Prepare for IELTS

IELTS test day advice

Follow our test day advice and be fully prepared to achieve the IELTS score you need.

At British Council, we want you to do well in your IELTS test. Make sure everything runs smoothly on test day by following these guidelines. 

Getting to the test centre

Before the day of your test, check the start time and location of your IELTS test centre. Make sure you know how to get there on time. We recommend doing this a week in advance so you’re fully prepared. 

Remember to check your IELTS test location as it may be different to that of the test centre where you booked your test.

Arriving for your IELTS test

The following points will help your test day run smoothly:

  1. Firstly, make sure you’ve read and understood IELTS test terms and conditions. These contain important information about your IELTS test day. You can also find them in the Test Takers information part of your application form.
  2. You need to arrive in good time for your IELTS test. If you arrive late, you may not be allowed to take the test.
  3. Switch off your mobile phone and any other electronic devices. You will be asked to place these with other personal belongings outside the test room.
  4. The Listening, Reading and Writing tests take 2 hours 40 minutes and there are no breaks between each part of the test.
  5. Make sure you are prepared and have something to eat and drink beforehand. You will not be allowed to take food into the test room; you will only be allowed to take a drink in a transparent bottle.

Your identity documents

When you arrive for your test, IELTS staff will check your identity. Make sure you have the right ID with you. The documents you received when you registered for the test will confirm which ID you’ll need.

Remember, if you arrive with the wrong ID you will not be allowed to take the test.

As an additional security measure, IELTS staff will take a photograph of you before you sit the test. This photo will be used on your Test Report Form. In some countries, you may also be asked to provide a finger scan.

Find out more about IELTS candidate verification.

During your test

Follow these rules when sitting IELTS tests. 

  1. You will only be allowed to have a pen or pencil, an eraser and your ID on your desk. 
  2. If you need to go to the bathroom during the test, put your hand up to attract the attention of the invigilator. Do not disturb other candidates.
  3. If you have any questions during the test, raise your hand to ask for help.
  4. When you take the Listening test, check that you can hear the test properly. Raise your hand straightaway and let the invigilator know if you cannot hear the recording.
  5. Please remember that you will have 10 minutes after the Listening section to fill in your answer sheet. You will not have 10 minutes after the Reading section, so please make sure that you write your answers on your Reading answer sheet as you complete each section. Learn more about the test formats.

Remember to give yourself the best chance of success by taking our practice tests so you know what to expect before your test day arrives.  

At the end of the test

  1. Stay in your seat until the invigilator gives you permission to leave the room.
  2. If you think that there have been any issues that may have affected your performance, tell the invigilator straightaway.
  3. If you want to make a complaint about your test day, you must do this within one week of the test date. If you want to raise an issue or make a complaint, you will be asked to fill in a Test Day Incident Form. 

Special arrangements

If you have asked for special arrangements as a result of a disability or other condition, adjustments will be made for you on the day of your test.

Test day tips

  1. Understand the task: Follow instructions carefully during the test. Remember that in the Writing parts of the test, you will be asked to write a specific number of words.
  2. Allow enough time for each question: Some questions have suggested time limits for you to follow. Every test room will have a clock on the wall. Stay aware of the time during the test so that you can complete all the questions.
  3. Keep calm: If you feel worried, take some deep breaths. Focus on the questions and do not rush your answers – this will help you to do your best. Remember, preparation is key to remaining calm
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Tips for the test day
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