5 most important things to know for test day

IELTS test day can be stressful. This is why we make a lot of effort to make sure everything goes smoothly and provide a lot of tools, (such as this blog) to help you be as prepared as possible, and to know what to expect. Many people like surprises, just not on test day!

Test day isn’t just about grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. There are a lot of other ways your test could not turn out the way you hope. A big one is not following the IELTS rules.


The 5 most important IELTS rules to know for test day:

  1. Have the required ID:
    • Valid passport
    • Canada PR card
    • Refugee document (if approved before you registered)

Nothing else will be accepted. No photocopies, no expired passports, no passports that are valid but different than the one you registered with, and no “official” photocopies.

Don’t register for a test then send your passport away for renewal or a visa. If you don’t get it back in time you won’t be able to test.

If you lose your passport or PR card after you have registered but before the test, and get  new one, you must provide us with a copy of the new one before test day.

If you show up on test day without the required ID you will be turned away and lose your test fee. It’s not because we are mean, it’s because it is one of the IELTS rules, and you need to follow it or your test day will not go well.

Put your ID in your shoe the night before so you can’t leave the house without it.

2. Know where to go

If possible, visit the test location a day or 2 before, so you know exactly where to go. Keep in mind transit is less frequent on Saturdays and may start later than on weekdays. Google maps is your friend if you can’t visit before test day.

There are many test locations, so make sure you go to the correct one. The address will be in your IELTS account and your email. You can only test at the location at which you are registered.

3. Be on time

You will be told what time the test starts and what time you need to arrive. We will also tell you what time we close the doors. You won’t be allowed in once doors have closed.  Don’t try to “work the system” and show up 5 minutes before doors close. If anything goes wrong, and your bus or train is late, or your car breaks down, you could miss your test.

Being on time doesn’t just mean for listening, reading & writing tests. You also need to be on time for your speaking test.

If you’re taking a paper-based test your speaking test will be after listening, reading & writing. You might have a break of 20 minutes to several hours. If you have a long break, you can leave the centre and return 30 minutes before your speaking test. Don’t forget you also need your ID for the speaking test.

If you do a computer-delivered test your speaking test may be before listening, reading, & writing, and you also need to be here 30 minutes before your speaking test starts.

4. Follow instructions

A large part of your success on the IELTS test will be based on your ability to follow instructions.

Instructions may be given on screen when registering for the test, in your email between registration and test day, on test day from a staff member or examiner, on screen or in your test question paper, or in your email or on screen again between test day and results release.

Instructions are not negotiable, are not up for debate, and are in place for a reason. IELTS has been testing for more than 25 years and the IELTS rules have been fine-tuned over this period to ensure security, fairness and consistency.

5. Follow instructions

Yes #5 is the same as #4. This is not a mistake, but to emphasize the importance of following instructions. Here are some examples of test takers not following instructions that we see almost every single test:

  1. No ID. Your test is over before it starts.
  2. Late. If the doors have been closed your test is over.
  3. Not following instructions given in the test itself: This would likely lower your score as your answer(s) may be wrong. It may result in you needing another test.
  4. Not following the instructions of staff: This could result in a lower score, disqualification, or make it necessary to take another test.
  5. Not providing a correct or complete address for results delivery: This could result in long waits for a new one to be sent, and/or additional costs.
  6. Showing up to get results before they are ready: This may be a waste of your time and you may need to come back. This is especially for CD IELTS results, which are not always released on a fixed schedule like paper based tests.
  7. Showing up to get results without test day ID, or sending your brother, sister, etc. If you don’t have your test day ID you cannot pick up in person, and no one else (except your parent/guardian of you are 17 or under) can pick up results for you unless you authorize them before they come.
Follow these IELTS rules, and if you don’t understand something ask a staff member. We are here to help.
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