Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today you’ll learn about proper exam procedure, and when you should complain to the IELTS administrator.

IELTS goes out of its way to try and make the exam exactly the same all over the world, and if your experience is different, that could invalidate your results.

The exam conditions, including the behavior of the examiner, must adhere to strict procedures and practices as defined by British Council and IDP, ensuring a level playing ground for all candidates.

Thus, if your experience varies from these pre-set conditions, the results do not accurately reflect your ability as compared to other test-takers.

If your experience is different that what is outlined below, talk directly to the IELTS administrator at your test center. If he/she is not helpful, contact the British Council or IDP immediately. They will, hopefully, audit the test center and set things straight.



  • Timing: 60 minutes. The invigilator should put time checks on the board every 20 minutes.
  • The invigilator must clearly explain the instructions before the beginning of the exam.
  • The invigilator must not explain vocabulary or specific questions about how to answer during the exam. They are not there to teach you or help you pass. It is your responsibility to prepare for and understand how to do the test.
  • The candidates should not be able to see each others’ answers, or talk to each other, during any part of the exam.

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  • Timing: 60 minutes. The invigilator should put time checks on the board. If anyone continues writing after the 60 minutes, the invigilator must cross out those words.
  • The invigilator must clearly explain the instructions before the beginning of the exam.
  • If you need more paper, raise your hand. The invigilator will provide extra answer sheets if you need them.
  • Again, the invigilator cannot help you with your answers.


  • Timing: The examiner controls the time. She/he must start the recording after you sit down. They will introduce the test for the recording, with your candidate number and name, and the examiner’s number, look at your passport, and then begin Part 1.
    • She/he must ask you about 3 topics in Part 1, and will interrupt you if you answer for too long.
    • She/he must let you speak for exactly 2 minutes, and encourage you to speak more if you stop before 2 minutes.
    • She/he should try and develop a conversation in Part 3, asking more high-level questions. She/he is also required to ask you a certain number of questions, and will interrupt you if needed.
  • The examiner cannot give you any feedback. They are not your teacher, and are not allowed to tell you your score or how you did.
  • The examiner must respect you as a person, and not say or do anything negative or anything that makes you uncomfortable in a way that affects your ability to speak English.
  • The room should be quiet, with only you and the examiner allowed in the room.
  • The examiner is not required to smile or be particularly nice to you. They must only listen to you talk about analyze your performance.
  • The examiner should not turn off the recording until you are out of the room.

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