Information and advice about your IELTS exam time

What is an IELTS exam? It’s the most respected English language proficiency test in the world. So things go smoothly for you on the day of your IELTS exam, here’s useful information to help you understand what happens on the day of your test.

Firstly, do arrive in plenty of time for your IELTS test. If you arrive late, you may not be allowed to take the test. You will receive an email at least three days before the test with the timetable and procedures for your test day, including what time your IELTS exam time starts.

If you have asked for special arrangements for your IELTS Reading, Writing or Listening tests as a result of a disability or other condition, adjustments will be made for you on the test day. To make these arrangements, please contact our staff at the test venue six weeks in advance.

Make sure you are prepared and have something to eat and drink before your IELTS test. 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.

How long does the test take?

The IELTS Listening, Reading and Writing tests take 2 hours 40 minutes and there are no breaks between these parts of the test. These tests may be given in any order.

Your IELTS Speaking test may be offered on the same day as the other sections of the test, or up to a week before or after. You will receive notification in advance if your Speaking test is on a different day to your main test day.

What do I need to bring into the test room?

What you must bring to your IELTS exam time:

  • your valid ID / identification document. It must be the same valid ID / identification document (IC, National identity card or passport) that you used when you booked your IELTS test

We recommend you bring:

  • a transparent bottle of water.

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

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, watches and computers at home.

When is my identity checked?

The IELTS test location staff will check your identity when you arrive.

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

Invalid or expired ID / identification documents will not be accepted. If you cannot 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 Test Day Incident Form to complete. This form needs to be submitted within one week of the test date.

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 IELTS Listening test, check that you can hear the sound properly. Raise your hand immediately and let the invigilator know if you cannot hear the recording.

Please remember that you will have 10 minutes after the IELTS Listening section to fill in your answer sheet. You will not have 10 minutes after the IELTS Reading section, so make sure 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 IELTS security seriously

Security at a British Council IELTS test is very important. The IELTS test location staff will check your identity when you arrive, and take fingerprint scans. As an added measure, all participants will be photographed on their test day by IELTS administrative staff. Please review the photograph instructions supplied to you after you book your test. 

No watches are allowed in the test room. You must leave your watch with your belongings in the secure baggage area. There will be a clock at the test venue so you can track your IELTS test time easily.