What to Expect on IELTS Test Day

It’s natural to be nervous on IELTS test day, but if you are well-prepared and organized you will be able to perform at your best. Here are some tips to do well on IELTS test day:

  • Carry out your online Test registration in advance, and make sure you know exactly where the Test centre is and how you are going to get there. If you are concerned about traffic it is worth doing a ‘practice’ run the week before. Remember, if you arrive late you will not be allowed to take the test.
  • You are asked to arrive at the test venue 15 minutes before the start of the test. However, it is useful to arrive earlier, especially at test centers where there are a lot of candidates.
  • Make sure you bring the identification documents you used when you registered for the test. If you do not have these documents, you will not be allowed to take the test.
  • Before entering the examination room your identification will be checked. In some centers, the staff will take your photo and a record of your finger prints before the exam starts.
  • You need to bring your own writing equipment. It is recommended to use a pencil for all the tests, so that you can erase anything you want to change. Make sure you have pencils, a pencil sharpener and an eraser.
  • Bags and electronic devices, such as mobiles or tablets, are not allowed in the examination room. Be prepared to leave these outside. If you are concerned about the security of these, it is best to leave them at home.
  • You will be assigned a seat which you keep throughout the test.
  • You are not permitted to leave the examination room, so make sure that you go to the bathroom beforehand.
  • You can make notes on any of the exam papers to help you. However, no exam papers or spare answer sheets can be taken from the examination room.
  • You can ask for more paper for the Writing module by raising your hand.
  • The examination room invigilators are not able to answer any questions you may have about the paper or any of the questions on it. So it is important that you are familiar with all the different question types.
  • Although it is tempting, it is best not to try to do any revision the night before Test Day. Instead, you could watch your favorite English language film or get together with some English friends. Try to avoid spending the night reading books or doing online activities.

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The Speaking module may take place the afternoon of Test Day or on a different day. It can also be in a different location.

  • Make sure that you know where the Speaking interview is going to take place and, if necessary, do a trial run to ensure that you know how to get there.
  • You will be given a time and you should arrive at least 15 minutes before that time. Ideally 30 – 45 minutes beforehand.
  • Make sure that you bring all the appropriate identification documents with you. If you do not have then, you will be asked to go home and get them.
  • Before entering the examination room your identification will be checked. In some centers photos are taken and/or finger prints recorded.
  • If you arrive shortly after the time given for your interview you may have to wait until the next candidate has been interviewed.
  • If you arrive more than 30 minutes after the time given for your interview the examiner is not obliged to conduct the interview. Although, depending on the circumstances, they may be prepared to do so.
  • Bags, electronic devices such as mobiles and tablets are not allowed in the interview room. So be prepared to leave them outside. If you are concerned about the security of these it is best to leave them at home.
  • You can take a small bottle of water into the interview and tissues if you need to.
  • It is not advisable to chew gum during the interview.
  • Be aware that the interviewer will have the recorder on from the moment you enter the room. Interviewers are not permitted to engage in ‘small talk’ so don’t worry if they appear unfriendly.
  • The examiner understands that many candidates will be very nervous and possibly be under great stress to perform well. Thus, they will do what they can to help nervous candidates relax.
  • Don’t let the recorder make you nervous. The main purpose of this is to check the performance of the examiner, not you.
  • Finally, remember that the examiner, unlike a class teacher, is looking out for all the good things in your Speaking module, and not the things you do wrong. They want you to perform to the best of your ability!