What to Expect on Test Day

The IELTS test has four components. Three components − Listening, Reading and Writing − are always taken on the same day, in the same session.

The Speaking component may be sat the same day or taken up to seven days before or after the other tests, depending on your test centre.

The IELTS test implements sophisticated, biometric security measures which protect candidates and organisations from attempts to cheat. You will go through the processes described below when you register on test day.

Arrive early

You should arrive early for your IELTS test in order to allow time for you to register and be seated for the test. Please refer to your booking confirmation for details. If you arrive late, you may not be allowed to take the test.

Check-in your personal items

No personal items are to be taken into the test room. Test day staff will collect and safely store your personal belongings. Items which are forbidden from the test room include: mobile phones, hand-held computers, cameras, hats, scarves, wallets, books or notes.

ID check

When you register on test day, a staff member will check your identification (ID). Your ID must be the same ID that you used when you booked the test. It must also be valid (unexpired) and have a recognisable photo of yourself.

As a secure, high-stakes test, IELTS uses the latest biometric technology to verify your identity and to reduce your waiting time on test day. This means that on the day of your test we will capture your high-resolution photograph to include on your Test Report Form (TRF). Your Test Report Form allows the organisation to which you applied a way to confirm your result. In those countries where it is permitted, we also ask for your finger scan as further measure of your identity. Each time you re-enter the test room (after a toilet break or for your Speaking test), your identity will be verified by simply asking you to scan your finger.

How do these measures help you on test day? These biometric tools speed up the process of verifying your identity. This means the time you spend waiting to register on test day is minimised and together with other test takers you can get settled into your seats more quickly. 

Entering the test room

When it is time to enter the test room, a test invigilator will guide you to your seat. Do not write any notes. You are not permitted to speak to any other candidates. If you have a question, put up your hand and a staff member will assist you.

On your desk, you are only allowed to have your identification, pens/pencils, eraser and a bottle of drink in a transparent bottle.


You are not permitted to leave during the first or last 5 minutes of any of the test components. If you need to leave the test room to go to the bathroom at any other time, raise your hand and ask a staff member.

Asking for help

If you have a problem (for example, if you think you have been given the wrong paper, you cannot hear the instructions, or you feel ill) raise your hand to attract the attention of the supervisor. Remember that the invigilators will not provide any explanation on the questions.

End of the test

You cannot leave your seat until your papers have been collected and you have been told to leave. If you finish the test early you must wait quietly until the test is finished and you are advised that you can leave. You must leave any notes and materials on the desk.

After the test

Collect your belongings. Your provisional results will be available online 13 calendar days after the test. Your official result will appear on your Test Report Form which will also be ready after 13 calendar days. You can collect it from the test centre or have it posted to you – depending on what was specified at the time of registration.

Some tips on test day:

Eat a good breakfast
Eat a good breakfast. You will have several hours of concentration ahead of you and you will need food and drink in the morning. You may even want to bring more food or a snack with you to eat after the morning tests, especially if your Speaking test is at a later time that day. You cannot take food or drink into the test room.

Keep track of time
There will be a wall clock in the exam room. It is essential that you keep track of time and pace yourself as you are taking the test.

Test day advice 

On the day of your test you must:

  • Arrive early so that you have enough time to check in and move through all necessary security procedures
  • Bring your ID (valid passport/national identity card). You must have the same identification that you provided on your IELTS Application form. If you do not have the correct identification document, you will not be able to take the test
  • Bring stationery - pens, pencils and erasers which you will need for the test
  • Try to stay calm so you can do your best in the test
  • Listen carefully to the test supervisor’s instructions. If you cannot hear or are unsure, raise your hand and the supervisor will assist you
  • Raise your hand and tell a supervisor if you have a problem. For example, if you feel that your work may be affected by illness or any other reason, you must let the supervisor know.


  • You must not cheat, copy the work of another test taker or disrupt the test
  • You must not use, or try to use, a dictionary, pager, spell-checker, electronic recorder or mobile phone
  • You may not lend anything to or borrow anything from another person once you have entered the test room
  • The supervisor cannot help you with any of the test questions
  • You must not talk to, or disturb, other candidates once the test has started
  • You are not allowed to eat or smoke in the examination room
  • You must not reproduce any part of the test. You will have your test results withheld and be liable to prosecution if you do this
  • Do not take any materials from the examination room. This includes test papers, answer papers, working paper or any other test materials
  • You cannot leave the examination room without permission from a supervisor.

If you are caught breaking any of these rules, your test result will be withheld and the institution or professional body you may have nominated to receive your results will be notified.