Frequently asked questions

The rules for marking IELTS are clear and are closely followed. You should take care when writing answers on the listening and reading answer sheets as incorrect spelling and grammar are penalised. Both British and American varieties of spelling are acceptable.

If you’re asked to write an answer using a certain number of words or a number you will be penalised if they exceed this. For example, if a question specifies an answer using no more than three words and the correct is 'black leather coat', the answer 'coat of black leather' is incorrect.

For questions where you are expected to fill in a gap, you should only transfer the necessary missing word(s) onto the answer sheet. For example, if you're asked to complete 'in the..........' and the correct answer is 'morning' the answer 'in the morning' would be incorrect.

Read and follow the instructions and questions very carefully. Particular care should be taken when transferring answers onto the answer sheet during the listening element of the test.

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.

If you would like to make an Enquiry on Results you need to contact us at [email protected] for more information and to get the Enquiry on Results Form. You must apply no later than six weeks after the test date. You can choose which part or parts of the test you want to have re-marked.

You will have to pay for an Enquiry on Results. The fee is £60 for any or all parts of the test. 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.

After receiving your enquiry of results form, payment, and original test report form, we will send the appropriate test materials to the British Council to be re-marked by a senior examiner. We will let you know the outcome as soon as it is communicated to us.

We will process any due refunds within four weeks of the outcome and issue a new Test Report Form.

All requests to cancel or postpone a test must be made in writing and received by us by 3pm on the Friday five weeks before your test date. These are subject to a £40 administration fee.

If you postpone or cancel your within five weeks of your test date you will be charged the full test fee unless you are able to provide appropriate medical evidence (from your GP or hospital) to support your request.

Please email us at [email protected] to request a test date transfer or cancellation form.

You will normally lose your full test fee unless you are able to provide appropriate medical evidence (from a GP, walk-in centre or hospital) to explain your absence. Medical evidence must be provided within five days of the test date and it must be in an original document. We can not accept copies. It is your responsibility to make sure we receive the medical evidence within the deadline. 

There are three types of acceptable identification.

These are:

  • a valid passport
  • a national identity card from your home country (EU/EEA citizens)
  • a valid British Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card

These are the only forms of identification we can accept. You will not be able to register without one of them.

On the test day you will not be able to take the test unless you show one of the forms of identification listed above at registration. This must be the same document as written on your application form. We can not accept copies. You will also lose the entire test fee if you can not show an acceptable form of ID.

If you have any ID questions, or think you will not have ID on the test day, you must contact us at [email protected] before applying.

If you know beforehand that you will not have your identification document on the test day but you are still in the possession of your identification, please contact the centre at [email protected] immediately before you send your identification away.

If you have already sent your identification away, and you know you will not be able to produce one of the other accepted forms of identification on the test day that is also the same as the identification written on your application form, you will not be able to take the test. You also lose the entire test fee unless you contact us to reschedule your test with at least five weeks notice.

You can repeat the test at the next available test date. There are no restrictions on candidates retaking the test.

Every organisation sets its own entry requirements. In some cases both versions of IELTS may be accepted.

Visit the British Council page on who accepts IELTS to search for the organisations you want to apply to and find out which version you need. If you are in doubt as to which version to take, you should contact the organisations directly in order to check their requirements.

Whichever test version you choose, IELTS can help you make the most of your time in your chosen country.

Please note that if you are taking IELTS for UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) purposes then additional options (and rules) are applicable. Visit what is IELTS for UKVI for relevant information.

You can buy the official practice materials from us. They should also be available in the languages section of any big bookshop.

You are entitled to one personal and up to five institution copies of your test report form per test. This includes the copies for institutions written on your application form. These are free of charge within four weeks.

Your personal copy is automatically sent to you two weeks after you take your test. To request your free institution copies, please email us [email protected].

After four weeks, extra institution copies can be purchased for £10 each.

Unfortunately test report forms older than two years are not replaceable (ie cannot be reprinted by the centre).

No, computer-based IELTS tests are not yet available in the UK.

There are no deadlines for applying. We operate on a strict first-come first-served basis. Our tests dates tend to fill up quite quickly, particularly over the summer months, so we advise getting your application in early. When we receive enough applications for a particular test date we close it.

No, this is not possible. We must receive all your documents and payment before we register you for a test date.

Your results will be available online at 10am on the British Council IELTS website  on the 13th calendar day after your test. You will need to keep the candidate number sticker you receive on the test day to log in along with your ID document (passport or EU NI Card) number.

Your Test Report Form (TRF) will be available for collection from our office at 32–38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW between 11am and 1pm on the 13th calendar day after the test. When collecting your results you must bring appropriate ID. Results not collected by 1pm on the 13th day after your test will be sent to each candidate by Royal Mail first-class post.