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IELTS Exam Tips & Advice On the day

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IELTS Test Tips & Advice On the day

Below are some tips for the day of your IELTS exam. These tips are to guide you before your IELTS test and also during your test. These tips are for both GT and Academic tests. All pages on my site are relevant this year, 2019.

On this page, you will find:

Tips for “on the day” of your test

Last-Minute Tips to focus on before your test:

- Listening Tips

- Reading Tips

- Writing Tips

- Speaking Tips

It is important that everyone reads this page before the test day and also on the morning of the test day. Good luck 

On the Day IELTS Exam Tips:

Be prepared for your IELTS exam by making sure you know exactly what will happen in the day of your test. Check all the tips and rules below.

Sleep & Eat Well

The IELTS test is long. It takes 2 hours and 40 mins to do the listening, reading and writing test. There is no break between the tests. Make sure you are well-rested and have eaten in order to keep your concentration during your test.

- Clothes

Wear comfortable clothing. You are not marked on your appearance for any part of the test. So, wear something that you are comfortable in and that gives you confidence.

The test room might be cold in the aircon is on, so take an extra layer of clothing with you.

- Drink

You can take a drink into the exam room as long as it is in a transparent bottle.

- Arrive Early.

Make sure you know how long it takes to get to your IELTS test center and exactly where your test will be held. Don’t be late or you won’t be allowed to enter the exam room. You will need to check in so make sure you arrive with plenty of time to spare.

- No Phones

You will not be allowed to take your phone or any other electronic items into the test room.

- Pen, Pencil & Eraser

 You should take at least two pencils and one pen – just in case one of them stops working. You should also take an eraser as well. You can’t take a dictionary or extra paper into the test room. For your speaking test, you can take nothing into the room except your ID.

- ID

Check with your test center exactly what ID you need to take with you. Don’t forget it.

- Listen to Instructions

Listen carefully to all instructions given before your test starts.

- Clock

There will be a clock on the exam room. You cannot take a watch into your test. Make sure you know where it is before your test starts so you can keep checking it in your reading and writing test. You can’t take your watch into the exam room.

- Disability

If you have any form is disability that will affect your test, you must speak to the test center well before your test date.

- Focus & Be Calm

Make sure you go into your test with a clear aim and an understanding of the techniques you need to use. Be calm and confident at all time.


- Don’t cheat

This is an international test and cheating or copying is not allowed.

- No dictionary

You are not allowed to use any form of learning aid in your test.

- Don’t take the test paper home

You are not allowed to take any part of the question paper home with you.

Don’t continue writing after the invigilator tells you to stop. If you continue writing even one word or one sentence, you could have your whole test invalidated.

IELTS Test Tips During your Test

The following IELTS test tips for each part of the IELTS exam will help you focus on the right things during your test. Don’t lose marks by not being prepared.

IELTS Listening Exam Tips

-Make sure your headphones are working. Raise your hand if you have a problem.

- If no headphones are used, make sure you can hear the recording. If you need the volume increasing, raise your hand immediately and someone will come to ask what the problem is. Explain that you need the volume increasing.

- Use the time given to prepare the questions. Always read through all questions before the recording starts. You should practice doing this at home.

- Focus on listening for answers rather than trying to understand everything.

- Write your answers on your question paper while you listen.

- Make sure you notice how many words you can have for each answer.

- You will be given 10 mins after the recording has ended to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Always check your spelling and grammar.

- It is recommended to use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS FOR YOUR ANSWERS.

IELTS Reading Exam Tips

- Read the instructions carefully and make a note of how many words you can use for your answer.

- Don’t waste time trying to find one answer. Just move on to the next question.

- Keep your eye on the clock.

- Write your answers directly on to your answer sheet. There is no extra time for transferring later.

- Always spend time analysing the questions before looking for an answer.

- Look out for paraphrasing.

- Your aim is to find answers – not to understand the whole passage.

- It is recommended to use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS FOR YOUR ANSWERS.

IELTS Writing Exam Tips

- Don’t spend more than 20 mins on task 1. Keep checking the time so you don’t make this mistake. You need 40 mins for task 2.

- Always write over 150 words for task 1 and over 250 words for task 2. See this lesson about the recommended word count.

- Don’t count the number of words, count the lines and estimate your word count. See this lesson to learn about using the official IELTS writing answer sheet properly.

- You can plan your essay on the question paper. No extra paper is given for planning. The examiner will not look at your planning, only at your essay.

- Always write a clear overview for task 1 academic. See here about the conclusion/overview issue. For GT task 1, make sure you cover all points requested in your letter.

- Always write your conclusion for task 2. Never miss it out. If you only have 3 mins left, use it to write your conclusion.

- Always organise your writing for both tasks into body paragraphs.

- Check your spelling. You can use either American or British spelling.

- Keep all information focused and relevant. More does not mean better.

- If you run out of paper, put up your hand and you can get more.

- Do not remove any paper from the exam room.

IELTS Speaking Exam Tips

- Practice speaking English before your test. Practice expressing your opinions on different topics and talking about your past experiences.

- Be confident and ready to chat. This is not a formal interview. Being open and friendly is important.

- Listen to the question and answer it directly. Don’t waste time before answers. Be direct. This applies for part 1 and part 3.

- Add more information to all answers. Keep talking until the examiner stops you.

- Don’t focus only on vocabulary. Vocabulary is only 25% of your marks.

- You can wear anything you want. This is not a job interview. Clothing does not affect your score.

- Use a range of grammar tenses in your test.

- American or British English pronunciation can be used. A mixed accent is also fine. The key is to make sure your words are easy to understand.

- Ask the examiner to repeat the question if you need it. See this lesson about asking the examiner questions.

- If the examiner interrupts you, don’t worry about it. It’s a normal part of the speaking test. Just focus on the next question.

- The examiner will provide a pen and paper to prepare your talk for part 2. The examiner will not look at your plans and will only mark your talk. It is fine to look at your notes and at the cue card during your talk, but also try to make eye contact.

IELTS Exam Tips: One Week Before

- Full IELTS Practice Tests

- Make sure you have completed at least one or two complete IELTS practise tests before your real test. See my useful websites page for links to free IELTS practice tests.

- Practice using the Official IELTS Writing paper: a free download link is given under the video.

- Review common topics for IELTS speaking and IELTS Writing.

- If you are worried about your test, consider booking two tests. You can use the best score from any test.

The exam tips above  are summarised from the official IELTS sites:

Always check with official sources in case of any changes in rules.

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