Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

When should you take notes on the IELTS exam?

Today we tell you exactly when you should and shouldn’t take notes on test day.

We also share when you should be taking notes while studying for IELTS.

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Use the full minute to prepare for Speaking Task 2

You are given one minute to prepare before answering the Speaking Part 2 question.

Examiners really don’t like when students start speaking before that minute is over.

  • Do not write in complete sentences.
  • Do not write in your first language.

You will end up having to translate from your notes, which can throw you off.

  • Use stream of consciousness writing.

Write down anything that comes to mind.

  • Use bullet points to organize ideas.

Experiment with a few methods and then use the one that works for you!

Can you look at your notes during Speaking Part 2?


You can glance at these notes while you talk.

There is no penalty to read your notes.

You can look at them the whole time if you want!

Where else should you take notes on the IELTS exam?

Do not take notes during the Listening exam.

You will miss parts of the audio if you are writing.

You also should not be jotting down notes during the Reading exam.

Underline key words during Reading, but don’t write any words.

You will write when brainstorming, which can be considered taking notes.

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How can you practice note taking?

When you listen to podcasts, jot down interesting vocabulary.

You can also do this while reading.

Use the new word immediately in a sentence so you learn it in context.

This gives you a chance to listen to English and produce it simultaneously.

It helps you to stop translating and immerse yourself in English.


There are a few places you will take notes on the IELTS exam.

In today’s episode we share the importance of using the full minute before Speaking Part 2 to take notes and prepare.

There are also places you should definitely NOT take notes!

Listen to today’s episode so you won’t make vital errors on test day!

For more strategies that will guarantee you a 7 or higher on IELTS, sign up for our 3 Keys Study System.

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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