If you have visual difficulties you may be able to request some of the following arrangements:

  • Extra time depending on the level of visual difficulty.
  • Use of a Scribe - your test centre will also need to request a modified CD for the Listening test from Cambridge Assessment English to allow time for the Scribe to work.
  • Use of a Reader - your test centre will also need to request a modified CD for the Listening test from Cambridge Assessment English to allow time for the test taker to use the screen reading software or for the Reader to work.
  • Enlarged print question papers.
  • Braille question papers.
  • Modified CD for the Listening test.

Braille question papers

These materials are suitable for blind test takers who can read Braille.  A modified Speaking Test booklet is available with test taker cards in Braille or enlarged print.

Enlarged print question papers

These materials are suitable for test takers with visual difficulties. Enlarged print question papers are adapted, taking out any ‘visual’ material that is not needed for answering the question, for example, frames around texts.

The standard font size in IELTS question papers is Arial 11-point font and Enlarged Print question papers are in Arial 18-point bold font:


If you need a bigger font size, you may use assistive technology (like a magnifier) to increase the text to a more comfortable size.

Use a PC or a laptop to type answers

Test takers using Enlarged Print papers will normally not need to use a Scribe to write answers. A Scribe can only be used if you cannot write at all and are unable to record your answers using an enlarged answer sheet or assistive technology, e.g. typing them using a PC or a laptop.

However, if you are very severely visually impaired andwish to use a Scribe, this will be possible.  You will need to provide medical evidence to support your request which clearly states your percentage of visual difficulty.

Use of a Scribe or Reader

You can request for a Scribe or Reader if you are unable to read or write.

Rules for using a Scribe:

  • The Scribe must write down only what the test taker dictates.
  • The test taker must dictate their answers clearly, indicating all punctuation and capital letters and the spelling of commonly misspelt or less common words.
  • If the Scribe is unclear on the details of the test taker’s intended answer, they must request clarification.
  • The Scribe must also ask the test taker to dictate the spelling of words which are less common, likely to cause confusion (e.g. where there is a similar but different word in the test taker’s first language), homophones. The Scribe must underline all words where the spelling has been checked in this way.
  • The Scribe must not give factual help to the test taker nor offer any suggestions.
  • All dictation and writing must be completed within the time specified for the test.
Rules for using a Reader: 
  • A test taker using a Reader must have separate invigilation.
  • A Reader should be able to read accurately and at a reasonable rate and must be familiar with the texts and task types in IELTS. 

During the test a Reader must:

  • read accurately
  • not give factual help to the test taker, nor offer any suggestions
  • not advise the test taker regarding which questions to do, when to move on to the next question, or the order in which the questions should be done
  • read, as often as requested, the questions and the answers already recorded. This means that the Reader can repeat one or more of the questions after reading a section of text, or at any point upon the test taker's request
  • if asked, give information regarding time elapsed and remaining
  • if asked, give the spelling of a word which occurs in the question paper; otherwise spellings must not be given
  • not offer the test taker any other kind of assistance, e.g. indirectly by using intonation.

Assistive technology

Assistive technology is specialist equipment that can give you access to standard technology (a PC or laptop) or enable you to read, write, speak or listen. 

Assistive technology can only be used by the test taker and not by someone acting on your behalf. You must be proficient in the use of the equipment and any relevant programmes or software. Operator manuals cannot be used during the test.

Please contact your local test centre as soon as possible if you have special needs that may require a modified IELTS test version.