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Should you buy an IELTS certificate without the exam?

You might commonly see the opportunity to buy an IELTS certificate without taking the IELTS exam. But is this a good idea?

Let's take a look.

buy an IELTS certificate without the examBuy an IELTS certificate without exam?

Why do people try to buy them?

Difficulty with the test

The first reason to buy an IELTS certificate without the exam is of course that someone may think it is impossible to achieve the score they need in order enter university or to live abroad.

Perhaps this is because their English skills are not good enough and it would take too long to get the score required. 

Cost of the test

Or someone may simply not wish to take it for other reasons such as the cost of the test (if buying an IELTS certificate is cheaper  - it may not be and is often more). 

Lack of test centres

In some cases there may not be a test centre nearby, making it difficult to take the test.


It could come down to laziness - the temptation to buy an IELTS certificate without the exam could be hard to resist if it's placed in front of you and it seems that you can get away with it.


There may also be a genuine misunderstanding - a prospective candidate for IELTS might get conned into believing that a fake IELTS certificate is acceptable.  Or they may believe they are paying on an official IELTS site when actually it is not.

Is buying an IELTS certificate a scam?

The basic answer to this is yes!

The only officially accepted IELTS certificates are those issued by official IELTS centres after taking the test.

If you are offered one outside of this they will be fraudsters. You may get charged anything from $500 or more for your fake certificate, and you may not even receive one at all.

Once they have your money, you may well not hear from them again and trying to get your money back will be impossible. 

What could happen to me if I buy one?

Loss of money

The most likely scenario of buying an IELTS certificate without the exam is simply that you will lose your money.

They are fraudsters looking to trick you into parting with your money and they find sophisticated ways to do that. Some have very legitimate looking websites or claim they have special contacts at the British Council or IDP that can help them.

You may have to pay a deposit first, then later the full amount. But either way you will not receive a certificate or receive a fake one. 

All certificates are numbered and registered with IELTS so it's easy for them to find out if yours is genuine or not.



It is actually an illegal activity to buy an IELTS certificate without the exam.

So if you later want to get back your lost money through the courts, in theory you could face a penalty for committing the crime of buying the illegal certificate. That's unlikely but it is possible. 

Visa revoked

If you were in a country and it was discovered your IELTS certificate was fake then you would likely have your visa revoked (cancelled) so you would have to leave the country, 


If it's discovered you have been using illegal means to get into a country (or to already be there) you could then get blacklisted by immigration, meaning that you would not be able to get into that country again.

So don't buy IELTS certificates without the exam!

So hopefully you've realised you should avoid buying an IELTS certificate without the exam.

It's very unlikely to get you to where you want to be (studying at university or working abroad) and the most likely result is that you will lose your money.

It can be tough to do the work needed to get the score you need, especially if the score is much higher than your current level. But studying hard and taking the genuine test is the only safe way.

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