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The basics
Study abroad : Applying to University

How to book an IELTS test?

Follow this step-by-step guide to register and book your IELTS tests.

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As English is a predominant language used widely within higher education, you could be asked to provide proof of your English language proficiency in order to be accepted for a place at university. A commonly accepted form of evidence is the results of an IELTS test. So, to help you get started we’re going to run through exactly what you need to register and how you can go about booking your test.


Step one

Locate your nearest IELTS test centre

With more than 1,600 IELTS test locations across 140 countries, you stand a good chance of finding a test centre that’s close to you.


Step two

Choose an IELTS test

There are two types of IELTS tests: IELTS academic and IELTS general training. For undergraduate and postgraduate applications, you should book the IELTS academic test.


Step three

Register for the IELTS test

When registering for the IELTS test, you will first need to select a location. Then, you can register and book.


Depending on the test centre, you will have the option of choosing either IELTS paper or IELTS computer when registering. The only difference between these two tests is the type of experience you would prefer.

So, if you’d rather take the test in person at a test centre, you should opt for the IELTS paper exam but if you are happy to complete the test online, select the IELTS computer option. Note that the speaking section of the test must take place in person with an IELTS examiner for both tests.


No matter which version of the test you choose, they share the same structure, question types, and difficulty level.


You can choose to register and pay online through the British Council or alternatively, you can download an application form which can be sent to your local test centre.


Step four

Choose a test date

Check the available test dates and select the one that suits you best. Your speaking test will usually take place on a different day.


Step five

Create an account

When booking an IELTS test, you will be prompted to create an account with the British council to complete your registration.


Step six

Book and pay


Once you’ve selected the dates and times of your tests, you can secure your booking with a payment. The cost of booking the IELTS test varies according to each location and can range from GBP 170 to GBP 195.


Final step

Get ready for your test

Once you’ve booked your test, we advise creating a revision plan to make sure you are ready for each of the IELTS sections: reading, listening, writing, speaking. Leave yourself plenty of time to practice before sitting the exam to achieve the best score possible.


Once you have registered and booked your tests, you will receive written confirmation from your IELTS test centre.


What documents do you need to book an IELTS test?


To book your test, you need to upload a photocopy or a photo of your identification (ID) such as a passport or national identity card. You will need to bring this ID with you on the day of your test so make sure it is a valid form of identification that meets the requirements of the test centre.


You will also need a bank card to proceed with the payment if you decide to pay online.


IELTS test results


If you sat the paper-based IELTS test, you can expect to receive your results within 13 days. For the computer-based test, results are usually processed within 3-5 days. Test centres will either post your Test Report Form or will let you know when it is ready to be collected.


If you asked for institutions to receive copies of your results, these will automatically be sent by the test centre.


IELTS test scores can be a little confusing so make sure you check out our other guide on understanding IELTS test scores for a comprehensive breakdown of the marking scale.


Now that you know how to register and book your IELTS tests, make sure you know which universities you want to apply to by using our course matcher tool. This will help you find a course and university tailored to your qualifications and preferences.

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