Information and advice about your IELTS test day

You might feel a bit nervous about your IELTS test day. So that things go as 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. 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 so you will know at what time your test starts.

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.

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.

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

Your 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.

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.

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.

What can I bring into the test room?

You can bring:

  • your ID / identification document
  • a pencil and a pen (a pencil will be needed for Listening and Reading)
  • an eraser
  • a transparent bottle of water.

You will not be able to take anything else into 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 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 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.

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.