Preparing for the test

Start Preparing with IELTS Ready


IELTS Ready is a tailored platform designed to equip you with the best possible tools so you feel fully prepared on your test day. Explore an extensive range of free study resources, practice tests and masterclasses designed to cater to your needs. 

What’s included with IELTS Ready:

  • free access to mock tests in all four IELTS sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking 
  • practice exercises for all question types 
  • tips and videos to help you improve your score 
  • free IELTS preparation webinars 
  • advice from real test takers. 

You can sign up now for free here.

IELTS Ready Premium

Get IELTS Ready Premium for free when you book your test with the British Council. IELTS Ready Premium includes all the materials on IELTS Ready, plus: 

  • a personalised study plan 
  • 40 full practice tests (25 Academic and 15 General exams available for all four sections of the test)
  • live and recorded lessons 
  • practice questions tailored to your abilities 
  • comprehensive guidance and model answers to hone your performance in the Listening, Reading and Writing sections.

Further information on IELTS Ready can be found here.

Additional IELTS Preparation materials can be found here.

IELTS Official Practice Materials

IELTS Official Practice Materials are now available for purchase from our centre. These can be ordered via the University's online store with free 1st Class Recorded Delivery.

Free IELTS practice materials are also available from the Take IELTS website or you may wish to to purchase resources from the Cambridge English website.

Alternatively, you can buy an IELTS preparation book from most bookshops or borrow one from a library. However, as there are other testing systems available, you should ensure that the book is specific to the IELTS test.

Advice on Preparing for IELTS

The week before your test

  • Your confirmation email (sent a week before your test) includes the start time and location of your IELTS test. Check this the week before to ensure you know how to get there on time.
  • Remember, the address of your IELTS test location may be different to that of the test centre where you booked your test - check the confirmation email for more information!
  • Take the time to read full details of the ‘IELTS test terms and conditions’ for important information about your IELTS test day.
  • Ensure you are still in posession of the ID document you provided with your online application. If you are unable to bring this document with you on the test day for any reason, please contact the centre as a matter of urgency.

Your IELTS test day

  • Make sure you bring your ID/passport as you cannot take the test without it.
  • You need to arrive in good time for your IELTS test. If you are late, you will not be able to take the test.
  • Switch off your mobile phone and any other electronic devices and leave them in the waiting room, along with your watch. You will be disqualified if you are found to have any of the above items in the exam room.
  • Make sure you have something to eat and drink beforehand. No food is allowed in the test room - only water in a transparent bottle.
  • There are limited facilities on campus over the weekend so test takers are advised to bring their own lunch.

Please note that there are no breaks during the listening, reading and writing sections. However, you can use the toilet during the allocated time by letting the invigilators know.

You cannot go to the toilet:

  • while instructions are being given
  • during the last 10 minutes of each section
  • while the papers are being distributed, collected or counted after each section
  • while the Listening CD is playing, including the 10-minute pause at the end

IELTS test day schedule

IELTS on Paper (subject to change)
Arrival and registration 07:50-08:00
Test begins 09:00
Listening 09:00
Reading 10:00
Writing 11:00

Between 12.50 and 17.30 (each speaking test lasts approximately 15 minutes and your slot will be confirmed on the day)


IELTS on Computer (subject to change)
Arrival and registration 09:00
Test begins 09:30


09:30 - 12:30


Between 12.30 and 16.30 (each speaking test lasts approximately 15 minutes and your slot will be confirmed on the day)


IELTS test format

Structure of the IELTS test

Health and Safety Precautions to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Thank you in advance for working with us as we follow the advice of local health authorities. 

Please do not attend your test if:

  • You have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week; or
  • You have a cold, fever, are short of breath or have flu-like symptoms

If any of the above applies to you, please email the test centre and we will reschedule your test or provide you with a refund, upon review of supporting medical evidence.

On the test day

  • Please follow basic hygiene practices such as using the hand sanitiser provided and regularly washing your hands.
  • You can bring with you and wear a face mask that covers your mouth and nose. You will be requested to remove this briefly for identification or other purposes. Staff and examiners may also wear a face mask on the test day.  

You will be allowed to take the following with you in the test room: 

  • The ID documents you used to register
  • Up to two pens and/or pencils and an eraser
  • A clear bottle of water with the label removed
  • A clear bottle of hand sanitiser with the label removed
  • Two masks and/or hand gloves

You will be asked to leave all other personal belongings (including your phone) in your own vehicle or where that is not an option, a designated location within the building. Please ensure you do not leave any items in the test room and all personal belongings are collected before you leave the venue.

During the test

  • You will only be allowed to have your ID on your desk and pre-approved stationery. You are not allowed to take your watch with you. Clock(s) will be visible to all test takers in the room and several verbal time checks will also be provided by the invigilators. 
  • If you need to go to the bathroom during the test, put your hand up to attract the attention of an invigilator. Do not disturb other test takers.
  • If you have any questions during the test, raise your hand to ask for help.
  • Please remember that you will have 10 minutes after the listening section to fill in your answer sheet. You will not have 10 minutes after the reading section, so please make sure that you write your answers on your reading answer sheet as you complete each section.

Test day tips

Understand the task

Follow instructions carefully during the test. Remember that the Writing sections of the test have minimum word length requirements.

Allow enough time for each question

Some questions have suggested time limits for you to follow. Every test room will have a clock visible. Stay aware of the time during the test so that you can complete all the questions.

Stay calm enough to do your best

If you feel worried, take deep breaths to calm down. Focus on the questions and do not rush your answers. This will help you to do your best.


The University of Nottingham IELTS Centre

B Floor, Exchange Building
Jubilee Campus, Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1AW, UK

t: +44 (0) 115 951 4419