IELTS Announces Online, At-Home Testing with IELTS Indicator

student at computer, with cat

IELTS Partners now offers the IELTS Indicator, an online test that students can take from the safety of their homes.

Similar to the ETS’ response to COVID-19 with the at-home TOEFL, the IELTS Indicator exam is IELTS’ response to cancelled test dates, closed test centers, and test-takers’ desire for safe, home-based testing during the pandemic.

So what is it, how can you sign up, and what is required to take it? Keep reading to learn more.

Is IELTS Indicator the same as the IELTS exam?

IELTS Indicator is like the IELTS exam in that it contains the same four sections: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Once you’ve completed the exam, your test will be graded by an IELTS marker and examiner. However, it differs from the IELTS in that it is not accepted at all universities and institutions. So how can you know if your school will accept IELTS Indicator? Continue to the next question to learn more.

Will universities and institutions accept my IELTS Indicator score?

Although the IELTS Indicator is similar to the IELTS, it is not accepted at all universities and institutions at this time. IELTS partners maintain a web page listing the institutiuons that currently accept the IELTS Indicator, so that’s the a good place to check. It’s also important you check with your institution beforehand to find out whether they will accept your IELTS Indicator score; while the makers of the exam do their best to maintain an accurate, up-to-date list, individual university admissions offices are the most reliable source of information.

Is IELTS Indicator available in both Academic and General Training?

As of now, IELTS Indicator is only available for Academic IELTS students. It’s IELTS Partners’ way of helping students meet their admissions requirements. IELTS has not announced an equivalent at-home, online solution for General Training students.

What do I need in order to take IELTS Indicator?

In addition to a stable internet connection, you’ll need the following:

  • an environment suitable for test-taking
  • a computer with microphone: your computer can be a laptop or desktop computer, mac or PC, but not a tablet or mobile phone
  • speakers or headphones that connect to your computer
  • 2 hours and 45 minutes to dedicate to taking the exam

When and how can I sign up?

The IELTS Indicator website,lists the countries where the Indicator is currently available. If that site lists your country, you’ll be able to register for the IELTS Indicator at this link. The exam will take place once a week, so make sure to have your calendar ready when you sign up.

How can I prep for the IELTS Indicator?

As mentioned above, the IELTS Indicator is like the real IELTS exam in that it contains all four sections of the exam and will be graded by an IELTS examiner. Therefore, you should study as you would for the IELTS!

First, we recommend planning out your study schedule with an IELTS Study Plan. Choose the one that works with your current schedule, then check out this video to learn how to make the most of your plan. Your own schedule may have changed during this crisis, and you may also be more anxious than usual. And that’s OK and perfectly understandable! Be sure to edit the study plan to fit your needs. And you’ll probably want to allow more mental breaks than you normally would. For more information on how to stay focused in your studies during the global pandemic, see Eliot’s COVID-19 IELTS study tips.

We also recommend taking a practice test to experience real test-like conditions. If you have the time, dedicate three hours to taking a practice IELTS test. We recommend checking out the IELTS practice test our experts created.

If a practice test feels like too much right now, try fitting in daily, small practices instead. This could be just 20-30 minutes a day. Listen to an IELTS podcast while you cook; watch one of our 5-minute IELTS Youtube videos before bed; or do a practice question and review your answers the next day.

In addition, British Council is now hosting webinars twice per week on Zoom. The webinars will include: an update on countries where testing is restricted, suspended or re-opening; a briefing on the IELTS Indicator online test, including features and benefits, reliability, security and online results; plus a Q&A section.

What if I have more questions?

One of our IELTS experts has taken the IELTS Indicator themselves, and written up a detailed report (with video!) here.

In addition, our Student Help Team is here not only to help with your IELTS questions, but also with test anxiety and other concerns. Feel free to reach out through the purple Help button on your dashboard or send an email to

We’re following the situation closely and we’ll keep doing our very best to respond to what’s going on and help support IELTS students.

We know this is tough, and we’re here for you.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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