IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System. The whole purpose of the IELTS examination is to measure your ability to communicate in English. You be will tested across the four major disciplines of listening, reading, writing and speaking. If you plan to study or work in an English speaking country it is more than likely you will be need have passed the IELTS test. We’ve brought together 20 of the most common questions about the IELTS examination.
1. What can I take to the IELTS test?
You are only allowed to take your pens, pencils and erasers into the examination room. It’s a good idea to write your answers in pencil as you will not be allowed to use correction fluid either. It’s a good idea to leave any valuable items at home, such as your mobile phone, as you will have to leave your belongs in the cloakroom outside the examination room. Remember you can’t take your mobile phone with you – it must be switched off and not on your person. If you are caught with a mobile phone during the examination you will be removed and disqualified.
2. How long does the IELTS test take to complete?
When you take your IELTS examination you will sit the listening, reading and writing modules after one another and in that order. There will be no break between the examinations, so be sure to take some water with you and go to the toilet before you begin. You will take your speaking module within 7 days after your first IELTS examination date.
3. Will I have to deal with difficult accents during my IELTS test?
As the IELTS examination is an international one the questions reflect its international nature. You will therefore hear a wide variety of English accents during the listening and speaking modules of the IELTS examination.
4. Will I have enough time during the IELTS listening test?
Yes you definitely will. At the beginning of your IELTS listening examination you will get to hear a sample question. This will allow you to get a feel for the timings and pauses between questions. The paper is split into 4 sections and you will hear and complete each section in turn. It will take you 30 minutes to finish all 4 sections and you will be expected to write your answers down as you listen. The final 10 minutes of the examination is to allow students to transfer their answers to their answer books.
5. Do I get time to transfer my answers in the IELTS reading test too?
Unfortunately you do not get any time to transfer your answers during the IELTS reading test. The test lasts for one hour and you are required to write all answers directly onto your answer sheet.
6. Can I answer the IELTS listening and reading tests in pen?
No, you can not. You must mark your answers in pencil. This is because the special machine that is used to mark your examination can not red pen. Do not, I repeat do not use pen unless you want to feel very embarrassed!
7. Do I have to submit any notes I make?
No. It’s a great exam tip to make some notes on the IELTS examination question sheet as you prepare your answers. You will not be required to hand the question sheet in along with your answer booklet so the examiner will not see your notes.
8. What is the IELTS speaking test like?
You will meet for a one-to-one interview with an IELTS certified examiner. The interview will probably last around 15 minutes and will also be recorded. The aim of the interview is to recreate common everyday situations so expect to have to talk about a wide range of things.
9. What should I take to my IELTS speaking test?
You will need to take along the same documents that you used when you first registered for the IELTS examination. Do remember to bring the exact same identification as it will be checked against the details you provided on your original application form. Have these documents handy when you arrive at the IELTS examination centre as they will need to be checked by both the administrator and the examiner too.
10. Help, I’ve lost my Test Report Form!
Don’t worry these things happen. It’s not the end of the world as long as you took your test within the last two years. If you are within the two year cutoff period, you can apply to the IELTS examination centre where you took your test and they will send you 5 copies of your Test Report Form completely free.
11. When will I get my IELTS test results?
You should receive your results 13 days after your speaking examination. Allow some time for the post and if you haven’t received your IELTS examination results after 15 days, contact your IELTS examination centre so they can arrange a new copy for you.
12. How soon can I re-sit the IELTS test?
There is limit to how many or when you take your IELTS test. You are only limited by the availability at your local IETLS examination centre. You could theoretically fail a test today and sit another on immediately tomorrow. However, if you’ve already studied for the IELTS examination you will know that to increase your score, you will have to undertake further study; repeated attempts in a short space of time will not see your score increase significantly.
13. What kind of provisions are made for disabled students?
IETLS examination centres will do everything they can to accommodate any disabled students wishing to sit the test. Staff will be available during your test to ensure you understand the questions and tasks that form the examination as well as understand how to provide your answers. It goes without saying that everyone will be treated and assessed fairly and objectively. If you do have any special needs you should contact your local IELTS test centre and tell them of your needs when applying so adequate arrangements can be made.
14. Help! I missed my IETLS test but it wasn’t my fault, honest!
Should you miss your test for any reason out of your control you should contact your IELTS examination centre as soon as possible. At their discretion they may offer you another test at the next available opportunity.
15. Can I cancel or postpone my IELTS test?
Yes you can cancel or postpone your IELTS examination date. You can do this free of charge if you contact your IETLS examination centre at least 5 weeks before your examination. If you need to cancel or postpone your IETLS test within 5 weeks of your allocated date, you will be required to pay the full fee. This may be waived only on medical grounds. You will have to submit appropriate medical evidence should you need to cancel or postpone your IETLS examination within the 5 week period.
16. What happens if I miss my exam without telling anyone?
If you are not present at your IELTS examination and you haven’t made prior arrangements to postpone your test, you will be marked as absent. You will also not be permitted to take the IELTS speaking examination as there would be no point. You will also lose the full test fee which you paid. If you missed your test because of medical reasons, you can receive a refund provided you submit a medical certificate within 5 days of your examination. There will be an administrative charge applied by your local IELTS test centre in processing your refund.
17. What can I do if I have a complaint about my IELTS test results?
You can appeal your examination results if you wish and request an enquiry into the test procedures at your local IELTS test centre. You will have to pay to challenge your result which will be refunded if your IETLS test score changes.
18. How can I get copies of my IELTS test results?
Up to 1 month after your IELTS examination, you can get 1 personal copy of the Test Report Form. You can also request up to a maximum of 5 extra copies free. Arrangements can even be made for your IELTS examination certificates to be sent to universities you are applying to. After this, you may be required to pay a small handling charge for requesting more copies of your IELTS test results.
19. Where can I take the IELTS test?
See our post Update the Next IELTS test dates for details of upcoming IELTS examination dates at the UK’s 37 IELTS examination centres.
20. When can I take the IETS test?
Normally there are 4 sessions per month for you to take your IELTS test. Contact your local IETLS examination centre for more details.
The IELTS examination is available to take in two formats – Academic and General Training. FInd out more about the IELTS examination.