WES Advisor Blog

Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

The IELTS Test Day Experience

Wednesday | February 1, 2017 | by IDP

IELTS test day

In the final installment of our three-part series we will share what to expect on the day of the test.

Following the International Education Language Testing System (IELTS) overview and IELTS preparation information we shared in parts one and two, we want to make sure you are ready for the big day. Keep in mind that the purpose of IELTS is to measure your English language level. If you have gone through the necessary steps to prepare for the test, then your experience should go smoothly with the support of the professional test day staff and examiners.

What can I expect when I arrive to take the test?

IELTS is a high stakes test and the staff who administer it take it very seriously. The test day staff have been trained to make your IELTS experience as comfortable as possible. Because the results are highly regarded by so many institutions and organizations, it needs to be very secure. There are many security protocols to follow which includes:

  • Personnel have been specifically trained in facial feature recognition, so they will carefully examine your face with your identification photo.
  • Finger scans will be taken at the entrance of the test room and will be matched each time you leave and return.
  • Your photograph will be taken by IELTS test day personnel and it will be shown with your test report form to receiving organizations

The reason for such high-security measures is to maintain the validity and integrity of the test scores by ensuring against fraud and cheating. Images of the finger scans are not stored and photographs will be used only for the purpose of the IELTS test. You can be assured that the security procedures are in place for your benefit as they allow for test results to be highly regarded by the receiving organization.

What do I need to bring on test day?

  • The exact same valid ID you used to book the test—your passport or permanent resident card
  • Your confirmation email
  • 2 HB or #2 pencils
  • Clear bottle of water with the label removed (optional)

What items are not allowed into the test room?

  • Any electronic device—watch, calculator, etc.
  • Your cell phone—even if it is turned off!
  • Additional pieces of paper
  • Food
  • Any item that is not on the approved list

Am I allowed to leave the test area?

Yes. You will be allowed to go to the restroom during the test. You will also have a break before the speaking part of the test. The length of the break will vary depending on the scheduled time of your speaking exam.

Who will be with me during the test?

  • The test-day personnel are there to support you if you have any questions on test day.
  • The listening, reading, and writing portions of the test are conducted in a group setting.
  • The invigilation staff (those staff members who are there to watch those taking the exam) will give you instructions and lead you through these sections.
  • The speaking portion of the test is done one-on-one with a professional speaking examiner (the speaking examiner will give you instructions and ask you questions during this portion of the test).

What can I expect during the speaking portion of the test?

  • Professionalism—speaking examiners have undergone a rigorous training process.
  • Friendliness—speaking examiners will be neutral, but will be polite and friendly.
  • Your speaking interview will be recorded for monitoring purposes.
  • The speaking section is 11-14 minutes long—examiners are required to adhere to the time limits for each of the three sections.
    • In part one, you will be asked questions about yourself.
    • In part two, you will be required to speak for two minutes on a topic chosen by the examiner.
    • In part three, you will have a conversation with the examiner.
  • Examiners will remain neutral about your performance and cannot give you feedback about how you did.

How will I get my results?

  • Unofficial results are available online 13 days after the test.
  • Centres will also mail your results 13 days after the test.
  • Test results may also be picked up in person with your passport or permanent resident card.
  • If someone is picking up the results on your behalf, they must have your original identification and a letter from you specifying that they are authorized to pick up the test results.
  • Results are listed on a Test Report Form (TRF).
  • TRFs list sub-scores for listening, reading, writing, and speaking as well as an overall score which is the average from the four sections.
  • You will receive one TRF, but you may request a second copy if you are using the results for immigration purposes.
  • For tests that have taken place within the last 30 days, up to five additional TRFs may be sent to recognizing organizations at no cost.
  • A fee may be charged for additional TRFs to be sent out if the test occurred outside of the 30-day limitation.
  • TRFs may be sent by courier at an additional cost (contact your centre for more info).
  • You may request a review of your scores within six weeks of the test date at an additional cost.

The IELTS test is exactly the same around the world. There should be no surprises as long as you have a good grasp of the English language, prepare well in advance, and follow the instructions for test day.

Reading this blog post series, checking the links, and visiting the preparation section of ieltscanadatest.com indicates that you have a great attitude toward success.

Good luck on test day!

A proud co-owner of IELTS, the world’s most popular high-stakes test of English language skills, IDP has a network of IELTS test locations in 50+ countries including 90+ locations in Canada. As a world leader in international student placement services, we have a network of over 90 counseling offices around the world that help students find their best educational match. Whether you are just starting to consider your study options, or are fairly advanced in your decision-making, IDP can advise you at each stage.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of World Education Services (WES).