On test day

A lot of work and preparation is needed for taking IELTS. Here are our top tips to help you perform at your best on test day.

Be prepared

  • Double check the time and date of your test. If you are taking the test in a test centre, allow plenty of time to travel to the test centre. If you are taking IELTS Online, download the test day software (you will be emailed about this) in advance and give yourself extra time to log in. If you are late, you may not be allowed to take the test.
  • Make sure you have the same identification document with you that you registered with. If you arrive with the wrong ID, you will not be allowed to take the test.
  • IELTS Online test takers must check their computer meets our system requirements.


  • Try to remain calm.
  • If you start to feel worried, take some deep breaths to help you calm down.
  • Work calmly, focus on the questions, and don’t rush your answers.
  • Read the IELTS rules and regulations before the test so you understand them. You’ll find these in the IELTS application form.
  • If you have any questions, our friendly test centre staff and online proctors are there to help.

Follow the instructions

  • Switch off your mobile phone and any other electronic devices. You will be asked to place all of your personal belongings outside the test room. If taking IELTS Online you will need a phone or tablet with a camera to use during the room scan.
  • The Listening, Reading and Writing tests take 2 hours 40 minutes and there are no breaks between each section of the test.
  • 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. You will only be allowed to take a drink in a transparent bottle.
  • Listen to the supervisor or online proctor carefully and follow the test day instructions.
  • Read the test instructions before writing your answers.
  • Read the questions carefully. Not doing so may lead to mistakes and you may lose points.

Watch the time

  • Watches are not allowed in the test room. Every test room in our test centres has a clock on the wall, and the IELTS Online test has a clock on the screen. Stay aware of the time so you can attempt all questions.
  • The Listening, Reading and Writing tests have a number of sections. Allow enough time for each section.
  • Be aware that some questions have suggested time limits for you to follow.

Need more information about your IELTS test day that isn’t covered above? Please contact your test centre or one of the IELTS Partners directly for further information. 

Helpful resources

Man in library

Prepare for the test

Once you are familiar with the IELTS test format, you will need to undertake a number of focused preparation activities.

How to prepare
Group of people reading IELTS support materials

Test format

Learn more about what to expect in each section of the IELTS test.

Test format
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Test security and integrity

IELTS takes a multi-layered approach to test security, including a variety of measures taken before test day, on test day and after test day. Find out about some of our security measures.

Test security