Test Dates for IELTS
How do IELTS Test Dates Influence Your Performance
The IELTS exam is a world renowned test to check an individual's proficiency in English. The results of this test are considered at the time of admission into a university, for migration applications and while awarding fellowships to professionals during their training period. To take the exam, a candidate will first have to register himself for the exam. The best part about this exam is that the candidate can choose his own test dates according to his convenience and level of preparation.
The exam is conducted from over 800 locations in 135 countries. Therefore, it is quite easy to find test dates which are suitable to you. The exam is held at least once a month in all test centres with some centres having up to 48 dates in one year. To find a date which is appropriate for you, just log on to the official website of IELTS and search for the available test dates in the test centre nearest to you. The link to the website is - http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information/how_do_i_register/test_dates.aspx.
The British Council and IDP Education are the two institutions that conduct the IELTS exam. If you choose The British Council to conduct your exam, you can follow the following link to determine the dates available in the test centre closest to you - http://www.britishcouncil.org/learning-ielts-in-your-country.htm. For checking available test dates, visit this link - http://www.idp.com/%C4%B1elts/taking-the-%C4%B1elts-test.aspx.
It is advised that candidates register for the test at least 15 days in advance. This is so that you get the date which you have applied for. Choose a date after gauging your level of preparation. Do not make the mistake of starting preparation after registering for the exam. Your exam date should not act as a mental block in your preparation. Since you have the option of choosing an exam date, exercise this option wisely. The later you apply for a date, the greater is the chance that you will not get your desired date. A number of factors should be kept in mind while selecting your test date. These factors are explained below.
Level of Preparation
This is the single most important factor while choosing your test dates. Analyse your preparation and then see which date is suitable for you. Consult an expert and take a mock test to see where you stand. Students who have a good command over the language do not need too much preparation time. They are generally advised to apply for a date which is not less than a week or two away. This is so that they get at least a week to familiarise themselves with the pattern of the test and get acquainted with the types of questions that will be asked. Doing so will maximise their chances of getting a good score.
Experts feel that four to six weeks are sufficient to prepare for the exam. Students who do not feel at ease with the language should apply for a test date which is around six to eight weeks away. This gives them ample time to practice and bring their skills to a level which is necessary to obtain good scores. In the weeks leading up to the exam, you should concentrate on achieving competence in the area of the test you find yourself lagging behind in. At the same time, it is advised that one does not choose dates which are too far away. Take the exam whilst the knowledge you have obtained in your training is fresh in your mind. Do not leave too much of a time gap between the completion of your training and the actual test dates.
Validity of Exam Scores
The IELTS exam scores have a validity of two years. Do keep that in mind while registering for a test date. Do not book a date that is too far before your actual application for admission.
Do look at your own convenience while choosing a test date. Choose a date on which you have no other obligations and your calendar remains free and open.
An appropriate exam date will maximise your chances of getting a good score while an inappropriate exam date will deter you from achieving your goal. Do not be in a hurry to take the test. Critically analyse the amount of time you think you need to prepare and go forth to take the test with full preparation.