- Last Updated: Thursday, 09 March 2023 00:19
- Written by IELTS Mentor
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If you cannot find a question and an answer to it from the FAQs listed below, email us. We will add this question with an answer in this section and that would be beneficial for others as it would save their valuable time and frustration. We also recommend you visit the official website of the British Council (https://www.britishcouncil.org) & IELTS (https://www.ielts.org) for more details and recent changes related to the IELTS Exam.
It is always better to know about an aspect of the exam when it is not too late. For instance, if you register for a test and then find that you have made a mistake, chances are you will have to bear extra hassles or costs to rectify that.
The FAQ section has been classified into sub-categories like "General FAQs", "Test Formats", "IELTS Registration", "Taking the test", "Test Results" and so on so that you can find your question and its answer easily. A few more resources (common FAQs and Facts about the IELTS test) could be found in the About IELTS Section. To learn about what to believe and what not to about IELTS, please visit the IELTS Myths page. Do you have a question about IELTS Cue Card? Read our IELTS Cue Card FAQs section.
What is IELTS?
IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. The IELTS exam is designed to assess the English proficiency of a candidate who wants to study or get some sort of training programme in a college or university or wants to migrate to an English-speaking county. IELTS provides a profile of a candidate's English proficiency and the profile contains an indication of a candidate's ability in a particular module as well as an indication of overall ability.
IELTS is recognised by universities and employers in many countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It is also recognised by professional bodies, immigration authorities and other government agencies.
For you, the IELTS score is proof of your English proficiency in general. IELTS is recognised worldwide and that's why if you have a good IELTS score, you can use this test result as proof of your proficiency in handling English as a second language. If you want to migrate to a country where English is spoken or want to get enrolled in a college or university, the IELTS test result speaks for your English Language skills.
What is the meaning of IELTS?
IELTS means or stands for "International English Language Testing System". This test is accepted by more than 10,000 institutions and many immigration authorities around the world. Anyone can take this test and the test result reflects his/her proficiency in the English language.
The unique 9-band scoring system of the IELTS test measures performance in a consistent manner, wherever and whenever the test is taken. The IELTS test is internationally recognised.
When you apply to get admission to a college or university or want to get a PR or residency in a country where English is widely spoken, you need to prove that you have the required English language skills. You take IELTS to show that you have the expected skills in English.
What is the purpose of the IELTS test?
The purpose of the IELTS exam is to test the candidates' ability to handle the English language who want to study or work in a country where English is the language of communication. IELTS result is also necessary for immigration purposes.
Each year millions of people take the IELTS exam to achieve a score that would prove their English language proficiency. IELTS is one of the most widely accepted international exams. The IELTS exam is available for students and immigration applicants to demonstrate their English language proficiency for specific purposes.
Not necessarily you will be allowed admission to a foreign university, or get a visa to live there only because of your IELTS score. It is not the only requirement, but one of the many requirements. But the college/university you are going to apply to, or the immigration authority of the country where you would like to migrate, will ask for proof of your English skills and your IELTS score serves this purpose just fine.
Who owns the IELTS test?
IELTS is owned and administered jointly by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. These organisations set the exam standard, maintain the IELTS exam, monitor the standard, review and change the exam format and everything related to the IELTS exam.
Who writes the IELTS test questions?
International teams of writers affiliated with the IELTS Authority contribute to IELTS test materials. Ongoing research ensures that IELTS remains fair and unbiased. IELTS test writers are from different English-speaking countries and they develop IELTS content. So it reflects real-life situations.
Why should I take IELTS when there are other standardised tests available?
You should take IELTS because it is the most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration. IELTS test results are widely accepted by many international organisations, immigration authorities, colleges and universities, multinational companies, government agencies, and professional bodies who may or may not accept the test results of other English Language Tests. With your IELTS test score, you have global acceptance.
Which countries accept IELTS Score?
IELTS is accepted as a standardised international language test system for English language proficiency by a whole range of institutions. These include the majority of all educational establishments operating in English in Australia, Canada, the UK and New Zealand. The US educational institutions are also now starting to use it. Many international immigration services, as well as various professional organisations including the British and Australian Medical Councils and the UK Ministry of Defence, also use and accept the IELTS.
In most countries where university courses are offered in English or people speak English to communicate, an IELTS score is accepted as proof of your English proficiency. Many European countries where English is not the first or even the second language would ask for an IELTS test score to accept admission to a university or college that offers courses in English.
Simply consider the fact that IELTS is a test that demonstrates a candidate's English proficiency and this exam and its score is accepted worldwide wherever you need to show proof of your English proficiency level.
Which organisations accept IELTS?
IELTS test result is accepted by more than 10,000 organisations worldwide. These organisations include universities, immigration departments, government agencies, professional bodies and multinational companies. Since IELTS is the most widely accepted English Language test in the world, it is the number one choice for students and migration seekers’ when it comes to taking a language test to demonstrate someone’s English skills.
Does the USA accept IELTS?
Yes, despite a common myth that the USA does not accept IELTS scores, the fact is that they do. Over 3,400 institutions and programmes in the USA accept IELTS scores as proof of English language skills. The minimum score requirement in IELTS might vary from 6.5 to 9.0 depending on the university and major but you are reassured that you can apply to many universities in the USA with your valid IELTS score.
What is computer-based or computer-delivered IELTS?
The computer-based version of IELTS is an alternative to the paper-and-pencil-based IELTS exam. This test is also called Computer-delivered IELTS and this format has been introduced recently. You can sit for any of the two types. However, computer-delivered IELTS is available at selected centres and test centres only. To find out if your nearby test centre offers the Computer-delivered IELTS, you will need to contact them.
