Student taking her IELTS English test on paper with the British Council Chile in Santiago

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.

Information and advice about the day of your IELTS exam

It is normal you are a little nervous about your exam. To ensure that everything goes as well as possible, it is useful to know what will happen on the day of your exam.

You must arrive on time for your IELTS exam. At least a week before your test, you should receive an email with the starting time and other information about the proceedings and timings. Should you be late for your exam, you may be unable to sit the exam.

If you have requested special provisions due to a disability or illness, the necessary modifications will be carried out so that you can take your exam on the agreed day. Contact our staff in the examination centre at least six weeks in advance.

Your speaking exam can be taken on the same day as the other sections of the exam or up to a week before or after. You will receive a notification in advance if your oral exam takes place on a different day to the rest of the exam.

How long will my IELTS exam last?

The listening, reading and writing sections last 2 hours and 40 minutes, and there are breaks between the different sections of the exam.

Your oral exam can be taken on the same day as the other sections of the exam or upto a week before or after the said day. You will receive a notification in advance of your exam whether your IELTS oral exam will take place on the same day as your main IELTS exam or another day.

What do I need to take to the IELTS examination centre?

You need to take:

  • your personal ID
  • a pencil or a pen (you will need a pen for the listening and writing sections)
  • a rubber

We reccommend that you bring:

  • a transparent water bottle

You will not be able to bring anything else with you into the examination hall.

Turn off your mobile phone and any other electronic device. You will be required to leave these outside of the examination hall.

What must I do with my belongings on the day of my IELTS exam?

We provide you with a safe area in which you can leave your belongings. The British Council will not be held responsable for the loss of or damage to any of your belongings. Therefore, we highly reccomend that you leave any valuable objects such as mobile phones and computers at home.

When will my identity be checked?

The teaching centre personnel will check your ID when you arrive.

Don't forget to take the same identification document that you used when you registered for your exam.

ID which is no longer valid and has expired will not be accepted. If you are unable to provide valid ID, you will not be able to sit the IELTS exam.

When will I be photographed?

Your photograph will be taken on the day of your exam as an additional safety measure. This photo will appear on your marks certificate.

What if I need help during the exam?

If you have a question during the exam, raise your hand to ask for help.

When you take the listening section of the exam, check that you can clearly hear the audio. Raise your hand immediately to let the invigilator know that your are unable to hear the recording.

Remember that after the listening section, you will have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. However, you will not have 10 minutes after the reading section, hence, make sure that you write your answers as you go along. 

If you need to go to the toilet during the exam, raise your hand. Do not disturb other people sitting their exams.

The British Council takes your safety seriously

When you take an IELTS exam with the British Council, your safety is our priority. As an additional measure, all participants must have their photo taken on the day of their exam. Some examination centres may also scan your fingerprint.

All watches are prohibited in the examination hall. You will have to leave your watch with your other belongings in a secure cloakroom. There will be a clock in the examination hall. 

Candidates under 18 years old should ask their parents or guardians for help when reserving IELTS. Any candidate between 11 - 17 years old must submit the following forms signed by their parent/guardian: IELTS Minor Consent Form and Consent for leaving the premises without adult supervision.

Make sure that you are fully prepared by eating or drinking something before your exam. You must not consume any food in the examination hall and should only bring water in a transparent bottle into the exam.