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IELTS and COVID-19: global update, info and advice

Nearly everyone in the world is affected by Novel Coronavirus in some way, and we know that many IELTS test takers have questions related to this situation. At the time of writing this IELTS exams are being held normally in most countries, with minimal changes if any.

There are some precautions that IELTS test centres are taking, in particular they are asking people not to attend their test if they have been in contact with anyone suspected to be exposed to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus), or if they have cough, fever or shortness of breath. People who can’t attend their test because of COVID-19 concerns are asked to call their IELTS test centre to discuss their options of rescheduling for a later date or refunds.

As the majority of IELTS exams are going ahead, if you feel like protecting yourself by wearing a face mask to your exam, you can! The IELTS test centre staff may ask you to remove it for a short time while you are being identified / photographed, but other than that you’re allowed to wear a face mask the entire time of your exam.

In the countries where IELTS testing was temporarily put on hold for the next 2 weeks, the good news is that as soon as the testing is restarted, there will be more dates available and larger venues will be used, to accommodate more test takers. For example, in China the paper-based IELTS capacity will be doubled, and computer-delivered IELTS will be offered 3 times a day, 7 days a week.

All in all, the overall message from IELTS organisation seems to be – if your IELTS plans are affected by the Coronavirus, speak to your test centre and they will do their best to help you.

Is now the time to stop preparing for IELTS? Definitely NOT.

4 Reasons to ramp up your IELTS preparation in the face of Coronavirus:

1. If IELTS testing in your country is running normally, you should take your test while you can. We cannot control decisions made on government level, so let’s make the most of this period of normalcy.

2. If your workplace asked you to work from home, it means you save time commuting! Using that extra half an hour a day to write an essay, do a Listening or a Reading test or practice in answering Speaking questions will give you some noticeable progress. If the event you wanted to go to was cancelled, again – here’s some more time to work on your IELTS skills.

3. Even if testing is temporarily on hold in your country, that time is NOT lost if you use it to prepare for IELTS. Plus it gives you something to do and takes your mind off other things, helping you occupy yourself during the period you have to stay indoors. IELTS preparation is a very immersive activity that makes time fly!

4. Putting your IELTS preparation on hold because of Coronavirus uncertainty is a mistake, because when you stop, you don’t just stop – you actually go backwards as time passes, your level drops and it becomes harder to get it back. Scientists all over the world are working to get COVID-19 under control soon, and when that happens, you want to be READY, not behind!

Take good care of yourself and your family, and think positive thoughts.

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