Questions about the IELTS Exam format and procedures
Here are some FAQs about the IELTS Exam format and procedures? Search through these and get answers to the questions that candidates frequently ask.
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You can only take water in a clear bottle.
There are only three things you are allowed to take into the exam room:
- your identification (Passport or ID card)
- your 'bag deposit token'
- water in a clear bottle
Everything else is prohibited. This includes wrist watches (but not other items of jewellery).
For the paper-based test your results are available after 13 days
For the computer-delivered test your results are available after 5-7 days
We do not recommend you take the test without spending time preparing beforehand. You should ideally use a variety of study methods with plenty of general language exposure and lots of specific exam preparation. Even native speakers who are asked to take the test for immigration purposes should spend time familiarising themselves with the test format and practicing the skills, especially reading and writing - which can prove tricky for those who are unfamiliar with them.
A traditional course at a language school is only one possibility.
Band scores are the grades which your are awarded. Each person taking the test will be given a score between 1 and 9. (0 is only for those who do not attempt the test in any way). The highest score is 9.
- The listening and reading tests are marked out of 40 questions and then converted into band scores (1-9).
- The speaking and writing tests are graded in four areas and then averaged and rounded down to the nearest half-point. (i.e. a 7/7/6/7 is awarded a 6.5).
- The overall band score is calculated by averaging the four skills and rounding up. (i.e. a 5/5/5/6 is awarded a 5.5).
For more information about band scores, check out our overview of IELTS band scores.
Once you have entered the exam room at the start of the day, the first possibility to visit the bathroom, should you need to, is after the reading test has started. So don't forget to go to the bathroom before you deposit your belongings and enter the exam room - if you do it could mean long wait.
We recommend that you do not enter the exam room too early. Test venues often open around 7.30am and exams begin around 9am.
If you do visit the bathroom during the test, you will have to follow the IELTS Exam's strict security/identity check protocols.