IELTS Test Day Advice

At The British Council, we really want you to perform your best when taking your IELTS test. To help you, we have put together some top tips for before, during, and after your test.

Before your IELTS test day

To make sure everything goes smoothly on your test day, it is important to be prepared. Before your test date you should read and understand the IELTS test terms and conditions, which can be found in the ‘Test Takers Information’ part of your application form.

We also recommend planning the journey to the test centre at least a week before your testing date. This could involve looking at the driving route you will take or looking into public transport routes.

Make sure you have the right identification to take with you on your test day, which is outlined in the documents you received when you registered for the test.

IELTS test day instructions:

What to do when you arrive

To help you get through the day smoothly, we have put together the following IELTS test day checklist.

  • Arrive early – you may not be able to take your IELTS test if you are late.
  • Be ready to prove your identity. IELTS staff will take a photograph of you on the day which will then be used in your Test Report Form.
  • Make sure your electronic devices are turned off and kept outside of the test room. Check with your test centre to see where devices and other personal belongings can be kept. If your phone goes off, you may be asked to leave, and it may cause your test to be invalidated.
  • Make sure you have eaten before your test, as you cannot bring food or drinks into the test room. You can bring water if it is in a transparent bottle.
  • Be ready for test timings – the tests will take 2 hours and 40 minutes and there will be no breaks.

Taking the test

To make sure that the test is fair and smooth for all participants, each test centre has an IELTS test day procedure.

  • You can only have pencils, pens, your ID, and an eraser on your desk.
  • If you would like to attract the invigilator for any reason, including to use the toilet, please raise your hand and don’t disturb other test takers.
  • If you cannot hear the recording clearly in the Listening test, inform the invigilator by raising your hand.
  • Remember that you will have 10 minutes after the Listening section to fill in the answer sheet, but this is not the same for the Reading section. In the reading section fill in your answers as you work through the questions.
  • Be sure to follow all instructions carefully. In the Writing section of the test, you be required to write a specific number of words

Once your test has finished

  • Remain sat down until the invigilator gives you permission to leave.
  • If you think that something has happened during the test that has had a negative impact on your performance, please speak to the invigilator.
  • If you would like to make a complaint about your test day, you must do this within one week of your test date by filling in the complaint form.

Special arrangements

If you would like to request accommodation for any disability or condition, please contact your test centre several days in advance to give them time to make the arrangements.

Test day tips

  • Follow instructions carefully and listen to the invigilator.
  • You will need to write a specific total number of words for questions in the reading section.
  • Some questions have a time limit. Make sure you have enough time to answer each question.
  • It is normal for most people to be nervous when taking a test. You can try to stay calm by taking deep breaths.

Section test advice

Listening test advice

Learn more about the Listening test and our top tips to improve your score here.

Reading test advice

Learn more about the Reading test and our top tips to improve your score here.

Writing test advice

Learn more about the Writing test and our top tips to improve your score here.

Speaking test advice

Learn more about the Speaking test and our top tips to improve your score here.