The Reading, Writing and Listening modules in Computer-delivered IELTS are conducted using a computer but the speaking module would still be administered the way it had been, i.e. face-to-face interview session with an examiner. The Test Report Form, content, timing and structure of the test is the same whether you take the test on paper or on a computer.
In the computer-delivered Listening test, the timings are slightly different from the paper-based test. This is because the paper-based test requires users to transfer answers to an answer sheet. This step becomes redundant when answering directly on a computer.
To learn more about Computer-delivered IELTS and where it is available please visit https://www.ielts.org/about-the-test/computer-delivered-ielts
Do I need good computer skills to take the computer-delivered IELTS test?
You do not need any special computer skills to take a computer-delivered IELTS test. If you can type on a keyboard and do some very basic computer-related tasks, you can take the test. Please note that a QWERTY keyboard is used for the test. The computer-delivered test is designed for people with average typing speed, so don't worry if your typing speed is not fast enough.
Can I make notes if I take the computer-delivered IELTS?
Yes, the computer-delivered IELTS provides a 'note-taking' and 'highlight' function that you can use for that purpose.
How much does it cost to take IELTS?
The cost of the IELTS exam is not fixed. It is set by test centres. Fees may vary depending on the country and test centre. On average, the cost is approximately £180 GBP/ €230 Euros/ $245–250 USD both for the Academic and GT module. You can find the exact fees from the official IELTS website by locating your nearby test centre from https://www.ielts.org/book-a-test/find-a-test-location
Can IELTS be an alternative to TOEFL?
The answer is "YES" and "NO". Both IELTS and TOEFL are designed to evaluate the test-takers' English language skills for academic and communication purposes. Though the exam formats of these two exams are similar, there are a few differences as well. You can take either TOEFL or IELTS if the college or university you are going to apply accepts either one. If they have any strict requirements for TOEFL, your IELTS score won’t be accepted. But in practice, most colleges, universities and immigration authorities accept both of these exams.
It is commonly known that the USA universities prefer a TOEFL score whereas European and other universities accept IELTS. But recently the USA has agreed to recognise IELTS and accept either IELTS or TOEFL for admission purposes and hence they will accept both test results. However, there are still some institutes and universities that want a TOEFL score and do not accept IELTS. For an updated list of universities that accept IELTS, please visit https://www.ielts.org/
To be on the safe side, double-check with your university or immigration authority before taking an exam.
In which countries IELTS exam is taken?
The IELTS test is taken every year across 140 countries and the number is growing each year. It is not far away when all the countries in the world would have IELTS test centres. To find the complete list click on « IELTS CENTERS ». It is one of the fastest-growing English language tests in the world and sets the standard in integrity, research and innovation and that's why candidates from all around the globe are taking this exam.
Can a native English speaker take the IELTS exam?
Yes, a candidate who speaks English as their first language can take the IELTS exam. There is no restriction imposed on that.
If you are a native English speaker and studied your previous degrees from institutions where English was used as part of the academic practice, you can be exempted to supply the IETLS score to the intended university/ college or in immigration offices. Contact the university or college you are going to get admitted to or contact the immigration office to be sure if you need this test to prove your English skill or not.
Does the IELTS test differ in various parts of the world?
IELTS is a global standard test. It does not assess candidates from different geographical locations differently. However, the questions may vary depending on the test locations or centres. But the IELTS authority strictly maintains the standard and questions format in all locations. You are likely to get a different question set for a different geographic location but the standard of the questions, test and evaluation would be the same.
There are some misconceptions that certain test centres' exams are easy compared to others, a native examiner would be hard to convince in the speaking exam and so on. But don't worry about these misconceptions and strictly focus on your exam preparation.
Can I get a better score at an IELTS test centre than at others?
Absolutely NOT! IELTS officials use many means to ensure the standardisation of Band Scores throughout the world. Of course, it could be true that taking IELTS in an English-speaking country is beneficial, but only because you are being exposed to English every day not because taking the test there would give you any privilege regarding the exam.
IELTS questions, tests and result standards are strictly maintained all over the world. Focus on your preparation and improve your English skill, and you will get a high band score from your nearby test centre.
What is the IELTS Life Skills test?
IELTS Life Skills is a test for people who need to prove their English speaking and listening skills at Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Levels A1, A2 or B1. This test assesses whether a candidate has the required speaking and listening skills to meet the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requirements for certain visa categories and other immigration purposes.
To learn more about the IELTS Life Skills Test visit:
IELTS Life Skills test results are available within a week of the test. You will not be assigned any band score for this test and get one of two results- Pass or Fail. A 'pass' means you can use the result for your visa application and a 'fail' means that you have not been successful in the test and your test cannot be used for your UK visa application.
Who is the IELTS Life Skills test for?
The IELTS Like Skills test is designed for people who want to meet the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). If you are applying for a "family of a settled person" visa or "indefinite leave to remain or citizenship in the UK" visa, this test is for you.
Which organisations, apart from universities, accept IELTS?
Immigration departments, government agencies, professional bodies and multinational companies accept IELTS. Every time you need to prove your proficiency in the English language, you can use the IELTS result.
Do I need to know about a specific subject or have special academic knowledge to take the IELTS test?
The IELTS test measures the language proficiency of test-takers who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. And as part of this assessment, it examines candidates' abilities in listening, reading, writing and speaking sections. All these tests cover a range of subjects within the item contents, but no specialized knowledge or academic knowledge, in particular, is required to take the IELTS test.
Do I have to take IELTS in my home country?
