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Frequently asked questions about Paper-based IELTS

In addition to the questions below, you will find IELTS support on our official IELTS website: www.IELTS.com. As a proud co-owner of IELTS, IDP Education provides free advice, practice questions and IELTS Masterclasses and seminars to help you be better prepared.

You can also find daily IELTS updates on our Facebook page.

  1. Do I take all parts of the test on the same day? Which part do I take first?
    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. 

  2. What are the test rules?
    Test rules and guidelines 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 test day. IDP Education offers practical advice for test day on www.IELTS.com

  3. What is the Speaking test?
    The Speaking test is a discussion over 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.

  4. What do I need for the Speaking test?
    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.

  5. What kinds of accents can be heard in the Listening and Speaking tests?
    As IELTS is an international test, a variety of English accents is used in both of these tests.

  6. Can I write in capital letters?
    Yes, you can use all capital letters in the IELTS Reading and Listening components and also in the Writing component.

  7. How are the tests marked?
    IELTS uses a 9-band scoring system to 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.

  8. Can I make notes on the Listening and Reading question papers?
    Yes. The people marking your answers to the Listening and Reading questions will not see your question paper.

  9. Who sets the ‘pass’ mark for the IELTS test?
    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.

  10. What if I am not happy with my result?
    You can apply for an Enquiry on Results (EOR) procedure within six weeks of the test date. The fee is HK$1000.00. After re-marking, should the score on any module be increased, the re-marking fee is refunded.

  11. What is the arrangement during bad weather?
    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.


  12. How soon can I re-sit the test?
    There is no limit on sitting the test. However, IELTS recommends you do additional study before taking the test again

  13. How many copies of IELTS Test Report Forms am I entitled to?
    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 their 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.

  14. Which version should I do, Academic or General Training?
    The Academic Version is the best choice if you are planning to use English to study at an undergraduate or postgraduate level. The General Training is suitable for candidates who are going to English speaking countries to complete their secondary education, to undertake work experience or training programmes not at degree level, or for immigration purposes to Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

  15. What if I am absent or sick on the test day?
    If you are away on the test day with no prior notice, you will lose your full fee. However, if you provide a medical certificate within working 5 days of the test date, an administration charge (25% of the test fee) will be applied.

  16. What if I need to postpone or cancel my IELTS test?
    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.

  17. When will I get my test results?
    Test Results will be issued approximately 2 weeks after the Test date.  Candidates may bring along their Confirmation of Registration together with their HKID cards or passports (present the one you used for the registration) to collect their results or authorize a person to collect their results. Candidates can also check the overall bandscore online two weeks of the result release date. Candidates can search for the provisional IELTS result online from http://results.ielts.org/ IELTS result is usually available on-line 13 days after the test date, and will remain available for 28 days thereafter. You should select the test date, enter your candidate number, Identification number and date of birth for checking your result.

  18. How long is the result valid?
    The IELTS test partners recommend that receiving organisations do not accept an IELTS Test Report Form that is more than two years old. It is the decision of the receiving organisation, not the IELTS test partners, if they accept an older IELTS Test Report Form. No letters or references endorsing a candidate's level of English can be provided.

  19. How can I register for the IELTS test?
    You can register your IELTS test in-person at IDP Hong Kong Office or register online.

  20. Which organisations accept IELTS?
    IELTS is accepted by more than 10,000 organisations worldwide. These include universities, immigration departments, government agencies, professional bodies and multinational companies.


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