marked.
2. Is it normal to be stronger in some communication skills than others?
For most people, there is a different band score achieved for each skill and it is both common and completely normal to have a difference of up to two bands between skills. This occurs regardless of the language being tested and the type of language test taken. Listening and Speaking are the strongest skills for the majority of people.
3. Who sets the 'pass mark' for the IELTS test?
There is no pass or fail in IELTS. Scores are graded on the 9-band system. Each educational institution or organisation sets its own level of IELTS scores to meet its individual requirements.
4. Why is my score higher the second time I have sat the test, although I haven't done anything different?
It is quite normal for people to score higher on their second sitting because they are more familiar with the time allowed for each section, the Reading answer sheet and the number of words required for the Writing tasks. These are small factors that can lead to score improvement from the first time an IELTS test is taken to the second time the test is taken.
5. When will I receive my test results?
Computer-delivered IELTS: Your Test Report Form (TRF) will be posted 5-7 days after your test date.
Paper-based IELTS: Your Test Report Form will be available to you 13 calendar days after your test date.
You will only receive one copy of your Test Report Form, unless you are applying to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), or United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) – in this case, you can receive two.
Some test centres provide SMS alerts and you can preview your results online.
Contact your local test centre to find out more.
6. How many Test Report Forms (TRFs) am I entitled to?
You will only receive one copy of your Test Report Form – unless you are applying to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) – in this case, you can receive two.
Up to five (5) copies of your TRF will be posted to the relevant institution(s) you have listed on your IELTS application form. Regular postage is free of charge. Charges for courier services and/or overseas postage will be passed onto you.
Additional TRFs beyond these five can be requested from the test centre which issued the TRF. Please note, an administration fee may be charged for additional TRFs. If you have lost your TRF, please contact the test centre which issued your TRF.
7. How can I order more Test Report Forms if my test centre has closed since I took the test?
At any time within two years of sitting the test, you can apply to your test centre for up to five additional copies of your original test report form. These copies will NOT be sent to you, but can be sent to universities, embassies, consulates etc. on your behalf. You will only ever receive ONE personal copy of your Test Report Form.
If the test centre where you took your test has closed we can still send a copy of your Test Report Form to any receiving organisation for the first two years after your test. If you have not done so, please check the test centre search to make sure that your centre has been closed.
To request a Test Report Form you will need to complete an application form for additional TRFs. It is very important that you complete your family and given names exactly as they appear on your identification document. Submit the form by clicking the Submit button at the end of the form.
Include a scanned copy of the passport or identification document that you used when you sat the test (this is done after you click the submit button on the application form).
8. How soon can I re-sit the test?
There is no limit on sitting the test. However, IELTS recommends you undertake additional study and careful preparation before taking the test again. Some test centres offer preparatory courses and language classes. Contact your local test centre for more information.
9. What if I am not happy with my result?
You can apply for a remark (called an Enquiry on Results) at your test centre within six weeks of the test date. You must pay an enquiry fee, which is fully refunded if your band score changes. Note that IELTS Examiners and markers follow strict assessment guidelines and are regularly monitored. The IELTS testing process has the highest quality control procedures.