3 times you cannot take a washroom break

It’s test day and you’re nervous. You were up early, didn’t sleep well, and had lots of coffee.

Or maybe you decided to blow off some steam the night before the test and hit the bar with some friends and you’re not feeling that well when you arrive at the test centre.

Perhaps you are pregnant, or have some medical condition that makes you need to leave the test room or need a washroom break more than most.

If you have a medical reason you will need to let us know when you register and might need to apply for special arrangements if you cannot take the test under normal conditions. You will have to provide medical documents to be given special arrangements.

Whatever the situation, it’s important to know that IELTS, as a highly secure test, has a strict policy on when and when you cannot take a washroom break.

washroom break

Here are 3 times you cannot take a washroom break:

1. During the listening test. This part of the test is first and lasts 30-40 minutes. A visit to the toilet would make you miss part of the test and may cause others to get distracted. You should use the washroom before the test. 

2. In between tests. There is a few minutes of gathering and handing out papers, counting, and instructions for the next section, and you cannot go at this time.

3. In the final 10 minutes of reading or writing tests. A visit at this time would be disruptive to other who are trying to finish.

For the record, you also cannot go during the speaking test.

So when should/can you go?

  • When you first arrive, before you start the check-in process (staff will remind you as well)
  • During the reading or writing test.
  • After the test has ended and you have been informed by staff that you can go.

These rules apply to both paper-based and computer-delivered IELTS. If it’s a computer-delivered test, only 1 person is allowed to go to the washroom at a time.

You will be taken to and from the washroom by a staff member, and you will need to sign in/out of the test room each time.

Lastly, keep in mind that the test is timed, and the timer will continue to run during your washroom break.

As with any of the test day rules, you need to follow these, or you may have your test result withheld.

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