What Happens If I Don’t Pass My IELTS Examination?

30 Jun 2017
What Happens If I Don’t Pass My IELTS Examination?

Unlike other important tests you take to complete coursework throughout your education, including tests at university, where you only get one opportunity to pass the test, the same is not true withIELTS examinations. However, you shouldn’t go into the test unprepared because there is a charge to retake the exam so you will want to attempt to do your best.

Initially, when you get your results, it is not uncommon to feel disappointment, anger, or frustration because you did not pass. This is perfectly normal and you should allow yourself a few days to process this before even thinking about retesting. Then you will want to determine what went wrong and where by doing the following:

1. Review your test scores in each exam area. Since there are multiple areas of the IELTS, you will want to review the scores to see where you struggled the most. Did you pass one or two areas and fail the others? Then this tells you that you need further training and practice in those other areas. On the other hand, if you were short and failed all areas of the test, you definitely have some work to do to ensure you pass when you retake the exam.

2. How far was your score off from passing? This is an important question to consider because if you were only a few points away from passing, then you need to think about what areas of the test presented issues for you when you were taking the test. You should spend time reviewing and practicing those particular test areas to improve your score.

3. Expand the amount of time you spend learning English. Sometimes, the reason for getting a low score is because you have not exposed yourself enough to English, whether it is speaking, reading, or writing. Learning English takes time so you cannot expect to do well if you do not spend enough time developing your skills in each test area.

4. Practice speaking and listening skills with someone that is not a close personal friend. Our close friends do mean well, but they are not always the best to provide objective feedback when it comes to developing your speaking and listening skills. Rather, you might want to seek out a tutor, educator, or co-worker you do not know that well, but who would be willing to practice English with you and provide honest feedback.

5. Utilize test-prep study guides and materials. There are several study aids, tools and materials you can use to practice your English skills to help you prepare for your re-examination.

Keep in mind that you do have to pay to retake the IELTS exam, and there can be fees for certain study preparation materials and the use of tutors. However, by reviewing your previous exam scores and determining what went wrong, you can be better prepared the next time you take the exam, and strive to earn a passing score!

Here at IDP Canada, we offer a variety of materials, many of them for free, to help you prepare to retake your IELTS exam. Please feel free to explore our website to find the materials you need, as well as locate your nearest IELTS Test Centre for further support.


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Instructions before the IELTS written and speaking test were very clear and the people were nice and helpful. I found the written test pretty good. It was not too difficult, nor too simple. The results came quickly and I was accepted in the program and I am currently in the middle of my first year exams.
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