No, there is no such rule. You can register and take the IELTS test anywhere in the world. But for that, you need a valid passport.
What are the two versions of IELTS?
IELTS test is available in two formats – Academic and General Training.
» Academic Module is suitable for those who are going to apply for further studies and professional registration. If you are planning to get admitted to an undergraduate or postgraduate course at a college or university where English is necessary, you should take the Academic IELTS test. In fact, your university will ask for your academic IELTS score for that. General Training IELTS score is not accepted for this purpose.
» General Training Module is appropriate for those who are going to English-speaking countries to complete work experience and training programme, do secondary level education, or apply to migrate to a country where English is spoken. General Training IELTS assesses candidates' communication skills, which is needed for people who are not native English speakers and want to migrate to a country where English is the language of communication. The university or the immigration authority who will be receiving your papers can tell you in prior which form of IELTS you are required to complete. So, if you have any confusion, contacting the corresponding authority would be the best thing to do.
What are the differences between the Academic and GT version of IELTS?
The Academic Version of IELTS is designed and intended for those who want to get admitted to universities or any other higher educational institutes for undergraduate and postgraduate courses and for professionals who want to study or practice in an English-speaking country.
The General Training (GT) IELTS is intended for those who are willing to gain work experience, undertake non-academic training or for immigration purposes. It is also accepted to enrol at the secondary level of education.
The listening and speaking sections are exactly the same both for the Academic and General Training IELTS candidates. The reading and writing sections differ. For academic IELTS candidates, the reading passages are longer and are generally related to academic reading. On the contrary, the GT readings are designed to test general instruction and basic reading ability. In the writing part, the Academic candidates need to write a report or summary from a given chart, graph or diagram whereas the General Training candidates need to write a letter related to real-life issues.
Which version should I do? Should I take Academic or GT IELTS?
IELTS Academic version is intended for those who want to study in a college or university where the medium of instruction is English, as well as for medical professionals who want to practice abroad. This test is designed for academic purposes except for the secondary education level in which GT IELTS is preferred.
The IELTS General Training (GT) Module is for those who want to migrate to an English-speaking country, undergo practical vocational training, or do a work placement. Before you register we strongly advise you to check directly with the institution you are doing the test for. It is your responsibility to choose the test version that suits your purpose.
Consider the fact that, you need an academic IELTS score (as the name implies) to get admitted to an academic (be it a college or university). For general training or immigration purposes, you would require the General Training IELTS score.
If you have an academic IELTS test score, that would be usually accepted for secondary education or training purposes as well. But GT IELTS score might not be accepted by the college/university authority where you are planning to complete your undergraduate or postgraduate studies. Similarly, your Academic IELTS score will not be accepted when you are planning to migrate to an English-speaking country.
It is advisable to contact the appropriate authority who would be processing your papers (admission/ training or immigration) to be sure which version of IELTS you are required to take.
What are the 4 sections of IELTS?
There are 4 sections or modules in IELTS: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. All candidates take the same Listening and Speaking tests, but Reading and Writing tests vary depending on whether a candidate is taking the Academic IELTS test or the General Training IELTS test.
The Academic Reading test examines the candidates' ability to read and extract specific information from the reading materials. The reading passages are generally of academic interest and are designed to test how well the candidates would be able to conduct their academic reading where skimming and finding information, and understanding themes of reading are necessary.
The General Training Reading module tests candidates' ability to find specific instructions or information from reading materials that are generally found in everyday life.
The Academic Writing module tests candidates' ability to write a summary of a given illustration and the ability to write an essay on a given issue. The presentation, writing pattern, lexical resources, coherence and relevancy etc. are tested in writing task two (essay writing).
The General Training Writing examines the test takers' skills in writing letters, applications as well as essay writing ability.
Note that writing task two i.e. essay writing is the same for the Academic and GT IELTS test takers.
The Listening part tests the examinees' ability to understand the language and then recall the information heard.
The Speaking part tests candidates' ability to introduce themselves, talk about known issues, give details of their background, discuss in detail general, social and international issues of common interest, vocabulary, fluency and overall speaking skills.
What is the IELTS test format and how long will it take me to finish the exam?
The IELTS exam (both GT and Academic) has four parts or sections:
Listening: Duration - 30 minutes, questions - 40.
Reading: Duration - 60 minutes, questions - 40.
Writing: Duration - 60 minutes, 2 tasks.
Speaking: Duration 11–14 minutes, a three-part conversation with an examiner.
The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are done in one sitting. The Speaking test may be on the same day or up to seven days before or after the other tests.
I want to migrate to an English-speaking country. Should I take GT IELTS?
Yes, GT IELTS is the one you should take.
Can I take Academic IELTS if I want to migrate to an English-speaking country?
You should take GT IELTS Instead.
Do questions in the Reading test come in order?
No, questions in the Reading test do not always come in order. Many a time, answers to Reading questions could be found in order, and in such cases, finding answers takes less time and effort because you know where to look to find the answers to the next questions. Unfortunately, not all answers are in order, and if you have found the answer to question 7, for example, in Paragraph 'D', there is no guarantee that the answer to question 8 could be found in Paragraph 'E' as it may be well-hidden in Paragraph 'B'.
Registering for the Test:
When can I take IELTS?
The IELTS test is available on 48 fixed dates a year – up to four times a month, depending on local demand. You should check with your local test centre for available schedules. To find it online, visit - https://www.ielts.org/book-a-test/find-a-test-location
Where are the IELTS test centres?
IELTS test centres can be found in almost all of the countries including yours. If you have seen a British Council, IDP or ESOL Examination office somewhere in your locality, you can get details from there.
