If you’re reading this post, you’re probably ready to start your IELTS booking for an exam date. While you can find IELTS test dates on the official IELTS website, we’ll help you find and choose the IELTS test dates for you, and answer your frequently asked questions about IELTS registration. Read on to find out everything you need to know about IELTS test dates, and how to register for IELTS.
- IELTS Test Dates and COVID-19
- Computer-Delivered IELTS Test Dates
- When are the IELTS Test Dates?
- When is the Best Date to Take the IELTS?
IELTS Test Dates and COVID-19
If you’re taking the IELTS in 2020 or 2021, you probably have one question on your mind: is the test still offered? It is, in some places. However, IELTS has cancelled tests in certain locations; follow their updates to see if yours is among them.
If your exam was not cancelled, make sure you follow the IELTS COVID-19 guidelines to take the precautions you’ll need to enter the test center.
The good news is that if your in-person exam has been cancelled, you still have options. Chief among these is the IELTS Indicator. IELTS Indicator is an online exam, so you can take it at home. It is not a perfect match for the IELTS, but it is accepted at a growing number of institutions.
For the IELTS CDT (Computer-Delivered Test), Every Day is Test Day
If you live in a location that offers the IELTS computer-delivered test, I have good news for you: generally, the IELTS offers its computer-delivered test three times a day, seven days a week! That said, the IELTS computer-delivered test is not as widely available as the more traditional paper-based IELTS. To see if the computer-delivered IELTS is available in your location see my post “Is it Possible to Take the IELTS on Computer?”
If the IELTS CDT is not available where you are, or if you simply prefer to take the test on paper, read on for the IELTS global test dates that you can take this exam in its traditional format.
IELTS Test Dates: A Guide to Choosing Your Test Date
First, let’s look at IELTS test dates. Below, I’ll show you when the IELTS is a available, and give you some tips on how test-takers can choose the best possible IELTS dates.
When are the IELTS test dates?
There are really two different kinds of IELTS test dates: global IELTS test dates, and local IELTS test dates. Let’s look at the difference between these two sets of test dates.
1. Global IELTS Dates
The global IELTS test dates are the days of the year when it is possible to take a paper-based IELTS test. The official makers of the exam set aside these specific IELTS test dates each year. Although computer-delivered IELTS tests are freely available on any given date, these are the only paper-based IELTS dates at test centers around the world. IELTS test dates take place on Thursdays and Saturdays. Saturday test dates are more frequent than Thursday ones, but any given month will have at least one Thursday IELTS date.
Within this set of worldwide IELTS dates, there’s a difference between the IELTS dates for the Academic test, and the General Training version of the exam. Specifically, GT gets fewer IELTS dates per year, 24 annual General Training test dates versus 48 test dates per for IELTS Academic.
Global IELTS Test Dates for 2021
In the table below, you can see the worldwide IELTS test dates and availability of both the Academic and General Training versions of the paper-based exam. To register for any of the test dates in the table, use IELTS’s official “find a test center” service.
|Saturday, January 9, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, January 16, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Thursday, January 21, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, January 23, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, February 6, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, February 20, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Thursday February 25, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, February 27, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Thursday, March 4, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, March 13, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, March 20, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, March 27, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, April 10, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday April 17, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, April 24, 2021||Academic|
|Thursday, April 29, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, May 8, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Thursday, May 20, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, May 22, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, May 29, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, June 5, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, June 12, 2021||Academic|
|Thursday, June 17, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, June 19, 2021||Academic|
|Thursday, July 1, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, July 10, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, July 17, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, July 24, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, August 7, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Thursday, August 12, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, August 21, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, August 28, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, September 4, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, September 11, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Thursday, September 16, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, September 25, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, October 9, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Thursday, October 14, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, October 23, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, October 30, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, November 6, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Thursday, November 11, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, November 20, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, November 27, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Thursday, December 2, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, December 4, 2021||Academic|
|Saturday, December 11, 2021||Academic, General Training|
|Saturday, December 18, 2021||Academic|
2. Regional and Local IELTS Test Dates
The dates I’ve listed above are the only dates that the paper-based IELTS can be available. However, the exam may not be available locally on every single one of these posted IELTS dates.
Often, an individual test center will only give the IELTS on a fraction of the global IELTS dates. To give just one local example, the IELTS testing facility in Tirana, Albania offers IELTS Academic just twice a month, along with twice monthly IELTS General Training testing.
How to Find Your Local IELTS Test Dates
To find available dates at your local IELTS center, take the steps listed below and use them to guide your IELTS booking. (India has been used in the screenshots, but this works for any country.)
