Information and advice about your IELTS test day

You might feel a bit nervous about your IELTS test day. So that things go smoothly as possible for you, we’ve put together some information to help you understand what will happen on the day of your test.

You will need to arrive in good time for your IELTS test. Your confirmation email will provide you with timings and procedures on the test day. If you arrive late, you will not be allowed to take the test. You will receive an email approximately five working days before the test so you will know at what time your test starts.

If you have asked for special arrangements as a result of a disability or other condition, adjustments will be made for you on the test day. Please contact our staff at the test venue six weeks in advance.

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 and you will only be allowed to take water in a transparent bottle (label-free).

How long does the test take?

The Listening, Reading and Writing tests take 2 hours 40 minutes and there are no breaks between the parts of the test.

Speaking tests are scheduled to take place either during the week before the written parts of the test, on the day of the written tests or one day after the written tests. Speaking tests are scheduled to take place up to 21.00 on the day of the written test. Please make your travel arrangements accordingly. 

Please note:

*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. 

  • Before the start of each part of the Listening test you will have some time to read the questions.
  • After the end of each part of the Listening test you will have some time to review your answers.
  • At the end of the Listening test, you will have 2 minutes to check your answers.
  • The timing of the Listening test is between 30 – 34 minutes.

What do I need to bring into the test room?

You need to bring:

  • the national identity card or passport listed as identification on your application form
  • a pencil and a pen (a pencil will be needed for Listening and Reading)
  • an eraser

We recommend you bring:

  • a transparent bottle of water (label-free).

You will not be able to take anything else into the test room.

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.

What do I do with my belongings on the test day?

There will be a secure area where you need to leave all your belongings. The British Council is not responsible for loss or damage to your personal belongings at the test venue. Therefore, we strongly recommend leaving valuables like mobile phones and computers at home.

When is my identity checked?

The IELTS test venue staff will check your identity document when you arrive and during the test.

Please bring the same valid ID (national identity card or passport) you used when you booked your test. 

Invalid or expired IDs will not be accepted. If you cannot a provide valid ID, you will not be able to sit the test.

When will I get my test day photograph taken?

Your photograph will be taken on test day as an additional security measure and will appear on your Test Report Form.

What happens 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 raise an issue or make a complaint, please ask your invigilator for a form to complete. This form needs to be submitted before leaving the test venue.

What if I need assistance during the test?

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 sound 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 make sure that you write your answers on your answer sheet as you complete each section.

If you need to go to the bathroom during the test, raise your hand to attract the attention of the invigilator. Do not disturb other test takers.

The British Council takes your security seriously

Please note that security at a British Council IELTS test is very important. As an added measure, all participants will be required to have their photograph taken by IELTS administrative staff on their test day. Please make sure that you review the photograph instructions supplied to you after you have booked your test. 

All watches irrespective of their style and age are not allowed in the test room. You will be required to leave your watch with your belongings in the secure baggage area. There will be a clock at the test venue.