Your Test Day

For paper-based tests.

IELTS assesses 4 skills: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.  Each is worth 25% of your final mark. 

Try to answer all questions. If you get an answer wrong, it is not subtracted from your score.

Find sample test questions here.



Length of Section


Listen to 4 recordings and answer 40 questions about them.  Note that each recording is only played once.

You will hear a variety of native accents, including Canadian, American, English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Australian, South African, and New Zealander.

30 minutes (test duration)

+ 10 mins (to transfer your answers to the answer sheet only)

Any answer NOT on the answer sheet will not be marked. Please make sure you transfer every answer.


Read some texts of mixed length and answer 40 questions in total.

60 minutes


Answer 2 short essay-writing tasks.  Complete both.  There is no choice of questions.

60 minutes


You will have a face-to-face interview with a certified IELTS examiner. 

The examiner will ask you general questions about yourself and everyday, conversational topics.

20 minutes

View and practice sample questions here.

Please check the table below or visit our Help Centre for more information.

Note: If the schedule here is different from your confirmation email, always use the information we have provided by email. 



Important to Remember

8:00am – 8:15am


  • Present your passport or PR card when you arrive.

Arrive by 8:15am to allow enough time to complete check in and registration.

8:15am to 8:45am

Check In & Registration

  • We will take your finger scan and photo.  Learn about how we handle your data here. 
  • Remove jewellery and watches, switch off your phone, and store your belongings outside of the test room. Leave valuables at home.  
  • Take a seat in the waiting area and wait for further instructions. Now is a good time to use the washroom, as there are no specified bathroom breaks during the test.

If you arrive less than 15 minutes before the test, you will be considered absent from the test and will not receive a refund or transfer. 

8:45am to 9:00am

Pre-test Checks and Instructions

  • We will provide important instructions and rules for your test.
  • We will assign you a seat.  You must sit in the correct one.
  • We will check everything is ready to begin your test. 

Please keep your ID with you during the test.

9:00am to 9:40am

IELTS Listening Test

Duration: 30 mins (+10*)

*Paper-based test takers get an extra 10 minutes to transfer their answers to the answer sheet.

ILAC paper-based tests use speakers. If you want headphones, please register for a computer test.  

09:50am to 10:50am

IELTS Reading Test

Duration: 60 mins

Write all answers directly onto your answer sheet.  There is no additional time to transfer your answers.

11:00am to 12:00pm

IELTS Writing Test

Duration: 60 mins

Complete both tasks given.  There is not a choice of questions.

12:00pm to late afternoon on the same day (Vancouver. Surrey and Burnaby venues)


From Friday to Sunday* (All other venue locations)


IELTS Speaking Test

Duration: 20 mins

You will have a face-to-face interview with an IELTS examiner. 

If you take a test in Vancouver, Surrey or Burnaby, we will provide the time slot on the test day.

If you take a test in any other location, you will receive an email 2 days before your test confirming the time and date.

*If you take a test in any location outside of the Lower Mainland (including Prince George, Prince Rupert, Dawson Creek or Fort St John) your Speaking Test will be scheduled between Friday to Sunday on the weekend of your test. We will send an email notifying you of the time and date 2 days before your test.

For test-takers in Vancouver, Surrey or Burnaby:

Your Speaking Test will take place on the same day as your Listening, Reading and Writing, in the afternoon between 12:30pm and 6:00pm. It is included in your test fee. We will provide the time slot to you on test day.

For test-takers in ALL other locations:

We will schedule your Speaking Test for you and send an email 2 days before your test confirming the time and date.

We will try our best to accommodate all test-takers on the same day as your Listening, Reading and Writing. If you are travelling from out-of-town, you will get priority for a same-day time slot.

However, sometimes it will be impossible to hold all Speaking Tests on the same day, due to large test numbers and limited examiners. If this happens, some local test-takers may be asked to return on a different day to complete their Speaking Test. Find out more.

Therefore, your Speaking Test will be held during one of these sessions:

  • Friday evening (4:00 PM to 8:00 PM)
  • Saturday afternoon (12:30 PM to 7:00 PM)
  • or Sunday (8:00 AM to 4:00 PM)
  1. Your approved ID document (passport or Canadian PR card). It must be a valid, original, physical document. Photocopies or non-approved ID documents will not be accepted on test day. Find out more about accepted ID documents here. Without your pre-approved ID on test day, you cannot take the test and will not be offered a transfer or refund.
  2. If you are 17 years old or younger on the day of your test, you will need to bring a Consent Form for Minors, signed by both you and your parent/guardian. Click here for more information.
  3. Water in a clear colourless bottle (recommended). Remove all labels and writing from the bottle.

Can I bring anything else into the test room? Please contact us in advance if you have an item or device that must stay with you. Certain personal items may be allowed if they do not cause disturbance/noise or are medically required, but we recommend communicating with us before your test to check.

Do I need to bring any equipment? No, everything will be provided, including pencils with erasers. However, if you want to bring your own non-mechanical pencils, you are welcome to.

Where can I put my things during the test? Please leave valuables at home. We have a secure room at each venue where you can leave your bags and coats. However, we do not have lockers. We do not accept any responsibility for any lost personal items.

  • If you are late or absent without reason: If you arrive less than 15 minutes before the test, you will be considered absent from the test and will not receive a refund or transfer. 
  • If you miss your test due to an emergency: In some situations, you can apply for Special Consideration due to an emergency. If your application is approved, we will transfer your booking to the next suitable test date. You will be asked to provide evidence that you missed your test due to a serious situation within 2 days after your test. A change to your personal or work circumstances is not accepted as an emergency.
  • If you go to the wrong campus: Check your confirmation and reminder emails for the exact address of your test. If you go to a different campus, you will not receive a refund or transfer. 

Check your reminder email carefully for your test start time and venue address. Arrive before 8:15am.  Leave enough time, and plan your journey in advance. 

Need more help?

Are You Ready?

Speak to the ILAC IELTS team to help you plan your test.