Step 1: Go to IELTS.org’s Find a Test Location page, and select “IELTS” as your exam. This will be the option on the left, under the header that reads “Find a Test Location,” just to the left of the “IELTS for UKVI and IELTS Life Skills” option. Once you click it, a new field will open lower on the screen, and you will automatically be scrolled down to that section.
Step 2: You are now on the newly opened lower part of the screen. Look underneath the red right-pointing arrow that has the words “Search for test locations” on it. On the bottom left part of the screen, you’ll see the “Select a country/territory” dropdown menu. Select your country in that menu. Then, just to the right of the dropdown menu, click the black “Find a Test Location” button.
Step 3: You will be brought to the IELTS booking web page for your country. Right under the red “Choose a location” arrow near the top of the screen, you’ll see two dropdown menus: one for your country on the left, and one for your city on the right. In that right dropdown menu, select your city.
Once you’ve selected your city, specific testing locations will appear in a list below the country and city dropdown menus. From there, select the location of your choice, and click “Book now.” From there, follow the booking instructions to find open test dates. (Booking instructions will vary, depending on which organization manages your specific testing site.)
When is the best date to take the IELTS?
As you saw in the table at the beginning of this post, you have many different options for IELTS test dates. How can test-takers know which IELTS dates are best for them? There are a few important factors to consider, outlined in the handy guide below.
Your Personal Schedule, Your IELTS Study Schedule, and IELTS Test Dates
One consideration is your own schedule. There are probably certain times of the year when you’re less busy than others.
If you’re a full time undergraduate student, then your summer or winter break might be a good time to schedule your IELTS examination. Specifically, it could be good to schedule your exam on a test date near the end of your break. That way you have all of the holiday period to prepare.
Similarly, if you have a job, you should use your holidays or your less busy season to study for and sit the IELTS.
In short, compare the flow of your work or study to the available IELTS test dates.
IELTS Test Dates and IELTS Application Deadlines
When you consider possible IELTS test dates, make sure you also think about application deadlines. You yourself can view your IELTS results online 13-15 days after you sit the paper-based test and 3-5 days after taking a computer-based exam.
However, it takes 1-2 additional weeks for schools and other agencies to actually receive your official IELTS score report. To be safe, you’ll want to take the exam at least a month before the deadline for submitting your scores.
When Considering IELTS Test Dates, Give Yourself Extra Time to Resit the IELTS
OK, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you will fail the IELTS. And you should certainly aim for success on the first try. But sometimes, at first IELTS, you just don’t do as well as you would have liked. To account for this, IELTS dates should be scheduled strategically.
How soon can you resit the IELTS if you’re not happy with your score? The good news is that it’s entirely up to you. The makers of the test allow you to resit the exam as often as you’d like.
So how much extra time should you choose to give yourself for a possible second attempt?
First, bear in mind that you need to register for IELTS about two weeks in advance. So even if you schedule your resit immediately after your first test, you’ll need to wait two weeks.
But really, you should wait a bit more than two weeks to resit the IELTS. As I mentioned before, it also takes two weeks just to get your score results. And no matter how badly you think you did, you should make sure you actually need that retake. You don’t want to waste money on resit fees if you don’t have to.
As a general rule, you should study at least four weeks for your second attempt. So it doesn’t hurt to start studying for an IELTS retake immediately after a test that “felt” bad. Then, in two weeks, if a retake is truly needed, book your test two weeks out. Then you can keep studying for another two weeks.
But what if you don’t realize you did badly until after you see your scores? In that case, you’ve spent two weeks not studying. Then suddenly, you realize you need a whole month to study for the IELTS exam and resit it.
In this situation, your test date should be six weeks after your first IELTS exam: two weeks to wait for your scores, plus an extra four weeks to study more. But that’s not all. You also want to give yourself a month to receive your scores and send official score reports.
Ultimately, this means that IELTS test dates at least 2.5 months—or 10 weeks—before any application deadlines. And if possible, IELTS test dates should also happen during a time of year that is less busy for the test-taker.
If you’re really trying to avoid a retake, you can also consider taking an IELTS diagnostic test before the real thing. Diagnostic tests can give you an idea of your baseline score, and help you identify where you might face challenges. You can try these free diagnostic tests for Listening, Speaking, Writing, and Reading.
Remember the Computer-Delivered IELTS can Sometimes Have Limited Availability Too!
One other possible consideration to choosing a test date is the availability of computer testing. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the computer-delivered IELTS is generally made available to student 7 days a week. But this availability may not be guaranteed to you personally. Even if the computer-delivered IELTS is available in our area, there are a limited number of seats. Bookings can fill up fast. And of course, remember that you still need to take the IELTS CDT on a computer in a test center. And test centers can be closed on certain holidays, even if they normally offer an exam 7 days a week.
