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What to Do on the Day of Your IELTS Exam

So the test day is here, and you are finally ready to take it. Here are some useful tips to be your best on the day and avoid last-minute hassles.

Be Prepared:

1. Make sure that you are clear about the test venue and how long it takes to get there. You must arrive early as the ID checks can take time. Latecomers may not be allowed entry into the centre. Always plan your journey ahead and give yourself enough time to spare after arriving at the centre to keep yourself relaxed.

2. Read the ‘test details’ email that you receive from the conducting authority (BritishCouncil/ IDP) carefully. The date and time of arrival would be mentioned clearly, as well as the start and the end time of the actual test. The speaking test may be conducted on a different day, so make a note of the date, time, and venue of that as well.

3. The email would also specify the items that are mandatory to be brought, such as the ID proof document and any photocopies of the same if required. You do not have to take a copy of the email or any other papers.

4. Also, take note from the email if you need to carry stationery items such as a pen/pencil with you. Some centres provide you with the necessary items you need while some do not. I took the pen and paper-based test and was required to bring my own stationery, including pencils and an eraser. This may not be required for the computer-based test. Please do not carry any pouch or pencil box with you.

5. ID proof: The most important document you need is the identity document you used while registering for the test. Make sure it’s the same document, which is usually the passport.

6. Water will be provided at the venue. You may be allowed to take transparent bottles without labels to your desk. It is important to remain hydrated as this is a long exam.

7. Washroom facilities can be availed during the reading and writing sections of the exam. However, this can lead to a significant loss of time; hence it is important to use the washroom before the test starts.

Before the test:

1. Make sure to have a restful sleep the previous night and eat well before leaving for the venue. This exam is lengthy ( 2 hours and 40 minutes) and can be tiring, so make sure that you keep yourself refreshed and energized.

2. Deposit your bags and belongings in the locker provided. Make sure that your mobile is switched off or kept in silent mode

3. ID verification: Includes fingerprint scanning, document check, and photograph verification. You will have to remove your mask while the photograph is being taken.

4. There may be multiple exam halls in the same venue, so make sure that you reach the correct hall allotted to you. The proctors can guide you with this.

5. Listen to the supervisors carefully and follow their instructions. If you are unsure of something, raise your hand for assistance.

6. Remember to stay calm and relaxed. Take deep breaths :)

During the test :

1. You will be given sufficient time to read the instructions before the test starts. Utilize this time wisely and read the instructions carefully.

2. The test will begin with the listening component, followed by reading and then writing sections. There will be no breaks in between the sections.

3. Be familiar with the questions and understand what is being asked. Make a note of how many words are needed to be in the answer.

4. Look out for paraphrasing.

5. Keep an eye on the clock. Never waste time trying to find the answer to a question, always skip and move on.

6. Invigilators may recheck your passport and signature during the exam. This hardly takes about a minute or two.

7. Listening: There will be a sound check to test the headphones in the beginning. Make sure you hear the speaker’s voice clearly at a comfortable volume. Raise your hand if you have a problem hearing the sound check. If no headphones are used, make sure you can hear the recording loud and clear. Always notify any issues that you face for immediate rectification. It is recommended to use ALL CAPS for your answers.

8. Reading: Write your answers directly onto the answer sheet, as there is no time to transfer them later. Remember, you only need to find the answers to the questions, not understand the whole passage.

9. Writing: Keep an eye on the word count, especially in the pen and paper-based test. Remember to structure your answer properly into paragraphs. Do not keep writing after the time’s up, as you risk your test being invalidated.

10. Speaking: Speaking test can be conducted on the same day or within a week before or after the LRW test. Always arrive at least 30 minutes before the test. You don’t need to wear formal as this is not an interview. Your comfort matters here.

After the test:

You can leave only after all the papers have been collected and the instructor has told you to leave. You are not allowed to take anything from the exam hall back with you except your passport, the stationery items you brought, and the water bottle. Make sure you collect your personal belongings before leaving the building.

For any questions regarding the topic, I would be happy to answer them at Find me on TrewLink as an Ambassador through this link and follow my profile - Gopika Sreejith - to receive regular insights and support.

All the best for your test!


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