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IELTS Preparation: key tips for candidates


IELTS is a challenging test. You can reduce the stress by making sure that you understand all the rules and have all the practicalities under control for the test day. Here are four key points, and some do’s and don’ts.

Admin for test day

On your test days (both for the written papers and the IELTS Speaking test), you will need to produce the identification document which you used to fill out your IELTS test application form. You might also need two identical passport-sized photos. Check your test documentation to see if this applies to you.

You are only allowed to take pens, pencils and erasers into the test. Remember to fill in your answer paper for the Listening and Reading tests with a pencil, as the processing machine cannot read ink. (This applies to paper-based IELTS and not computer-delivered IELTS.)

Arrive at your IELTS test venue with plenty of time to spare

What is plenty of time? Enough to allow you to calm yourself down and let the panic of trying to find the right building and the right room subside. Plenty of time means you are fully focused on the test when you enter the test hall.

The clock does not stop for you to go to the washroom. The time you spend in the washroom is time you are not spending on your test. Those minutes could make all the difference to you getting the IELTS band score you need.

Do’s and don’ts in the test

  • Do switch off your mobile before going into the test room. If it rings, you may be disqualified.

  • Don’t leave your seat when you have finished your test; wait until you are dismissed by the invigilators.

  • Do know that you are allowed to ask the invigilator if you cannot hear the Listening audio properly.

  • Don’t ask the invigilator if you don’t understand the question.


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