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Understand what happens on your IELTS exam day

Test day advice

The information below only applies if you take your IELTS tests at a test centre.

We want you to do well in your IELTS test, so we’ve put together some tips and advice to help you understand what you can expect when you take your test at an official test centre.

Follow our test day guidance to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible so you can achieve the IELTS score you need.

Getting to the test centre


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


Arriving for your IELTS test

  • Make sure you’ve read and understood IELTS test terms and conditions as they contain important information about your test day. These can be found in the Test Takers Information part of your application form.

  • If you arrive late to your IELTS test, you might not be allowed to participate.

  • Turn off your mobile and any other electronic devices. These will be kept outside of the test room along with other personal belongings.

  • The Listening, Reading and Writing tests take 2 hours 40 minutes. Please note that there will be no breaks during the tests.

  • You cannot bring food or drink into the test room – with the exception of water in a transparent bottle. Make sure that you have something substantial to eat before your test.


Your identity documents

  • IELTS staff will check your identity upon your arrival, the documents you received when you registered for the test will confirm which ID you’ll need. If you arrive without the correct ID you will not be able to take the test.

  • As an additional security measure, IELTS staff will take a photograph of you & you will also be required to provide a fingerprint scan. before you sit the test. This photo will be used on your Test Report Form.

​During your test

Follow these rules when sitting your IELTS test:

  • You are only allowed to have a pencil, pen, your ID, and an eraser on your desk. 

  • If you need to use the toilet during the test, put your hand up to attract the invigilator’s attention and don’t disturb other test takers.

  • Raise your hand to attract the invigilator’s attention if you want to ask a question during the test.

  • When it’s time to take the Listening test, check that you can hear the recording clearly. If you can’t, raise your hand and inform the invigilator.

At the end of the test

  • Remain in your seat until you have the invigilator‘s permission to leave the test room.

  • If you believe that your performance may have been affected by any issues, inform the invigilator straight away.

  • If you want to make a complaint about your test day, you must do this at the earliest opportunity by filling in the Complaint Form. 

Special arrangements

  • If you requested 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

  • Follow all instructions carefully and remember that in the Writing parts of the test, you will be required to write a specific number of words.

  • Some questions have guideline time limits for you to follow, make sure you stay aware of the time to ensure you have enough time to answer each question.

  • Stay calm and take deep breaths if you feel nervous or worried. 

Getting ready to take IELTS?

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