How to Choose IELTS Dates
IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System. The IELTS exam is conducted so as to measure the proficiency of non-native English speakers in the language. It is required to be taken by all students applying to foreign universities where the native language is English. The scores attained in the test are also required by government institutions while deciding migration cases.
The exam is conducted at over 800 test centers in more than 130 countries. It is conducted on 48 fixed dates in the Academic module and 24 fixed test dates in the General Training module every year. To find out about the dates on which it is conducted, visit http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/how_do_i_register/test_dates.aspx. The number of times your local test center conducts it depends on the demand for the test in that area, though most centers conduct it at least once a month.
Finding a Test Date
Since the institutions that conduct the exam - the British Council, IDP Australia and University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations - make it available to the students with such frequency, the problem of not finding IELTStest dates suitable for you does not arise. At the same time, it should be known that there is no particular date by which you must register for the test i.e. there are no registration deadlines. Students are still encouraged to register for the test at least 15 days before their chosen test date so as to ensure that they get the same.
Contact your nearest test center to find out the upcoming dates on which you can take the IELTS as not all test centers conduct the test on all 48/24 test dates. To find your nearest test center, you can log on to http://www.ielts.org/test_centre_search/search_results.aspx. Since the two major organizations that actively conduct the exam are British Council and IDP, you can log on to their respective websites to find relevant test dates as well.
Selecting a Test Date
Before selecting an IELTS test date for yourself, you must be sure that you will be well prepared for the test by that time. It is best to choose a date after you feel that your preparation level is at least 60%. Choosing a test date and starting your preparation is never advisable. This is not to say that you should leave too much of a time gap between when you finish preparing and when you give the test. It is always better to take exams while the knowledge is still fresh in your mind. Usually four to six weeks are considered appropriate to prepare for the test. If you do not understand the language at all, you can take a date that is eight to ten weeks away as well. Since test dates are so readily available, it is easy to choose a test date to suit your own convenience.
There are other factors to be kept in mind while choosing a test date too. These factors include the fact that test results are valid for a period of up to two years only. Thus, do not take the test too early on either. You must also keep in mind the time it would take to process your result while choosing the test date so that you receive your results before your admission and other types of deadlines.
Cancelling or Postponing the Test Date
You are provided with the option of cancelling or postponing your
registration as well. If this is done before five weeks are left to the
test date, you are returned the entire amount of fee reduced by
administrative charges. If this is done any time after just five weeks
are left for the exam, the entire fee amount is forfeited unless you
have a medical reason for doing so. The same is the case if you are
absent on the test date i.e. you are refunded the entire amount of the
fee reduced by administrative charges if you have medical reasons about
which you have intimated the test center within five days of the test
For more information about the test and the IELTS test dates, visit www.ielts.org.