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The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is recognized as one of the most reliable pathway to assess the English Language Ability of students and practitioners worldwide. It is the gateway for higher studies and career opportunities in nations where English is the language of communication.

IELTS is institutionalized by three education partners: the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, the British Council and IDP; Education Australia.

Native English speakers

Even if English is your first language, you must prepare for the IELTS test!

Native English speakers sometimes score lower grades than people who have only been studying English for a few years. This can happen if you take the test unprepared.

Preparation is key

Make sure that you prepare for IELTS. If you have not taken an exam for some time, you will be out of practice. The test follows a strict format, so make sure that you know what to expect and practise in advance. You will also need to prepare for the Listening and Speaking tests since these require you to carry out specific tasks.
Take a look at our advice for native English speakers and make sure you are fully prepared.
In some cases an English language proficiency score is required by immigration authorities for certain English-speaking countries.

IELTS is the only test used by all of the following immigration authorities:

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. New Zealand
  4. UK

Find out if you need to submit English language requirements by contacting the immigration authority of your chosen country.

Improve your IELTS score next time

If you want to know how to improve your IELTS score, you must improve your English first! Take a look at your Test Report Form and see which skills you need to work on.
Taking the test again and again will not improve your results unless you work on the weaknesses identified in your test report form. You need to

  • review your preparation activities
  • consider how you performed on the test day
  • consider taking a course to improve your English in an area of weakness
  • once you are ready, book a new test

How did you prepare last time?

Think about how you prepared for your test. Did you do enough?

To improve your score next time, make sure you

  • understand your IELTS score
  • understand the test format
  • try our free online sample tests
  • read our tips on how to succeed
  • practise your English at home, at work, or at university
  • listen to English on radio and television
  • read English newspapers and websites
  • practise using British Council online IELTS resources
  • use IELTS preparation materials
  • subscribe to the Road to IELTS online preparation course

IELTS is a test of English language proficiency, so you need to work on all skill areas to maintain and improve your English.

How did you perform on test day?

Think about what happened on test day:

  • how did you perform on your IELTS test day?
  • did you know where the test location was?
  • did you arrive in time?
  • were you as calm and relaxed as possible?
  • was the format of the test familiar?
  • did you know what to expect?

Consider taking a course

You might want to consider taking an IELTS preparation course. This will help you:

  • practise the type of tasks included in an IELTS test (e.g. writing a short essay or letter for the Writing test)
  • get feedback and learn from your answers to practice questions
  • become more confident in your test-taking skills

Your teacher may be able to advise you about your skill level and whether you are ready to re-take your test.

It takes time to learn a language, and the best way is to take an English course. The feedback you receive from your teacher will help you improve the specific skills involved in speaking, listening, reading and writing English.

Re-take the IELTS test

Book another test when you feel ready. You can take IELTS as many times as you like.

Have a look at Test day advice before you re-take your test.
We hope this information will help you further understand how to improve your IELTS score.

Questions about your IELTS results

If you have questions about your IELTS results, contact your test centre

If you did not receive the score you expected, you can apply for your test to be remarked. This is called an Enquiry on Results.

If you would like to make an Enquiry on Results, you need to apply at the centre where you booked your test no later than six weeks after the test date. You can choose which parts of the test you want to have re-marked.

You will have to pay for an Enquiry on Results. This fee will be refunded if your score is increased for any part of the test. Enquiries on Results take 6 – 8 weeks to complete.

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