Tips for Test Day

Preparing for the Test.

Give yourself the best chance of getting the highest score you can get by making sure you are well prepared on the actual day of the test. Remember these important points:


1. Sleep and Study Routines.

In the week leading up to the test, try to  establish a regular sleeping pattern. Try to plan your study schedule so that you are not 'cramming' before the test. Getting a good night's sleep before the test will help to stop you getting nervous and panicky and help you to perform better. Don't go out the night before your test.


2. Food and Drink.

Make sure you eat a good breakfast on the morning of the test because there is no time to eat once the test begins. However, you are allowed to take a drink into the test, which must be in a transparent bottle. 


3. Planning Your Journey. 

You might not have been to the test centre before, so make sure you know exactly how to get there and how long it takes. Don't rely on Google Maps or other on-line advice about traffic times and routes (sometimes on-line information is out of date or inaccurate). I strongly advise you to do a dummy-run a few days before when the traffic is similar so that you know exactly how to get there and how long it takes. Knowing you will have no problems getting to your test and familiarising yourself with the building will reduce stress and help you feel more relaxed before you arrive.


4. Arriving Early for the Test.

Hopefully, you planned your journey and arrived early for the test. If you are late, you may not be allowed to take the test, so arrange to get there at least 30 minutes before your test begins. This will give you time to relax a little before the test and go to the toilet. You are allowed to go to the toilet during the test, but this is a disadvantage because you will lose your concentration and valuable test time.


5. Test Centre Security, Identification & Test Day Photographs.

You must produce the correct I.D. that was confirmed to you when you booked your test. If you take the wrong I.D. you will not be allowed to take the test. When you arrive for your test, staff at the test centre will check your I.D. and they will take a photograph of you that will be used on the Test Report Form, which confirms your results. Some test centres also require you to provide a finger scan. Candidates cannot take the test if they refuse to have a test day photo and no refund will be given. In some countries, cultural sensitivities have been considered and special arrangements apply for female candidates.


6. Dress Code.

There is no formal dress-code for the IELTS test, so you can wear whatever you like. I would advise you to wear something smart but casual. The test centre may have air-conditioning that makes you cold, so it's a good idea to wear a pullover or cardigan. 


7. Accessories and Cheating

You are not allowed to take personal items into the test, such as stereos, mobile/smart-phones, dictionaries or cameras etc. No learning aids whatsoever are allowed in the test. You can only take pens, pencils and an eraser. You cannot take any paper into the test. For the speaking test, you are only required to take nothing into the test except your I.D.  All prohibited items have to left outside the test room. Do not communicate with other candidates during the test or look at other candidates or their papers. You will be disqualified for cheating.


8. Toilet Breaks. 

If you want to go to the toilet during your test, you will be allowed. However, you are not given any extra time, so losing test could cause you to lose marks and lower your band score. Try to go to the toilet before you go into the test.


9. Time and Instructions.

Follow any instructions you are told by the test invigilators. If you are not sure about any instructions, raise your hand and ask an invigilator. There will be a clock on the wall to enable you to keep track of time, and you are not permitted to take your watch into the test room. Please be aware that the invigilators are not obliged to tell you when there are 10 minutes left or 5 minutes left etc. It is your responsibility to keep track of the time.


10. At the End of the Test. 

You must stop when you are told by the invigilators that the time has finished. If you continue, you could be disqualified. You should also not leave your seat at any time during the test or at the end of the test until the invigilators give you permission. Do not take any of the test papers out of the test room. This is not allowed.


11. Disabled People. 

If you have a disability that will affect any part of your test, inform the test centre as soon as you can so that they can accommodate you. 


12. Keep Calm.

Try to remain calm in your test and remember all the techniques you have learned to help you get through the different sub-tests. Click on the links (below) to learn all the top tips that will help you get higher band scores.


Click on the links (below) for other writing test tips.

Academic Writing Task 1 Tips  (Quick-view)   (Extended Version)

Writing Task 2 Tips (Quick-view)   (Extended Version)

General Training Writing Task 1 Tips  (Quick-view)  (Extended Version

Test Day Tips  (Quick-view)   (Extended Version)