For a comprehensive and most recent list of the IELTS test centres go to the page https://www.ielts.org/book-a-test/find-a-test-location
Select your country name and the city you live in, it will show all of the IELTS test centres around your locality.
What is the minimum age requirement for IELTS?
IELTS is recommended for candidates over the age of 16. In another word, to take the IELTS test, a candidate should be at least 16 years old. However, if you are below 16 and want to take the test, there is no restriction on that. A minimum age limit is recommended, not imposed.
I am not 16 yet. What should I do to take IELTS?
If you are below 16 and yet need to take the test for education or migration purposes, you can take the test. However, the IELTS authority recommends a minimum age limit of 16 for taking the test.
I am over 64 years old and live in Canada. Can I take IELTS?
Applicants between the ages of 14-64 now have to meet language requirements set out by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to apply for Canadian citizenship. So if you are over 64 and live in Canada, there should be no problem in taking the test.
What should I bring to complete my IELTS registration?
You will need the following to register for the IELTS exam:
1. Registration fee (you can pay in your local currency).
2. Valid Passport or National Identity Card.
3. Two copy colour passport-size photographs.
4. Country and Language code.
Don't worry if you do not know the Country and Language code. You can find it at the help desk of the test centre or browse the country codes from https://www.ielts.org/-/media/pdfs/application-form.ashx?la=en
The above-mentioned materials and papers are usually required for the IELTS exam registration. However, the requirement might change and you should always contact the local IELTS authority before going there for registration. They can give you the details of the requirement for IELTS registration. Check the list and make sure you have all the necessary papers and materials for the registration process.
Can I register for the test online?
Yes, you can complete your IELTS registration online without visiting the test centre in person. In this case, you need to browse the online registration area of the IDP or British Council website and fill up the online form, upload a clear scanned version of your passport or national identity card and pay the fee online (using debit/credit or acceptable cards).
How do I book/register for my IELTS test online?
Many IELTS test centres offer a convenient online booking system. To book your IELTS online you need to upload a clear colour scan or photo of your passport and use your credit card to finalise the payment. Once the online registration is complete, you will get a confirmation message.
I see an error message while registering online. What should I do?
If the problem is related to your Internet connection, wait for a few minutes and then try again. If this is related to uploading your ID document or payment by credit card, please contact the Test Centre by selecting “Assistance for online registration, ID upload, payment”. Keep in mind, the scan-copy of your ID must be in colour and must include the parts of the document with the photograph of the bearer, signature, ID document number and personal details.
Can I change my test date or venue once I register for the test?
Yes, you can change the exam date and/or test venue once you register for the test. However, it is subject to availability and you have to apply for the change two weeks before your exam date. If it is less than 14 days or two weeks, you are not allowed to change your test date and venue. You cannot change it to a different calendar year either.
This will cost you a transfer fee of 35€. To ask for a transfer please phone the administration centre responsible for the test location you chose.
Can I change my speaking test date?
Usually, you cannot change the speaking test date alone. In case, you want to change the whole schedule, you have to pay a fee of 35€ and apply for it not less than 14 days before the exam date.
In case you have any serious health problems, and can show related medical certificates, you can transfer your speaking test date without any charge. You have to contact the test centre in advance for that.
Can I use a driving license/student ID card as proof of my identity?
NO, driving licenses and student Identity Cards are not acceptable forms of identification for the IELTS registration and test. Candidates must have a valid passport or accepted identity card like Social Security Card, or National ID card to register for the IELTS exam. The ID document specified on the application form has to be brought along on the test day.
Please note that Non-EU nationals must carry their passport as proof of their identity.
Using the Passport is the best form of presenting your identification.
What can I do if I want to postpone or cancel my application?
If you postpone or cancel your application more than 5 weeks before the test date, you will receive a refund minus an administration charge. If you postpone or cancel within 5 weeks of the test date, you will be charged the full fee unless you have a medical reason. If you provide a medical certificate within 5 days of the test date, you will receive a refund minus the local administrative cost.
You can download the refund claim form from https://www.britishcouncil.it/sites/default/files/refund_claim_form_en.pdf
Browse detailed Transfer, Cancellation And Refund Policy
Which one is better - British Council or IDP for taking IELTS?
Both maintain the same standard and hence none is better than the other. Don't listen to myths and waste your time deciding which one you should choose as your IELTS test authority.
Will I get any discount if I re-take the test?
No, there is no discount for re-taking IELTS.
Taking the test:
When can I take the IELTS test?
Generally speaking, you can take an IELTS test whenever you want. You just need to contact the IELTS exam authority and find an available exam date and slot that you want to book. After the registration is complete, you are ready to take the test. IELTS is available on 48 fixed dates a year up to four times a month, depending on local demand.
How long does the IELTS exam take?
The IELTS examination takes approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete. The time schedules for the Reading, Writing and Listening sections are fixed but for the speaking section, that may vary.
Reading and Writing sections each take 1 hour or 60 minutes. The listening test takes 30 minutes. The speaking part usually lasts for 11-14 minutes but there is no fixed time limit for the interview or speaking section.
For details on the IELTS exam structure please visit About IELTS
Is the IELTS test completed in one day?
The Listening, Reading and Writing components of the test are always completed immediately after each other and with no break. Depending on the test centre, the Speaking test may be taken up to 7 days either before or after the test date. So you should be prepared to take the Speaking exam on a day and then take the rest of the test on a different date.
Which part of the test do I take first?
