If you are taking IELTS remotely at home or elsewhere, you can find out more about the setup and requirements in our IELTS Online section.

The information below only applies if you take your IELTS tests at a test centre.

IELTS test day instructions: Information and advice

We want you to do well in your IELTS test, so we’ve put together some tips and advice to help you understand what you can expect when you take your test at an official test centre.

Follow our test day guidance to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible so you can achieve the IELTS score you need.

If you have requested special arrangements as a result of a disability or another condition, adjustments will be made for you on the test day. Please contact your test centre via e-mail at least six weeks in advance:

How will I know when to arrive for the test?

You will receive an email confirming your chosen time for IELTS Academic, General Training and UKVI. For Life Skills, you will receive an email no later than 24 hours before the test so that you know what time to arrive at the venue. The email will provide you with information about test day procedures and times. If you arrive late, you will not be able to take your test.

When is my Speaking 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.

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.

Can I bring food and/or drinks?

Make sure you have something to eat and drink before the test. You will not be allowed to take food in the examination room and you may only bring water with you in a clear bottle without labels.

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. 

Why is IELTS the most secure English language test?

Security at a British Council IELTS test venue is very important. As an additional measure, all participants will be required to register, which includes a photograph taken by IELTS administrative staff and a scan of your fingerprints. Be sure to check the instructions you were given when you booked your test.

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 a 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 the test day as an additional security measure and will appear on your Test Report Form.

How long is the test?

The Listening, Reading and Writing sections last approximately two hours and 40 minutes, and there are no breaks between sections.

Remember that the Speaking section can be taken on the same day as the other three sections and up to one week before or after the written test and, you will receive notification in advance if your Speaking test is on a different day to your main test day.

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 ten minutes after the Listening section to fill in your answer sheet. You will not have ten 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.

When will I get my IELTS results?

Find out when and how you can get your results on the IELTS results page.

Can I take the test if I have special requirements?

Yes, you can take IELTS with us. The British Council in the Caribbean is committed to giving equal opportunities to all candidates. If you have a disability, illness, need a breastfeeding space or any other special requirement, find out what solutions are available and how to apply for them in our special arrangements page. Remember to contact us six weeks before your test to make any necessary modifications.