Frequently asked questions about IELTS
In addition to the questions below, you will find IELTS support on British Council website: https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/. British Council provides a range of free resources, videos and online lessons, as well as preparation books, face-to-face courses, seminars and workshops to help you be better prepared.
FAQs about Test Registration
What are the two types of IELTS test?
There are two types of the IELTS test: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.
The IELTS Academic test is for people applying for higher education or professional registration in an English-speaking environment. It reflects some of the features of academic language and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying or training.
The IELTS General Training test is for those who are going to English speaking countries for secondary education, work experience or training programs. It is also a requirement for migration to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and workplace contexts. Listening and Speaking are the same for both tests, but the subject matter of the Reading and Writing sections differs depending on which test you take.
Which IELTS test should I take?
Please go to Which test should I take? and read the description of the Academic and General Training tests. Individual organisations have different requirements. Make sure you check which IELTS test the organisation you are applying to is asking for. Note that you must know which type to take when you complete the online application form.
What is the IELTS test format and how long will it take?
The IELTS test has four sections Listening (30 minutes), Reading (60 minutes), Writing (60 minutes) and Speaking (11-14 minutes). The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
You'll take the first three sections of the test on the same day, in the following order: Listening, Reading and Writing (there are no breaks between these tests). Your Speaking test will be held either on the same day or seven days before or two days after that, depending on local arrangements.
I have more questions about the IELTS test format. Where can I find answers?
You can find more information about the IELTS test format on our site.
What accents can be heard in the Listening and Speaking tests?
As IELTS is an international test, a variety of English accents are used in both tests.
Does the IELTS listening tape provide instructions and pauses?
Yes. At the beginning, you hear instructions. Then you read section 1 questions, listen to section 1 and answer the questions.
Is there a similar period of 10 minutes in the IELTS Reading test to transfer answers?
No. The Reading test is one hour, and you must write all your answers on the answer sheet in this time.
Can I use a pen for the IELTS Listening and Reading tests?
No. You must do it in pencil. The answer sheet is scanned by a computer which cannot read pen.
Can I make notes on the IELTS Listening and Reading question papers?
Yes. The IELTS Examiner will not see your question paper.
What is the IELTS Speaking test?
The Speaking test is a conversation with a certified IELTS Examiner. The Speaking test is made up of three parts. It is recorded on an audio cassette or a digital recorder.
What do I need for the IELTS Speaking test?
You must bring the same identification documents you supplied on your IELTS Application Form and used for the rest of the test. Your ID will be checked before you enter the interview room. Personal items, including electronic devices and watches, are not allowed in the Speaking test room.
Where can I find IELTS practice tests and other preparation material?
Where are the answers to the practice tests?
Answers to the free online Listening, Reading, and Writing practice tests can be found in the last part or task of each practice test. The answers are available as a PDF download.
Where do I access my free copy of Last Minute version?
Once you register and pay for the test, please go to the Prepapation tab under the Test Taker Portal. You will find information about Road to IELTS and a link to your Last Minute content.
Where can I take an IELTS test?
IELTS is available on 48 fixed dates a year up to four times a month, depending on local demand.
How much does an IELTS test cost?
IELTS has a set fee for its test. The Academic and General Training tests are the same cost. When you apply online, you will be told the fee.
What help is available for IELTS test takers with visual, hearing, speaking or learning difficulties?
Our official British Council IELTS test centres can help if you have visual, hearing, speaking or learning difficulties. If you need a modified version of IELTS, please be aware that you are required to provide medical evidence to support your claim. The medical report should be written in English and within a period of two years before the test date, by a medical professional and needs to be provided six weeks prior to the test.
What can I bring into the IELTS test room?
Only pens, pencils and erasers. You must bring the passport/national identity card you used on the IELTS Application Form to the test. You must leave everything else outside the testing room. Mobile phones, pagers and electronic devices of any kind must be switched off and placed with personal belongings in the area designated by the supervisor. If you do not switch off your phone/pager or any other electronic devices, or keep it on you, you will be disqualified. Personal watches are not allowed in the test room.
Which part of the IELTS test do I take first?
You will take the Listening test first, followed by the Reading and Writing tests (there are no breaks between these tests). Your Speaking test will be held either on the same day or seven days before or two days after that, depending on local arrangements.
Is the IELTS test completed in one day?
The Listening, Reading and Writing tests are always completed immediately after each other and with no break. The Speaking test will be held either on the same day or seven days before or two days after that, depending on local arrangements.
When will I receive my IELTS test results?
Your Test Report Form will be posted to you 13 days after your test date. Some test centres also provide SMS alerts and an Online Results Service. Keep your Test Report Form in a secure place as you only receive one copy.
Can I check my IELTS test results online?
Yes, you will receive an email notification with a link to view your IELTS scores. If you took IELTS on paper, you will be able to view your results online 13 days after your test. If you took IELTS on a computer, your results will be available online within three to five days after your test.
If you have taken IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration (on paper), you can view your results here - 13 days after your test.
IELTS test results remain online for 28 days but shouldn’t be used as an official confirmation of your performance.
How are IELTS tests marked?
IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system to measure and report test scores in a consistent manner. You receive individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking and an Overall Band Score on a band scale from one to nine.
Who sets the pass mark for the IELTS test?
There is no pass or fail in IELTS. Scores are graded on the 9-band system. Each educational institution or organisation sets its own level of IELTS scores to meet its individual requirements.
What if I am not satisfied with my IELTS result?
If you would like to make an enquiry about your test results, you need to apply at the centre where you booked your test within six weeks of your test date. You can choose which sections of the test you want to have re-marked. There is a charge for an enquiry on IELTS test results (EOR), however this charge will be refunded if your score increases for any section of the test. Your result will normally be available in 2-21 days, depending on several factors including the number of sections requested for re-mark.