You will most probably take the Listening test first, followed by the Reading and Writing tests. Be informed that, there are no breaks between these tests. Your Speaking test will be held either on the same day or within seven days before or after that, depending on the test centre's local arrangements.
How can I get the test venue address and the exam timetable?
Once you register for the test, you will receive an email, usually 5-7 days before the exam date with details on the test venue address and the timetable of the tests.
When should I arrive at the exam centre?
After you reach the exam centre, your identification (Passport or National Identification Card) would be checked. You will be asked to submit any gadget or bag you bring with you, take Test Day Photography and then be allowed to enter the exam centre. All these processes takes up to 30 minutes. So it is advisable that you reach your exam centre at least one hour before your exam timetable.
Can I wear a wristwatch during my IELTS test?
No, you are not permitted to wear any watch while you take the IELTS test. Wearing any watch, be it a smartwatch or a simple analogue watch, is prohibited. To manage your time, you need to use the clock on the wall in the exam room. Interestingly, you are not permitted to wear a watch even when you take the speaking test.
Is there a break between the reading and writing tests?
No, there is no break between the reading and writing tests. The Listening, Reading and Writing components of the test are always completed immediately after each other and with no break in between.
Can I bring something to eat and drink during my IELTS test?
You can only bring water in a transparent bottle with the label removed. You can not bring any other food and drink items to the test room. Candidates asking for an exemption on the grounds of medical needs should tick the relevant box when they register for the test and must supply medical evidence, in original, paper format, before the test date.
Do I get an extra 10 minutes in my Listening test to transfer my answer to the answer sheet?
Yes, in the paper-based IELTS, you are allowed an additional 10 minutes to transfer your answer. But, in the computer-delivered Listening test, this step becomes redundant when answering directly on a computer, and hence you would not get an additional 10 minutes to transfer your answer.
Is there a similar period of 10 minutes in the Reading test to transfer answers?
In your "Listening test", you will be given an additional 10 minutes to transfer your answer to your answer sheet, but in your "Reading test", you won't be given any extra time. The Reading test is one hour, and you must write all your answers on the answer sheet within this time. No separate time is given in the Reading test.
Does the Listening tape/recording provide instructions and pauses?
Yes, at the beginning of the Listening test, you will hear instructions and a sample question. Then you read section 1 questions, listen to section 1 and answer the questions. And there are several instructions and pauses in your Listening test to allow you to read the question instructions and questions so that you know what and how to answer questions.
How many times will I listen to the recording in my Listening test?
You will listen to it only once. So, if you miss the answer to a question, you should quickly make a guess and then focus on the next question.
Is spelling important and has any impact on my band score?
Spelling is very important in your IELTS test. For wrong spelling, you will lose full marks for a question in your Reading and Listening test, which will impact your band score. For incorrect spellings, your writing score will also be affected. Please note that both American and British spelling are correct in IELTS.
What is Test Day Photography? Why does the test centre take it?
Certain test locations have introduced a new procedure for enhancing IELTS test security that involves taking and authenticating photographs of test-takers on the test day. Under this new procedure, IELTS administration staff will take an individual, passport-style, photograph of all candidates present on the test day. The photograph will normally be taken on the day of the speaking test. The test day photograph will be printed on candidates’ Test Report Forms, and will only be used for the test-related purpose (including but not limited to Test Report Form issuance, receiving organization verification, etc.) in accordance with national and international data protection law.
It usually takes 30 seconds per candidate on average to take the test day photo.
What if I become ill during the IELTS test?
If you get seriously ill during the test, you should report it to the test supervisor immediately. Then the test centre will take special care of the situation and might give special consideration. No consideration or favour is possible if it is not brought to the attention of the test supervisor.
What if I am absent or sick on the test day?
If you are away on the test day with no prior notice, you will lose your full fee. However, if you provide a medical certificate within 5 days of the test date, you will receive a refund minus the local administrative cost.
What happens if I'm unable to appear for the IELTS test?
Don't consider the IELTS exam as one of your class tests where you can contact your course teacher or administrative officer and take the exam at an alternative schedule. IELTS tests are pre-scheduled and you won't get an alternative exam schedule if you miss your exam for no valid reason.
Some unavoidable reasons might prevent you from taking the exams. If you fail to appear for the IELTS test for no valid reason, you will be treated as a 'no show' candidate by the IELTS exam authority. No refunds will be possible for a 'no show' candidate. However, there are some special circumstances under which your application may be considered with some conditions. Acceptance of your form is subject to approval by the test centre and if you can't give a strong reason with supporting papers & documents, you won't get any refund.
What if I am delayed by circumstances beyond my control?
The test centre may offer you a test on the next available test date if they feel that the circumstance (for instance, transport strike or natural calamities) was really beyond your control. However, you should immediately notify the test centre of such unavoidable circumstances.
Is there any special consideration for disabled or special needs candidates in the IELTS exam?
IELTS aims to assess the English language skills of all test takers fairly and objectively. The IELTS test centres can make arrangements to accommodate special circumstances or requirements to enable such test-takers to attend a test centre and to understand questions and tasks and give their answers. Test centres require three months’ notice to put special arrangements in place. Generally, some special circumstances are considered like - Visual difficulties, Hearing difficulties, and Illness.
What help is available for test takers with visual, hearing, speaking or learning difficulties?
IELTS test centres can help if someone has visual, hearing, speaking or learning difficulties by offering "modified and enlarged print papers", "braille and enlarged print versions of the Speaking test", "lip-reading version of the Listening test", "a scribe to write answers on the candidate's behalf" and so on. If you need a modified version of IELTS, please give the test centre three months' notice. If special arrangements (for example, extra time) need to be made then please give the test centre six weeks' notice. Your English language ability will be assessed objectively, regardless of any disability or special needs that someone may have. So inform the test centre and get the facility they can arrange in case you have any visual, hearing, speaking or learning difficulties.
