8 Tips For Your IELTS Test Day

Table of Contents

by Shelly Grimes

IELTS Expert


Your IELTS test day is rapidly approaching.  I know you are nervous, and that is totally normal.  But don’t worry!  Today we will be looking at eight tips for you to have the best test day possible.  What follows are a few simple steps to ensure you can walk into your IELTS exam feeling calm and confident that you have everything ready. Let’s get started! 

Tip #1: Map out your journey to the test centre

Our first tip starts the day, or days, before your test.  Tip number 1 is to make sure you know your route to the test centre!  This could mean going to the location before the test so that there are no surprises about which door to enter or what floor to go to.  (Note that some venues won’t allow entry if you don’t have a test that day. However, it will still help knowing how to get there!)

Another important step when mapping out your route is to find out if there are any traffic delays you need to be aware of.  Are you planning to take transit? A car? Can you walk or bike? Having a reliable way to get to your destination is key.  You don’t want to run into your test out of breath and in a rush because of bad traffic.  Plan your trip out ahead of time and you can start your test with a clear head. 

When you arrive early, you will have all the time you need to register, check in your belongings and use the restroom.

Tip #2: Prepare your belongings the night before

Maybe you are already the kind of person who prepares the night before for work or school every day. If not, the day before your IELTS test is a great day to start this habit. Packing everything you will need for the next day means you can avoid extra stress the morning of your test. 

Ideally, you will wake up feeling rested and know that you have everything prepared to ensure a successful test day. Pack yourself a healthy snack, some water (in a transparent, colourless bottle) and extra pencils, if you want!

More than anything, remember to pack the ID document that you used to register for the test. This will likely be your passport, but may also be a Permanent Residence card if you live in Canada.  Don’t forget this very important piece of information – you won’t be able to take the test without it!

Tip #3: Arrive Early

For any event, arriving early is always a good idea.  Your IELTS test day is no exception.  If you plan your route, as we advised in Tip #1, this will be easy for you. When you arrive early, you will have all the time you need to register, check in your belongings and use the restroom.

Furthermore, remember that there are no breaks between each section of the exam, so give yourself time to get organized once you have arrived and you’ll have a smooth start to the test.  What’s more, the doors close 15-20 minutes before test time at ILAC, so not being early might even mean you miss the test!  Don’t let this happen to you and arrive early. 

Keep your phone use to a minimum in the hours leading up to your exam.

Tip #4: Wear what feels good

Going into your test, you should feel comfortable and confident.  Your clothing choices can be a big part of this.  I don’t recommend wearing your pyjamas, but you should be comfortable enough to sit for your test for a few hours.  The exam takes time, and you don’t want to be wearing an uncomfortable pair of pants or feeling too cold in the air conditioning.  That can be quite distracting. 

In addition, you want to go into your IELTS test day feeling sharp and smart, so why not dress the part?  Wear something that matches how you want to feel. Just make sure it is comfortable enough to do your Writing, Reading, Listening, and Speaking test. 

Finally, be aware that you won’t be able to remove any pieces of clothing during the test. For example, if you wear a jacket into the test room and it gets hot, you will need to keep it on for the duration of the test as an anti-cheating measure*. So, think carefully about your clothing choices. You have a big day ahead, so dress accordingly! 

(Extra tip: Wear layers and ask the staff at the test centre how cold or warm the test room is when you check-in before your test – remove or add layers accordingly!)

Tip #5: Stay off your phone and social media before the test

This could be a difficult one.  I am sure you will have friends and family sending you positive messages before your IELTS test day.  However, keeping your phone use to a minimum is probably a good idea in the hours leading up to your exam. 

You will want to avoid any surprises that confuse you or make you feel pessimistic or unsure of your knowledge.  Social media is hard to predict and the last thing you want the hour before your test is some shocking news or some conflicting information.  If you need to read something on your way to the exam, try a book with a positive message to put yourself in the right headspace. 

It's crucial to get enough sleep so you can think clearly enough to tackle those tough test questions.

Tip #6: Eat a feel-good meal

This meal will change for everyone but eating something that makes you feel good (both mentally and physically) is a great way to start your IELTS test day!  Maybe junk food seems like a good idea when you feel stressed, but it won’t be the best meal to prepare for the long day ahead. 

Try to find a balance of something you love to eat, but also will keep you energized throughout the exam.  You don’t want an upset stomach or to feel hungry when there is still one hour left in your test.  Eat something both nutritious and delicious to feel your best! 

Tip #7: Get a good night's sleep the day before

I don’t recommend partying the evening before your IELTS test day.  Instead, this is the night you should be staying in to prepare everything you need, put on your most comfortable pyjamas, and get into bed at a reasonable hour. 

It’s crucial to get enough sleep so you can think clearly enough to tackle those tough test questions.  No amount of coffee can replace a solid night’s sleep, and you will thank yourself the day of your exam if you are well-rested. 

Tip #8: Be calm and confident

This is easier said than done, but it is important to remember on your test day.  If you have followed the previous seven tips to prepare, you should walk into the test centre feeling calm and confident.   

Remember that you have been studying and preparing and took all the necessary steps to ensure your success today.  With a couple of deep breaths, you will be ready to start your test!  

Use these 8 tips to give yourself the best chance for achieving the score you want!

That wraps up our eight essential tips for your IELTS test day.  You are taking on a big challenge when you sign up for the IELTS test.  By keeping these pieces of advice in mind and making sure you have made these necessary preparations, you are giving yourself the best chance for achieving the score you want 

Visit our Test Day page for more information about what happens on the big day!

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