How do I send a copy of the Test Report Form to an organisation?
We can send up to five additional copies of your Test Report Form directly to institutions you are applying to (for instance universities, immigration officers, etc.) If you would like us to do this, please include the relevant addresses on the Test taker portal within two years of taking the test. Some universities or institutions have subscribed to electronic download of scores, so please make sure you check with your local test centre before sending them your results.
What do I do if I lose my Test Report Form?
Test Report Form (TRF) is valid for two years. Copies cannot be sent to test takers but we will send a TRF to your relevant institution or embassy. Up to five copies will be sent free of charge. Additional copies will incur a small administration charge. Talk to your test centre for further details.
What if I need to postpone or cancel my IELTS application?
If you postpone or cancel your application more than five weeks before the test date, you will receive a refund minus an administration charge. If you postpone or cancel within five weeks of the test date, you will be charged the full fee unless you have a medical reason. If you provide a medical certificate within five days of the test date, you will receive a refund minus the local administrative cost.
What if I am absent or sick on the test day?
If you are absent on the test day with no prior notice, you will lose your full fee. However, if you provide a medical certificate within five days of the test date, you will receive a refund minus the local administrative cost.
What if I am delayed by circumstances beyond my control?
The IELTS test centre may offer you a test on the next available test date.
How soon can I re-sit the IELTS test?
There is no limit on sitting the test. However, we recommend you do additional study before taking the test again. Some test centres offer preparatory courses and language classes.
Where do I log in to the Test Taker Portal?
Go to https://ieltsregistration.britishcouncil.org/ and click Log in in top right hand corner of the page.
I've accidentally entered incorrect information about myself. How can I update my details?
Please log in to the Test Taker portal to amend. Please note you won't able to make changes after you have taken the test.
FAQs about Test Registration
- Lingnan University students must apply through the designated online registration system for Lingnan students. For more details, please refer to How to Book?
- If you are absent on the test day with no prior notice, you will lose your full fee. However, if you provide a medical certificate within five working days of the test date, an administration charge (25% of the test fee) will be applied. For students who are eligible for full financial support from the University on the first attempt, please refer to Changing Test Date and Refund on the page of Lingnan University Students.
- If you postpone or cancel your IELTS test more than 5 weeks before the test date, a maximum of 75% of the test fee is refundable as an administration charge of 25% will be deducted from the test fee. No refund will be granted within 5 weeks before the registered Test Date. For students who are eligible for full financial support from the University on first attempt, please refer to “Changing Test Date” and “Refund” on the page of “Lingnan University Students”.
- For your convenience the IELTS test for Lingnan students will be held on campus. Details of the test venue location will be shown in your Confirmation of Registration (COR) which will be sent to you two weeks before the test.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Test Day
- The Listening, Reading and Writing components of the test are always completed immediately after each other and with no break. You will take the Speaking test on the same day or the day after the test date.
- The rules and regulations can be found on the Notice to Candidates provided in the IELTS Application Form. You are also advised to read the Information for Candidates booklet carefully so that you understand the test format and know what to expect on the test day. British Council offers practical advice for the test day at https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/take-ielts/test-day-advice.
- The Speaking test is an interview lasting 11-14 minutes with a certified and highly qualified IELTS Examiner. The Speaking test is made up of three sections. It is recorded on a digital recorder.
- You must bring the same passport / Hong Kong identity card you supplied on your IELTS Application Form and continue to use the same identity documents for each part of the test. Your identity will be checked before you enter the interview room.
- As IELTS is an international test, a variety of English accents is used in both these components of the test.
- Yes, you can use all capital letters in the IELTS Reading and Listening components and also in the Writing component.
- IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system to report test scores. You receive individual band scores for Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking and an Overall Band Score on a band scale from one to nine.
- Yes. The markers look only at your answer sheet for the Listening and Reading components. They do not see your question paper.
- If Typhoon signal No. 8 or higher or the Black Rainstorm warning is hoisted AT or AFTER 7am, the IELTS test will be cancelled and rescheduled; If Typhoon signal No. 3 or below or the Yellow or Red Rainstorm warning is hoisted, IELTS test will be run as scheduled. Candidates should listen to radio or watch television in case the weather deteriorates suddenly. Any announcement to candidates will be made via SMS and EMAIL.
Frequently Asked Questions about Test Results
- There is no pass or fail in IELTS. Scores are graded on the 9 grade scale. Each educational institution or organization sets its own minimum IELTS scores to meet its individual requirements.
- If you did not receive the score you expected, you can apply for your test to be remarked. This is called an Enquiry on Results (EoR). If you would like to make an Enquiry on Results, you need to apply no later than six weeks after the test date. You can choose which parts of the test you want to have re-marked. You will have to pay a fee of HK$1,000 for an Enquiry on Results. This fee will be refunded if your score is increased for any part of the test. Enquiries on Results take 6 – 8 weeks to complete.
- There is no limit on sitting the test. However, IELTS recommends you do additional study before taking the test again.
- You will be given ONE copy of your test report form. You may, at the time of registration, request up to five additional copies of your Test Results sent to schools / institutes / government offices / registration bodies. For additional copies or requests made one Month AFTER the test report form release date, an administrative fee of HK$50 will be charged per copy.
- Test Results will be issued usually 13 days after the Test date. You should bring the ID you used for registration to collect your results, or you can authorize a person to collect your results. You can preview your provisional IELTS result online at https://www.ieltsasia.org/hk/en/faq. This online preview is usually available 13 days after the test date and will remain available for 28 days thereafter. You should select the test date and enter your full name, Identification Number and date of birth in order to preview your result.