Find out more about "notice time" and "what arrangements the test centres can make" for you from https://www.ieltsessentials.com/about/faqs/special-requirements
What happens if I am colour blind?
Your IELTS questions, in all modules, will be printed in black ink but the graphs or charts in Academic Writing Task 1 may contain some colours to differentiate between different data points. So if you are colour blind, you should let your test centre know when you register for the test. They will arrange to print the questions/text/figures in appropriate colours for you.
What if I feel seriously ill while taking the test?
If you are genuinely ill on the day of the exam or during the test, you should let the test supervisor know. Special consideration may be given to test takers who report their illness on the day of the test. Like all other standard exam centres, there might be some limitations on the facilities offered.
What happens if I am absent on the IELTS test date?
If a candidate is absent on the day of the IELTS test s/he will be treated as a 'No Show' candidate. S/he will not get any result and if s/he was absent without giving prior notice, will normally lose the full test fee unless he/she provides appropriate medical evidence to the centre to explain the absence. Medical evidence must be provided within 5 days of the test.
Re-taking the test:
Can I take the IELTS exam more than once?
Yes, you can take the IELTS exam as many times as you want. Even if you have got a decent band score and the score has its validity, and you expect to get a higher score, you can sit for the IELTS exam once again at your convenience.
A few years back there was a restriction on sitting for the exam a second time within a prescribed duration, but this is no longer applicable and you can re-take the IELTS exam as many times as you want. Each exam would require you to register for it and there is no waiver/discount if you have taken the exam previously.
How soon can I repeat the IELTS test?
A candidate can re-take the IELTS exam anytime he/she likes. The restriction on re-taking IELTS within 90 days has been removed and candidates are able to repeat the test whenever they wish.
Please note that you will still be asked to indicate on your application form whether you have taken the IELTS test before or not. This information will not appear on the Test Report Form (TRF) and will only be used for monitoring purposes.
Will my previous IELTS score affect my new score?
No, your previous IELTS score will not affect your new IELTS score. You do not need to worry about your previous score(s) if you are taking IELTS a second or third time. Your score would be given as if you are taking IELTS for the first time. In your Report Form (result), the previous score won't be mentioned.
Can I retake the IELTS Reading component only because I am satisfied with my result in other components?
No, it is not possible to retake individual modules/components. If you would like to improve your score, you will have to retake all four sections of the exam.
Will my previous exam result become invalid if I re-take the IELTS test?
No, both of your test results will remain valid for 2 years from the date you took the exam and you can use either of these two test results (the better one obviously). However, you can never mix results from multiple tests.
Can I combine the test results from my two tests?
No, you cannot combine/club your IELTS test result.
Can I retake only the speaking test?
No, you cannot. You have to retake the full exam (four modules).
I have scored 8 in all modules except in writing. Can I now take only the writing test?
No, you can not take selective module(s) of an IELTS test. If you register for the test, you need to take all four modules.
Am I eligible for a discount if I re-take IELTS?
No, even if you re-take the IELTS exam several times, you are not eligible for any discount. You will have to pay the full registration fee each time you want to take the exam.
Exam Specific FAQs:
What can I bring into the examination room?
You can bring only "pens", "pencils", "erasers", "drinking water in a transparent bottle", and "your passport/national identity card" that you used on the 'IELTS Application Form' while registering for the test, into your IELTS exam room. You must leave everything else outside the exam room including your mobile phone, pager, smartwatch, any electronic device or any other personal belongings outside the exam room, in the area designated by the test centre supervisor. If you keep your mobile phone with you and do not switch it off, you will be disqualified, if that is found by the test supervisor. So avoid bringing a mobile phone or any other electronic device into your exam hall.
Can I leave the exam room during my IELTS exam?
No, you are not permitted to leave the exam room during the examination in normal circumstances. You should be prepared not to leave the exam room during the test. Time is very crucial in your test. The Listening, Reading and Writing components of the test are always completed immediately after each other and with no break in between and you should be prepared for that.
However, if there is an emergency or special circumstance when you have to go out, just explain it to your test supervisor. You won't be given any extra time for that.
Can I make some notes on the Listening & Reading question papers?
Yes, you can. The examiner will not see your question papers. You can make notes like a date, a name or other important keywords that might help you answer your listening or reading questions. However, DO NOT write or mark on the answer sheet. After the exam, you are not allowed to take the exam papers with you. You need to submit your question papers along with your answer sheets to the test supervisor.
What kinds of accents can be heard in the Listening and Speaking tests?
As IELTS is an international test, a variety of English accents are used in the IELTS Listening test. The examiner in the Speaking test can have a different accent than yours as well.
Also, please, do not try to mimic an American or British accent in your speaking test if you are from a different country. Speak naturally and clearly. You are not scored based on your accent. However, avoid thick and ambiguous or unclear accents.
Can I use a pen for the Listening and Reading tests?
No, you cannot. You must write your Listening and Reading answers with a pencil. The answer sheet is scanned by a computer which cannot read pen. It is advisable to bring more than one pencil to save some time.
Should I use a pen or a pencil for my Writing test?
You can use either a pen or a pencil in your writing module. But many test centres suggest using a pencil, and in some centres, it is becoming a requirement. Moreover, if you take your writing test with a pencil, you can easily make corrections without making it look messy.
Can I write my Reading and Listening Answers in CAPITAL LETTERS?
