Prepare for your test day, success starts with IELTS.
You will find the IELTS test centre staff friendly, welcoming and highly professional. They will make sure that the test is delivered fairly and securely. Follow their instructions carefully.
The Week Before Your Test
Check the start time and location of your IELTS test the week before, and make sure you know how to get there on time.
Remember, the address of your IELTS test location may be different to that of the test centre where you booked your test.
Take the time to read full details of the ‘IELTS test terms and conditions’ for important information about your IELTS test day.
Your IELTS Test Day
You need to arrive in good time for your IELTS test. If you arrive late, you may not be allowed to take the test.
Switch off your mobile phone and any other electronic devices. You will be asked to place these with other personal belongings outside the test room.
The Listening, Reading and Writing tests take 2 hours 40 minutes and there are no breaks between each part of the test.
Make sure you are prepared and have something to eat and drink beforehand. You will not be allowed to take food into the test room; you will only be allowed to take a drink in a transparent bottle.
Your Identity and Photographs
The IELTS test location staff will check your identity when you arrive.
Make sure you have the right ID with you. If you arrive with the wrong ID, you will not be allowed to take the test.
You may also need two recent identical passport-sized photographs.
Test Day Photography
Some test locations will now also take a photograph of you on the test day – this photograph taken by the test centre will appear on your Test Report Form to provide increased identity security. Your test centre will let you know if it is going to do this. For more information see .
Check the details that you were given when you booked the test to make sure you take the right ID and photographs with you.
During The IELTS Test
You will only be allowed to have a pen or pencil, an eraser and your ID on your desk.
If you need to go to the bathroom during the test, put your hand up to attract the attention of the invigilator. Do not disturb other candidates.
If you have any questions during the test, raise your hand to ask for help.
When you take the Listening test, check that you can hear the test properly. Raise your hand straightaway and let the invigilator know if you cannot hear the recording.
Please remember that you will have 10 minutes after the Listening section to fill in your answer sheet. You will not have 10 minutes after the Reading section, so please make sure that you write your answers on your Reading answer sheet as you complete each section.
At The End Of The Test
Stay in your seat until the invigilator gives you permission to leave the room.
If you think that there have been any issues that may have affected your performance, tell the invigilator straightaway.
If you want to make a complaint about your test day, you need to do this within one week of the test date.
Your invigilator will have a Test Day Incident Form. Please fill this in if you want to raise an issue or make a complaint.
If you have asked for as a result of a disability or other condition, adjustments will be made for you on the test day.
Test Day Tips
Understand the task
Follow instructions carefully during the test. Remember that the Writing parts of the test have specific word length requirements.
Allow enough time for each question
Some questions have suggested time limits for you to follow. Every test room will have a clock on the wall. Stay aware of the time during the test so that you can complete all the questions.
Stay calm enough to do your best
If you feel worried, take deep breaths to calm down. Focus on the questions and do not rush your answers. This will help you to do your best.
Improve Your IELTS Score Next Time
If you want to know how to improve your IELTS score, you must improve your English first! Take a look at your Test Report Form and see which skills you need to work on.
Taking the test again and again will not improve your results unless you work on the weaknesses identified in your test report form. You need to
- review your preparation activities
- consider how you performed on the test day
- consider taking a course to improve your English in an area of weakness
- once you are ready, book a new test
How did you prepare last time?
Think about how you prepared for your test. Did you do enough?
To improve your score next time, make sure you
- understand your IELTS score
- understand the test format
- try first online sample tests
- read our tips on how to succeed
- practise your English at home, at work, or at university
- listen to English on radio and television
- read English newspapers and websites
- practice using British Council online IELTS resources
IELTS is a test of English language proficiency, so you need to work on all skill areas to maintain and improve your English.
Think about what happened on test day:
- how did you perform on your IELTS test day?
- did you know where the test location was?
- did you arrive in time?
- were you as calm and relaxed as possible?
- was the format of the test familiar?
- did you know what to expect?
Consider Taking A Course
You might want to consider taking an course. This will help you:
- practise the type of tasks included in an IELTS test (e.g. writing a short essay or letter for the Writing test)
- get feedback and learn from your answers to practice questions
- become more confident in your test-taking skills
Your teacher may be able to advise you about your skill level and whether you are ready to re-take your test.
It takes time to learn a language, and the best way is to take an English course. The feedback you receive from your teacher will help you improve the specific skills involved in speaking, listening, reading and writing English.
Re-take the IELTS Test
Book another test when you feel ready. You can take IELTS as many times as you like.
Have a look at Test day advice before you re-take your test.
We hope this information will help you further understand how to improve your IELTS score.