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You might feel a bit nervous about your IELTS test day. So that things go 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 need to arrive in good time for your IELTS test. If you arrive late, you may not be allowed to take the test. Please double check the time of your written and oral exam on the Test Taker Portal.

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. 

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 with no text.

How long does the test take?

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. 

Read more about your exam.

What do I need to bring into the test room?

You need to bring:

  • your ID / identification document
  • a pencil and a pen (a pencil will be needed for Listening and Reading)
  • an eraser with no cover

We recommend you bring:

  • a transparent bottle of water with no text

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

Mobile phones need to be switched off together with any other electronic devices. All watches irrespective of their style and age are not allowed in the test room. You will be asked to leave these belongings outside the test room in a secure area.  

The British Council is not responsible for loss or damage to your personal belongings at the test venue. Therefore, we strongly recommend leaving valuables 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 (EU Schengen 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 (applies to IELTS on paper only). 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. 

See also