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Test-day checklist

Published on August 3, 2017

You have been getting ready for hundreds, even thousands, of hours. You need to score big. You know that your English has improved in the past year or two. Finally, test day arrives. For some, it is emotional; for others, it is stressful. Some just think it’s a breeze. Whichever it is, there are things you can do to help you capitalise on all your hard work. Here are eight clever tips to help you achieve success on your test day.

  1. Know the location. At every IELTS test centre you can see someone running to the door just seconds before the test starts. The excuses range from lost passports, to flat tyres, to catching the wrong bus. However, the most common excuse is going to the wrong test centre.

    Many cities have multiple IELTS test locations. Also, on occasion, the Speaking test is in a different building from the Reading, Writing and Listening tests. Ensure you know your test locations and have the correct map and directions. If you are late, you may not be able to sit the test!

  2. All-nighters don’t work in IELTS. Maybe it works for a history exam, but IELTS has been designed by language experts from around the world to get an accurate read on your true language abilities. It is impossible to learn a language the night before. Why? Because you will have no idea what topics will be on the test. Of course, do some practice tests in the weeks and months before, but don’t cram. Take it easy. Sleep well. Be positive. Eat a nutritious breakfast and be ready for anything.
  3. An IELTS 8.0 is easy if I cheat! What? Have you lost your mind? Possibly you bought an essay online once and got an A+. Possibly you sat next to a really intelligent classmate and got 100% by copying. Or maybe you plan to wear Google Glasses to the test.

    IELTS won’t be fooled! There is a reason IELTS is the immigration and academic test of choice for the top institutions in the world. This is because of its security. IELTS supervisors and examiners are some of the strictest, best trained and observant professionals in the language testing world. So don’t do something you will regret. If you cheat, you will either stress yourself out resulting in a terrible mark, or get caught cheating and get no mark at all!

  4. Don’t worry, be happy! There is a lot of research that proves positive and confident people score higher on language tests. You worked hard to improve your English. You are an intelligent person with a bright future. Believe in these facts and smile about it!
  5. Give yourself the whole day. Imagine trying to do a Speaking test while your best friends are waiting for you at your favourite restaurant. Not cool! When you consider travel-time, registration, the Speaking interview schedule, and the other three tests, IELTS can take your whole day. Make sure you don’t schedule other plans around these times. If you plan other activities on test day, it might worry you and affect your performance.
  6. Know how you’ll be scored. The road to success is to give IELTS what it wants. It wants a clear sample of your speaking, reading, writing and listening abilities. What does that mean? Every language test is a little bit different. To know specifically what the test is looking for, attend a masterclass or review the IELTS support toolkit.

  7. It’s like travelling overseas. Most of us know that IELTS is a very secure test with strict rules. During the test, candidates will be asked for government-issued IDs and/or passports. Don’t forget to bring this. Can you imagine travelling without your passport? It just wouldn’t work. It is the same with IELTS!
  8. Do it all in English . Everyone enjoys conversing in their first language. It’s our culture. Our good friends and family speak it. It is how we live. However, IELTS is not testing you on non-English language skills. It is an English skills test. One of the best ways to prepare for a language test is to have your English brain fully warmed up. So talk, listen, chat, email, watch and do everything in English during the days or weeks leading up to the test. Your language ability and your IELTS score will appreciate it.