Moreover, in some places where the IELTS CDT has just been introduced, this version of the test has limited testing windows, just like the paper-based ones. In those cases, computer-based exams and paper-based exams are usually available on different dates, even if they are given at the same test center. When you register for the IELTS online, the test center page will indicate if you have the option to look for computer-based testing dates as well as paper-based ones
For more information on IELTS computer-based testing (including a list of locations where it’s available), see the article I wrote about IELTS CBT.
IELTS Registration: Frequently Asked Questions
You’ve got your IELTS goal in sight, and now you want to actually take the test. Good for you! But how does IELTS registration work? How do you actually register for IELTS?
Here at Magoosh, we get a lot of questions about proper IELTS registration. And we have answers to your frequently asked questions. Read on…
Where can you take the IELTS?
This is a big registration question. Where can you register for IELTS and take it?
The IELTS, both in its paper-based and computer-delivered form, is available on every continent, and in over 140 countries. Is your country one of the many where you can register for IELTS? Look below to find out. I’ve listed all of the countries that currently have the IELTS, in alphabetical order.
|A||Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan|
|B||Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria|
|C||Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic|
|Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France|
|G, H||Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary|
|I||India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy|
|J, K||Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic|
|L||Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg|
|M||Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar|
|N, O||Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman|
|P, Q||Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar|
|R||Romania, Russia, Rwanda|
|S||Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland|
|T||Tahiti, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey|
|Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe|
Specific Locations of IELTS Test Centers
Of course, this list of countries doesn’t tell the whole story. The amount of test centers in each country varies a good deal. For example, Myanmar has just one IELTS test center, in Rangoon; at the same time, Italy, a nation of comparable size, has over 70 IELTS testing facilities. Moreover, IELTS test centers are more common in some parts of a nation than others. Your city, province, or region may have several IELTS test sites, or just one or two, or none at all.
Most commonly, IELTS testing rooms are hosted in British Council buildings and complexes, or at language academies, or at universities. But IELTS test centers can really be found in a variety of places. To find the specific test location that’s nearest to you, go to the IELTS “Find a Test Center” page.
What identification do I need for my IELTS booking?
If you are outside of your home country, you’ll need a passport to register for IELTS. No exceptions; only that particular international travel ID will do if you want to register for IELTS in a country where you are neither a citizen nor a permanent resident.
Are you in your home country, or in a country where you are a naturalized citizen or permanent resident? In those cases, you can still use your passport to register for IELTS and take it. However, in any country where you’re a citizen or permanent resident, you can also use a nationally accepted ID card. The exact ID you need as a “local” varies from country to country. To see what local ID you can use, check with your chosen test center through a dedicated IELTS website, such as IELTS.org.
And speaking of local test centers and the IELTS website…
How do I register for IELTS? Online, or at my local testing center?
You can actually register for IELTS either way.
You can register for IELTS online through quite a few different websites actually. Three of the four main official IELTS websites have a page that allows you to register for the test. (Cambridge.org doesn’t help with registration and only provides IELTS prep materials.)
Many larger countries or regions where the IELTS is offered also have their own pages just for registering for the exam. Take the IELTS Latin America page for IELTS registration, or the web page for IELTS exam registration in China, to give just two examples.
You can also print our the IELTS registration form, complete it, and mail it to the IELTS testing center of your choice.
How much does the IELTS cost?
IELTS fees vary a good deal around the world. They can even vary within a single country. For example, as I’ve mentioned in my post about the IELTS Exam fee in the USA, American IELTS fees range from $215 to $250 in cost.
Looking at the world as a whole, IELTS fees cost a minimum of around $150 USD. And the most expensive fees in the world are roughly $300 USD. Many other IELTS testing fees fall between those two extremes.
IELTS fees vary depend on what organization is hosting the exam. At times, fees may also vary depending on location. For example, the British Council may charge more in one city than another. And fees can vary between computer-based and paper-based IELTS testing. Most commonly, however, fees only vary by organization, and will not change due to city or delivery method.
One more important tip: The type of IELTS exam does not affect the IELTS fees. At any given test center, you’ll find the same fees for both the IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training exams.
How to Find and Compare IELTS Fees in Your Country
If you are looking to take the IELTS, it’s a good idea to “shop around.” By this, I mean you should try to find the very best price for the exam.
There are a few different ways to do this on the various official IELTS websites. To compare IELTS fees in your country, region, or city, I recommend using IELTS.org; this official site seems to be the most “user friendly” for test-takers worldwide.
Below are the steps for comparing IELTS fees at testing center near you. I’ve included screenshots for the steps. In the screenshots, I’ve used China as an example country. But this process should work for any country where the IELTS is available.
