The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has altered many aspects of our day-to-day lives. In many cases, this includes IELTS study plans and test dates. If you were planning on taking the IELTS within the next couple of months, you may be concerned about what’s going to happen to your exam date and study plans.
Although we don’t have all the answers, we’ve collected the information currently available to provide you with the most up-to-date advice regarding the IELTS and COVID-19.
For up-to-date information on how COVID-19 is affecting standardized testing more broadly, check out our company blog post.
- How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting the IELTS?
- My IELTS exam was postponed–now what?
- What should I do if I’ve gotten off track with my study plan?
- What should I do if I need to cut back on my IELTS studying?
- What should I do if I have more time for IELTS studying?
- Where can I find free (or more affordable) IELTS resources?
- What can I do if I’m having a hard time studying for the IELTS because I’m feeling stressed or distracted?
- What options do I have to adjust my study plans if I am a Magoosh IELTS student?
How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting the IELTS?
The British Council is working with local authorities to determine which test centers will stay open, which will close for the time being, and which will re-open. In impacted areas, paper-based and computer-delivered IELTS exam dates may be temporarily postponed, as Covid-19 infection numbers rise and fall in various parts of the world. Thus, some IELTS students who are expecting to take their exam may find themselves looking at a later test date. Check with your local testing center to determine the status of your IELTS exam date.
In addition, IELTS Partners announced the release of 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. For more information on what it is, how can you sign up, and what is required to take it, read our blog post here.
In other testing locations, the IELTS exam will continue as expected, although with increased safety precautions. As the pandemic continues to unfold, the IELTS continues to revise and refine its safety protocols. To check all current Covid-19 safety regulations for the IELTS, go to the British Council IELTS Covid updates web page. Safety procedures can vary from region to region, so be sure to also check with your local test center or with the IELTS office or website for your country or region.
In addition, to accommodate an increased need for safe homepbased study, the the makers of the exam are offering a greater range of official online IELTS prep. You can find a list of online offerings in this post’s section on free/affordable IELTS prep.
My IELTS exam was postponed–now what?
First, be sure to check with your local testing center (in addition to the Official IELTS webpage) to confirm your suspended test date.
Next, review whether the British Council’s changes to future exam dates affect your testing center. These changes include: larger test venues, increased computer-delivered IELTS test sessions, and double the amount of paper-based test-taker capacity once testing restarts.
Finally, you may want to check to see if your university accepts the IELTS Indicator, the IELTS’s online alternative to taking the exam in a test center. Not all universities accept the Indicator, but many do. See the official list of institutions that accept the IELTS Indicator, and check out our article on the basics of the IELTS Indicator.
What should I do if I’ve gotten off track with my study plan?
First, know that you’re not alone. We’ve heard from many students who are feeling overwhelmed and anxious in the current environment. In general, falling off track is a common study problem–and it’s almost inevitable right now! So before you dive back into your studies, practice self-empathy by recognizing it’s understandable you’ve put your study plans on pause.
For help planning your studies moving forward, take a look at our IELTS Study Plans. Choose the one that works with your current schedule, then check out this video to learn how to make the most of your plan. Be sure to edit it to fit your schedule, and allow more mental breaks than you normally would.
Regardless, don’t feel pressured to get catch up if you feel behind. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can and that everyone’s lives have been disrupted in one way or another.
What should I do if I need to cut back on my IELTS studying?
Again, you are not alone. Due to changing circumstances and accommodations, many students are editing down their prior IELTS study plans.
Our suggestion is to fit in daily, small practices. 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.
What should I do if I have more time for IELTS studying?
Given that many schools and workplaces have closed, this could very well be your current situation.
As mentioned before, check out our IELTS study plans and choose one that works best with your new, adjusted schedule. Then, edit your schedule following the guidelines in the “IELTS study plans” post to fit your available time slots; this could mean spending more time reviewing your answers or doing multiple days of your study plan in one day.
With more time to study, you have the opportunity to take more full-length IELTS practice tests. Practice tests are the best way to experience real test-like conditions and track your progress. 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.
Where can I find free (or more affordable) IELTS resources?
There are many great, free IELTS resources available on the web. Here are some of our favorites:
Free Resources from Magoosh
- Free IELTS eBook
- Official IELTS Practice Test
- IELTS Podcasts from Magoosh
- Tips for IELTS General Training Writing Task 1
- Complete Guide to IELTS Academic Writing Task 1
- Complete Guide to Writing Task 2
- Complete Guide to IELTS Reading
- Complete Guide to IELTS Listening
- Complete Guide to IELTS Speaking
- Free IELTS Practice Test from Magoosh
- Academic IELTS vs. General Training IELTS
- Magoosh IELTS Flashcards
Free Official IELTS Resources
- British Council IELTS webinars, happening regularly during the pandemic.
- Official IELTS Masterclass Webinars
- Free Official IELTS Practice Tests from the British Council
- Additional free materials from the official IELTS websites
Priced IELTS Prep (official prep and Magoosh Prep)
- The IELTS Progress Check, a scored, web-based official practice test.
- Kaplan’s Online IELTS Courses, which include official IELTS practice tests.
- The Cambridge Official Guide to the IELTS
- Magoosh IELTS, with various pricing plans, and a free trial that doesn’t require you to enter payment information!
What can I do if I’m having a hard time studying for the IELTS because I’m feeling stressed or distracted?
First of all, take care of yourself and your well-being.
It’s ok if you are feeling anxious, distressed, disappointed, distracted, or lost right now. Be kind to yourself about this, and take some time off of studying if you need to.
There are lots of great resources out there to help you cope with the current situation. We particularly like the Ten Percent Happier Coronavirus Sanity Guide. The CDC has specific resources for mental health during the outbreak as well. And Talkspace has some good resources, including a free support group. If you are a current student, your school also likely has a resource guide on its website.
We also like this simple breathing technique to help calm your sympathetic nervous system. Try it for 5 minutes any time of day, but it could be particularly helpful when you sit down to study or work. It would be especially helpful right before your IELTS exam! Here’s the exercise:
Breathe in for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 4. Release for a count of 8. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
This simple tip goes a long way.
How you can stay focused in stressful times.
If you’re like many of us right now, you may be having trouble staying focused on your tasks when you sit down to study. Your ability to concentrate and retain knowledge falters under stress. Acknowledge this is a reality and approach your work differently. Instead of setting a goal of, say, studying for a 3-4 hour stretch and covering a ton of material, set smaller goals:
For example, tell yourself, “right now, I am just going to do one Task 1 essay,” or “right now, I am just going to quiz myself on vocabulary.”
Focus on making your goals manageable and achievable until you are feeling more settled. You will still make progress on your studies and you will build confidence that you can still do great on the test.
What options do I have to adjust my study plans if I am a Magoosh IELTS student?
If you’re a Magoosh IELTS Premium student or thinking about signing up, you should know that we are pausing and extending student accounts for free as needed.
We also want you to know that 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.