Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Where do they come from?

How do they get to be examiners?

As an IELTS professional, having worked in the field for over 12 years, I can tell you it’s not easy!

First off, let me establish the important fact that being an examiner is a job.

By this, I mean that they have a lengthy and detailed set of guidelines and restrictions to follow.

If they do not follow these perfectly, there are consequences, as in any job.

So, on test day, during your Speaking Exam, remember that the person in front of you is a professional, is highly trained, and is there to do a good job.

Also, important note number 2, the only time you will interact with an examiner is during the 11-14 minute Speaking Exam.

So, who is in the room with you in the morning, during the Listening, Reading, and Writing exams?

This person is called an invigilator. They are basically there to make sure you are who you say you are (that’s why they check your passports a thousand times!), and that you don’t cheat. They have nothing to do with your IELTS scores.

What is the IELTS examiner responsible for?

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The examiner must first interview you and evaluate your speaking. They listen very carefully, and are constantly referring to the grading rubrics in their heads while you talk.

As you may know, the IELTS grading rubric consists of 4 categories: Fluency and Coherence, Vocabulary, Grammar and Pronunciation.

Perhaps you can imagine, paying attention to your communication while keeping in mind the detailed scoring rubric is no easy task!

A different examiner will later grade your writing.

How do they do it?

Good question!

IELTS examiners must pass rigorous training. They are almost always native-speaking teachers, who hold teaching certificates, teaching/language degrees, and have taught for many years.

They also must periodically go through re-certification training, to make sure that all the examiners around the world are sticking to the same guidelines and assigning the same objective grades on the Speaking and Writing exams.

Not only that, but they are randomly spot-checked by Cambridge or IDP to make sure they are assigning the correct scores for you awesome IELTS candidates.

This is who IELTS examiners are: highly-trained, experienced ESL/IELTS professionals. 

Remember this on exam day, show the proper respect, but, also, remember that they are people who genuinely want you to perform well. To the best of your ability, enjoy the brief conversation with them! By and large, they are lovely people.

Was there anything surprising in today’s article?

Leave us a message in the comments section below!


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