Yes, you can. Proper "capitalisation" is important in your Reading and Listening tests. So if you write 'moby dick' or 'New york times' instead of "Moby Dick" and "New York Times" in your listening or reading answer sheet, for example, your answers would be marked as incorrect just for the improper capitalisation. But if you make it all capital, like "MOBY DICK" or "NEW YORK TIMES", you will never make capitalisation errors. So many students prefer to write answers in ALL CAPITALS to avoid such mistakes.
Can I use extra papers during my Writing test?
Yes, you can. Simply raise your hand and once the exam coordinator/'supervisor approaches you, inform him/her that you need loose sheets or extra papers. Usually, you will not need that as the space provided on the answer sheet is sufficient to finish two writing tasks.
Can I wear a watch for my IELTS test to manage my time?
No, you can’t. You can’t wear a watch in any of the IELTS tests, even the speaking test. There will be a clock on the wall so that the candidates can check the time whenever necessary.
Do I lose marks for spelling and grammatical mistakes in Reading and Listening tests?
Yes, you will lose marks for spelling and grammatical mistakes in your Reading and Listening exams. For instance, if the correct answer to a question is 'vaccination' and you write 'vacination', you will not get any mark for that answer.
If I use US spelling, will I be penalised?
No, you will not. American spelling is quite okay in your IELTS test. However, try not to mix the US and UK spelling in your writing tests.
What do I need for the Speaking test?
You must bring the same identification documents (either your original Passport or National Identity Card) you supplied on your IELTS Application Form and used for the rest of the test. Your ID will be checked before you can enter the interview room. You can bring a pencil to take some notes for the IELTS Speaking Part 2 (Candidate Task Card/ Cue Card). Apart from that, you do not need to bring anything. Please, do not take your mobile phone when you enter the interview room.
Does my handwriting matter in IELTS?
If you take a paper-based IELTS test, you need to write your answers on paper. However, if you decide to take a computer-delivered IELTS, you will type on a keyboard instead of writing. Now, to answer the question, clear and legible handwriting is a requirement because if the examiner can't read your answers, you won't get a good band score. However, you won't gain any points or marks only because you have excellent handwriting. Similarly, you won't lose marks if you have less than average handwriting as long as they are legible and clear.
What is the pass/fail mark in IELTS?
The IELTS exam has no "pass" or "fail". IELTS results are prepared on a nine-band scale. In addition to the score for overall language ability, IELTS provides a score in the form of a profile for each of the four skills i.e. Listening, Reading, Writing and speaking. If you attend the IELTS exam and complete it, you will be given a report of the result (known as the Test Report Form) that would include the individual band score of the four modules as well as the overall band score. This band score would reflect your skills and ability to handle the English language.
How are the tests marked?
IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system to measure and report test scores in a consistent manner. You receive individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking and an Overall Band Score on a band scale from one to nine. Your answers are checked by designated IELTS examiners who use the band score criteria to score your tests. Your speaking exam is recorded and evaluated a second time.
Is there any negative point/mark for a wrong answer in IELTS?
No, you won't lose any points for wrong answers in your IELTS test. So it is recommended that you attempt to answer all your questions in your IELTS test and guess answers to questions which you are not sure about.
When will I get my IELTS result?
The IELTS test centre will produce the result after 13 calendar days of the test. At some centres, candidates may collect their results on the 13th day from the test centres or it is mailed to candidates on the 13th day. Keep your Test Report Form in a secure place as you only receive one copy.
Most candidates now collect their IELTS results from the internet. However, test centres do not give results to the candidates over the phone or by fax or e-mail. In some countries, the result is sent via SMS to the number the candidate has given while registering for the test. Please note that the online results service is only available through selected & managed test centres and the system will not display results for more than 40 days after the test date.
You can check your IELTS result online from https://www.ielts.org/book-a-test/getting-your-results
Can I check my result online?
Yes, you can. You can see your test result online 13 days after the written test day. Visit this link to see your result online. Results and performance feedback will be available up to 40 days after the test date, which means the system will not display results for more than 40 days from the date you take the test.
Can I obtain my test results over the phone, by email or by fax?
No, you can not have this facility from many test centres. You can, however, check your result online 13 days after the exam date or receive it via postal/courier service to the address you specified during your IELTS registration. Some test centres may send you an SMS regarding the result. If you indicated “Don’t send” on the envelope on the test day, you will be able to collect your certificate from the IELTS test centre. It is advisable that you ask the test centre how may you collect/get your test result while you register for the test.
If I withdraw from the speaking test can I still get the Test Result Form (TRF)?
If you withdraw from the speaking test and do not appear at the test centre, the IELTS administrator will not issue the Test Result Form (TRF) to you. If you decide to withdraw from the speaking test but would still like to receive your TRF, you must come to the speaking test venue to complete the test procedure.
For how long IELTS test result is valid?
A Test Report Form (TRF) or IELTS result is valid for 2 years from the date of the exam. Usually, you should consider your IELTS score valid for 2 years and if your IELTS Report Form is older than 2 years, you should consider re-taking the exam.
If I take IELTS twice, which result can I use?
If you take the IELTS test twice, you can use either one of the two test results. Obviously, you will use the test result in which you have scored better. Both test results will remain valid for 2 years from the date you take the test. Taking a new IELTS test does not invalidate previous scores.
What is the half-band score?
The Overall Band Score in IELTS is calculated with the average of the scores in four components (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking), rounded to the nearest whole or half band and the component scores are weighted equally. This method is called a half-band score.
