Can l use a pencil in the IELTS test?

by Evi

Pen or Pencil in IELTS

Pen or Pencil in IELTS

Please can l use a pencil to write during the test? I am thinking it will be better to simply use an eraser to wipe out a wrongly spelled word rather than cancel it with a pen when one uses a pen. What do you think?

This question also applies to the listening and reading sections too.

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Apr 17, 2018
Using a pen or pencil in IELTS
by: IELTS buddy

In the the listening and reading IELTS Tests you have to use a pencil anyway, and yes you want an eraser too so you can rub out any answers you decide to change.

In the IELTS Writing test you can use a pen or pencil.

There is nothing wrong with using a pen and crossing out words / sentences, though it can look messy if you do it too much.

Here are some tips for using a pen or a pencil in the IELTS writing test:

Using a Pencil

  • Make sure it's a good pencil

  • Make sure your pencil is sharp so you can write clearly

  • have a spare in case it does break

  • If you do erase a word, make sure it's completely gone so there is no confusion

Using a Pen

  • It's ok to cross things out, but make sure it's very clear it is crossed out - put a few lines through it

  • Avoid crossing too much out as it will look messy. There is no penalty in IELTS for crossing out but you don't want to risk anything that may give a bad impression

  • Make sure it's a new good pen so there is no risk of the ink running out

If you do think you may need to do quite a few corrections, then a pencil for IELTS is probably better.

Either way, whether using a pen or pencil in IELTS, make sure you write as clearly as you can.

There is not a penalty for poor handwriting, but the fact is that if the examiner simply cannot read some of what you have written, how can they be sure of what standard it is?

If they have to guess they are unlikely to give you benefit of the doubt and assume it's all high level.

So practice and make sure your handwriting it clear. If you are unsure, get a friend read a sample of your writing and they can tell you if there are any problems.

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