Online registration in India: a word of caution

A while ago I wrote about how impressed I was with what the British Council in India is doing for IELTS candidates.

Well, it turns out that sometimes things don’t work the way they are supposed to. A student from Chandigarh, India sent me an angry email describing his bad experience trying to register for the exam at British Council via the online registration process.

Here is what happened: he registered and received an SMS to his mobile phone with a confirmation, the same came in an email. However, no further details followed, and when after a week he called the help line in New Delhi, they told him that all of the details are in a letter that hasn’t been posted yet. Oh yes, and that he needed to call again and remind them to send it 🙂

After a couple of days he called again and then they gave him his candidate number and the time and location of his exam. As for the promised free reading material, he never received it. When he called the BC and complained, they suggested that he should buy something and pay out of pocket. He (rightfully) insisted on getting the promised free materials and then found out that it’s out of stock and their offer is only good while the stock lasts. The consultant did promise to send him a copy from the new stock when it arrives in 3 working days – but till this day he didn’t receive it.

The way I see it, this set of problems was time-related. Having booked the closest date, in 10 days from the registration day, our Indian friend needed a timely response and and couldn’t afford losing time, waiting for the letter and for the materials. If he had a month, these delays would still be irritating but wouldn’t have affected his preparation as much.

To sum up, if you’re in a hurry to book your IELTS exam in India – keep this scenario in mind.

IELTS exam in Brunei – May 2009 (Academic Module)

This report is about a recent IELTS exam in Brunei – thanks to A for letting us know. Pay attention to the cue card in Speaking – apparently some questions can come as a complete surprise!

Listening test

Section 1: reservation through telephone regarding moving home.
Section 2: a talk about Fire training
Section 3: a discussion about a Horse Shoe crab

The 1st and 2nd were okay for me, but the 3rd was very confusing. The way the presenter spoke was very fast and it sounded like “bla..bla.. bla” to me.

Writing test

Writing task 1 (report)
We had a bar chart of population of six countries in percentages for 2000 and prediction of 2050.

Writing task 2 (essay)
Reading books can develop our imagination better than watching TV, do you agree or disagree?

Speaking test

Cue card

I did the speaking fluently but was a bit shocked at the 2nd stage, where I was asked to talk about

Honestly, in my whole life I never thought about any famous person I’d like to meet. This question made me waste my time just to think of who the person would be. I panicked and lost a chance to write down some points to talk about. I still managed to say something but not as good as I could if the question was a different one.


The follow-up questions were:
– Would you like to be famous?
– What is the most important thing the famous person you mentioned before should do, to make them a good role model?
– What is the difference between actors/actresses nowadays and in the past in you country?
– How and why your parents liked them back then, compared to the actors nowadays?
– When was your last holiday and what did you do?



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