So, if the average of the four components ends in .25, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next half band, and if it ends in .75, the Overall Band Score is rounded up to the next whole band. Alternatively, if the average ends with a fraction below .25 or .75, the overall score is rounded down. An example will explain how this is done:
Someone's scores in 4 components are; Reading = 6.5, Writing = 5, Speaking = 7 & Listening = 6.5. So, the total = 25. So the average is = 6.25 (Divide 25 by 4) which ends in .25. So it would be rounded up to the next half band which is 6.5. This is why the candidate would be awarded an overall band score of 6.5.
What can I do if I am not satisfied with my results?
You might apply for an enquiry on results (EoR) procedure within six weeks from the date you took the IELTS exam, using a prescribed form by the IELTS authority if you are dissatisfied with the result you got. The application for re-examining the score needs you to fill out the form which must be paid prior to the processing of the appeal. The fees may vary depending on the countries and IELTS centres. Then your result will be re-examined and if necessary will be corrected. Your fee will be fully refunded if your band score changes from the re-examination or reassessment.
You can download the refund claim form from https://www.britishcouncil.it/sites/default/files/refund_claim_form_en.pdf
What if I feel my test result is wrong?
You can apply for an ‘Enquiry on Results’ procedure at your test centre within six weeks of the test date. You must pay an enquiry fee, which is fully refunded if your band score changes.
When can I expect my enquiry result?
Enquiries on Result/re-marking usually take 6 to 8 weeks to complete. So you can expect your IELTS result to be re-marked after at least 6 weeks and not more than 8 weeks of application.
Will I be shown the answer sheets I opt for EoR (Enquiries on Result) / Re-mark?
No, if you apply for remarking you will not be shown your answer sheets. IELTS materials are confidential and past papers are not released to candidates under any circumstances.
What should I do if my Test Report Form (TRF) has any errors?
IELTS test authority uses the information from your passport and your application form to prepare the TRF for you. So if your passport or application form already has the same error, the IELTS authority will not take responsibility for that. But should an error occur that you believe was not your responsibility, please contact the IELTS Test Authority with valid documents. They will send you a new Test Report Form and ask you to submit your previous one.
I have taken the IELTS test twice and my previous score was higher. Can I use it?
Yes, you can as long the test result is valid. IELTS test result is still valid for 2 years from the date you took the exam.
I have taken the IELTS exam twice. Can I combine/club scores from both exams?
No, you cannot combine test results from different tests. However, you can use either of these two results (you would use the best one obviously).
How many copies of my Test Report Form I will get?
You will receive only one copy of your Test Report Form. Replacement copies are not issued in the event of loss or damage. So keep your Original Test Report Form (TRF) at a secured location.
What can I do if I lose my Test Report Form?
Keep your Test Report Form in a secure place as you only receive only one copy. Test Report Forms are valid for two years from the date of taking the exam. Copies are not sent to candidates but IELTS will forward a Test Report Form to your relevant institution or embassy. Up to five copies will be sent free of charge. Additional copies will incur a small administration charge. Talk to your test centre for further details.
What does each IELTS band score mean?
IELTS results are prepared on a nine-band scale. In addition to the score for overall language ability, IELTS provides a score in the form of a profile for each of the four skills (Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking). These scores are also reported on a nine-band scale. Each Overall Band Score corresponds to a descriptive statement that gives a summary of the English language ability of a candidate classified at that level. The nine bands and their descriptive statements are as follows:
9 Expert User
Has fully operational command of the language: appropriate, accurate and fluent with complete understanding.
8 Very Good User
Has fully operational command of the language with only occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and it appropriates. Handles complex detailed argumentation well.
7 Good User
Has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriateness and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.
6 Competent User
Has generally effective command of the language despite some inaccuracies, inappropriate and misunderstandings. Can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 Modest User
Has partial command of the language, coping with overall meaning in most situations, though is likely to make many mistakes. The candidate should be able to handle communication in his or her own field.
4 Limited User
Basic competence is limited to familiar situations. Has frequent problems in using complex language.
3 Extremely Limited User
Conveys and understands only general meaning in very familiar situations. Frequent breakdowns in communication occur.
2 Intermittent User
No real communication is possible except for the most basic information using isolated words or short formulae in familiar situations and to meet immediate needs. Has great difficulty understanding spoken and written English.
1 Non User
Essentially has no ability to use the language beyond possibly a few isolated words.
0 Did not Attempt The test
No accessible information provided.
My IELTS results have not arrived and it is more than 13 days already. Why this has happened?
IELTS Paper-based Test results are published on the 13th day after you take the rest. Computer-delivered Test is available earlier, after 5 to 7 days. So, if you are yet to receive your IELTS result when more than 13 days have already passed, your result has most probably been withheld!
By now you should receive an email from the IELTS authority about what has happened. If you are confused about what is happening, the first thing we recommend is contacting the test centre. We suggest that you email or phone them. The IELTS terms & conditions clause on the 'IELTS Application Form' states that -
"Your result may not be issued 13 days after the test if the IELTS Test Partners decide that it is necessary to review any matter associated with your test or the administration of your test. To assist any investigation, you may be required to provide writing and speaking samples. In exceptional circumstances, you may be required to re-take one or more IELTS components."
This means that you may not receive your IETLS test results after 13 days of taking the test because the IELTS authority needs to check the results more thoroughly because they believe that either 1) they need to check your test again or 2) they are doing quality control checks on how the test was managed/administered.
Your result may be cancelled after it has been issued if any irregularity is identified. You may be required to re-take one or more IELTS components in such cases.
The other thing is that I can't make my payment. My account gets blocked from the system when I choose the payment option. Any idea why? Please help me! I have only one day left.