Step 1: Go to the Find a Test Location page on IELTS.org, and select “IELTS” as your test type. (The “IELTS” test type option will be on the left. The “IELTS UKVI” option is on the right. Don’t select that unless you’ve been specifically told to take IELTS UKVI!)
Step 2: A new region will open up in the lower part of the screen, and your browser will automatically scroll you down to that new lower section. Near the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a dropdown menu that’s labelled “Select a country/territory,” just to the left of the “Find a test location” button. Select your country in the dropdown menu, and then click the “Find a test location” button on the right.
Step 3: This will open the page for finding the different IELTS centers in your area. From the dropdown menu labelled “All cities or states,” select the city where you want to take the IELTS. Once you choose your city, a list of test centers will open underneath the dropdown menu. Click the name of the testing center whose fees you want to see.
Step 4: The IELTS.org page for the test center will open. Usually the price will appear right on the main screen of the link. Sometimes, however, you may need to register or follow a few additional instructions to get the center’s IELTS fees.
Are there any age restrictions to registering for the IELTS?
The short answer is “no.” In theory, anyone of any age can take the IELTS. In practice, the IELTS does recommend certain age cutoffs for exam registration. For more info, see my article on the IELTS exam age limit.
What should I do to prepare for test day?
So you’ve found a list of test dates, chosen your date by making an IELTS booking, registered for the exam, and paid your fees. Then, after a period of prep, you’re ready to take the exam itself.
When your big day arrives, what should you do? Here are some tips for success on IELTS test day.
Tip #1: Be well-rested.
This sounds simple, but it just might be the most important tip on this list. A lack of sleep is one of the biggest reasons that otherwise well-prepared students do badly on the IELTS.
So be sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam. But don’t stop there. Try to minimize stress on the entire day before the exam. In fact, ideally, you should do little or no studying the day before the IELTS.
Tip #2: Be well-fed.
This is almost as important as being well-rested. You certainly don’t want your stomach to distract you during the exam. Eat a good, sensible meal before the test: something nutritious, but not “heavy.” (It takes energy for your body to digest really rich food. So a heavy meal can make you sleepy.)
Being well-fed is especially important on the IELTS, as there are no breaks between the test sections. So snacking mid-test simply isn’t an option.
Here is an example of what the test day schedule might look like:
|7:45 a.m.–8:45 a.m.||Show identification and take photos|
|9:00 a.m.||Test begins|
|9:00 a.m.–9:40 a.m.||Listening test|
|9:40 a.m.–10:45 a.m.||Reading test|
|10:50 a.m.–11:50 a.m.||Writing test|
Tip #3: Double-check your IELTS Speaking schedule.
The Speaking test may take place in the afternoon on the same day, or the day after the test day. You can check this online the day before the test.
Tip #4: Do a “practice run” to the test center.
Where is the building that you’ll take the IELTS in? And once you get to that building, what floor is the test center on? Then, once you get the the correct floor, where is the actual testing room?
You should figure out the answers to all of these questions before test day. Take a practice trip to the IELTS test center the week before you have to actually sit the exam.
If you do this, the correct way to get to the test center will be fresh in your mind on test day. You’ll be able to arrive to the exam on time, without lateness or the stress that comes with getting lost. (The stress can be especially damaging. If you’re stressed out and distracted on test day, that can really affect your performance.)
What do I need to bring to the IELTS test?
You need to bring the same identification you used to register for the exam…and that’s about it. Or at least, that’s the only thing you’re absolutely required to bring to the IELTS test. And do make sure it’s the same ID. If you registered with one piece of ID and then show up with a different ID document, you will not be allowed to take the IELTS!
Now, for ease of check-in, it can also be helpful to bring the registration receipt you got when you first registered for the exam. If you registered for the IELTS online, you will have gotten an electronic receipt that you can print out and bring with you.
Beyond that, there’s really nothing you need to bring. Pencils, test books, and scratch paper will all be provided at the test center. And any personal items you do bring will need to be left outside the test center. You’ll be asked to check your wallet, cell phone, and anything else you have on you. You’ll get everything back at the end of the exam of course!
Today, I’ve walked you through all of the “technical” aspects of IELTS prep. You now know how to find IELTS test dates, choose your best test date, register for IELTS, pay for IELTS, and make it to the test center.
But of course, studying for the IELTS is just as important. And Magoosh can help with that too. We have tons of study tips and practice materials right here on the blog, including free IELTS diagnostic tests for Listening, Speaking, Writing, and Reading. And for even more IELTS study help, consider getting the Magoosh IELTS Vocabulary App, or subscribing to Magoosh IELTS for video lessons and practice questions.