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Re-sitting the test

Before you take the IELTS test again… check this guide


IELTS is a test of English language proficiency and learning a language takes time and practice. If you are disappointed with your result, here is some advice to consider before sitting the test again.

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If you answered “No” to some of these questions above, consider the advice provided below to help you prepare for the next time you sit the test.

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Before the test

Download your free IELTS support tools pack. 

The IELTS support tools Pack contains advice and tips every test taker should read, including:

  • IELTS Information for Candidates booklet
  • IELTS application form
  • Examiner approved IELTS tips
  • What to expect on test day
  • Prepare for IELTS checklist

Consider taking an English language course. It takes time to learn a language and the best way is to take an English course. The feedback you receive from your teacher will help you improve the specific skills involved in speaking, listening, reading and writing English.

Use your English everyday. A proven way to improve your IELTS band score is to practise your English every day at home and at work / university. This includes speaking English with your friends, watching and listening to English language programmes, reading English publications and practising your written skills wherever possible.

Know what to expect. To familiarise yourself with the types of tasks included in an IELTS test, you may wish to consider taking an IELTS preparation course. This will help you:

  • Practise the type of tasks included in an IELTS test (e.g. Writing a short essay or letter for the Writing component.)
  • Get feedback and learn from your answers to practice questions
  • Become more confident in your test-taking skills
  • Help you decide if you are ready
  • Ask your local IELTS test centre for more information.

Understand the IELTS band scores. IELTS  band scores are explained here. To understand the IELTS assessment criteria, please download the below PDFs:

Download IELTS speaking assessment criteria

Download IELTS writing assessment criteria

Why aren’t assessment criteria for Listening or Reading components published? IELTS listening and reading papers contain 40 items and each correct item is awarded one mark; the maximum raw score a candidate can achieve on a paper is 40. Band scores ranging from Band 1 to Band 9 are awarded to candidates on the basis of their raw scores.

Practise sample questions. You may wish to complete the IELTS test samples available here. Official IELTS Practice Materials (two books available) can be obtained from your test centre.

Rest and relax. Get plenty of rest the night before your test. Also ensure you are familiar with the venue’s location before test day so that you arrive in time.

During the test

Understand the task. Follow instructions carefully during the test. Remember that the Writing component of the test has specific word length requirements.

Allow enough time for each question. Some questions have suggested time limits for you to follow. Every test room will have a clock on the wall. Stay aware of the time during the test so that you can complete all the questions.

Stay calm enough to do your best. If you feel worried, take slow, deep breaths to help you calm down. If you focus on the questions and don’t rush your answers, you will be able to do your best. Find out more information about the IELTS test preparation.

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