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Coronavirus and the IELTS Test

Here I will provide you with information about IELTS and the Coronavirus (or COVID-19) as it is affecting many test takers. 

Most places are back to normal now. However, there are occasional issues in some countries or cities and problems could occur in the future, perhaps over winters, so the information below could still be relevant if you are affected.

New Online IELTS Test

IELTS now have a new online test for those unable to take their exam due to the coronavirus.

It should be noted though that this is only for IELTS academic, so for those wanting to enter education, not for immigration. 

It is only a temporary solution given the current situation, and as IELTS say:

"While it is not intended to replace IELTS, education institutions will be able to use IELTS Indicator results to help assess students’ applications during this period of suspended in-person testing".

For the speaking test, candidates will have to do this online with an examiner.  For more information about the announcement, check here:

Note though that since coronavirus, IELTS is starting to have tests online more generally so you might be able to take the test at home. Learn more about taking the IELTS test online.

Other Test Disruptions

Suspended IELTS Tests

During the pandemic, some IELTS testing was suspended and who was and was not holding the test changed on a daily basis depending on circumstances and the spread of coronavirus and was constantly under review.

Now the pandemic has ended, there does not currently appear to be any suspended tests, but if there is any doubt, if for instance there are closures over coming winters, it's best to hone up and check with your local test centre if you are not sure and you have not been notified or you just want to know if the test is still running.

You can search for your local centre here if you wish to contact them:

If your test is suspended then the IELTS partners would work to try and reschedule as soon as they could but this obviously depends on the circumstances.

Coronavirus and Delayed IELTS Test Results

During the pandemic, some test centres ended up having to close soon after testing had taken place, meaning that staff might not then have been able to arrange for full marking of test papers. 

Some IELTS test results were then delayed due to coronavirus and shut-downs of some cities. Again this was of course changing daily and was quite unpredictable. 

Things are back to normal now but this same situation could occur with any future outbreaks. So again, if it does, you should check with your test centre if this may have occurred.

Health and Safety Precautions on Test Day

The information below is now not applicable as the pandemic is over, but should it occur again, these procedures would likely be the same:

  • For those places where tests are continuing, the IELTS partners are taking extra precautions to protect against the corona-virus in order to protect candidates and staff on test day.
  • Test takers are being asked not to attend an IELTS test if they have been in contact with anybody suspected to have the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) or suspected to have been exposed to it. 
  • Also they should not attend if they have a fever or cough, and are showing signs of a shortness of breath. 
  • In some places you may be required to wear a mask and the examiner may wear a mask. You should bring your own mask if this is something you want to do, though you may be required to remove it for some security checks or photos. 
  • You would be 2 meters away from the examiner (and other staff) and you would not be using stationary, such as pencils, used by other people. Candidates are also requested to wash their hands well before the test and throughout the day.
  • There may be additional requirements to increase protection from coronavirus for IELTS depending on the particular region where you are taking the test, but you can contact your centre to discuss it.

Refunds and Cancellations

They also allowed people to move the test date till later or cancel for a refund in certain cases, so again check this with your centre if this situation becomes relevant again in the future.

Strategies Moving Forward

These are the steps that the IELTS partners took to keep tests going and to ensure people could take tests as soon as possible:

  • Increasing test session availability in places impacted by suspensions once testing restarts. The first in line for this will be China.
  • Supporting candidates with free preparation materials in order to prepare for the test.
  • Increasing the frequency of Computer-delivered IELTS test sessions in affected areas.
  • Using larger test venues to cope with the increased volumes of paper-based test takers likely to arise.
  • Employing speaking examiners from different parts of the world in order to cope with increased demand arising later to ensure test takers can complete the speaking module at the earliest possible date.

More IELTS Faqs & Information:

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