Sometimes, IELTS can be difficult and cause some candidates not to score the desired marks. One good thing about IELTS is that you can retake the paper. But then, how many times can IELTS be taken?
IELTS can be taken as often as you like, with no limitations. The issue is that you need to pay for your registration fees again, and must wait until the next IELTS session is open to doing so. You also cannot choose what paper to take, you must take all papers (listening, speaking, reading, writing.)
This article discusses how often you can take IELTS and how soon you can retake IELTS after your previous test. We also discuss the issues you must deal with when retaking your exam.
You will also find out if there are other alternatives to IELTS and if you can combine scores from multiple IELTS seatings to get your best score.
How Many Times Can I Take IELTS?
In general, there is no limit on how many times you can take the IELTS. You can take IELTS as many times as you want, as you see fit. However, you must also pay the fees every time you sit for it. You also need to wait until the next available seating and take all papers (listening, speaking, reading, writing.)
One good thing about IELTS is that if you are not getting the scores you desire, you can always retake the test when the next seating opens. IELTS are opened up to 48 times a year, which means seatings are almost a weekly affair. It should be easy for you to arrange resits when necessary. The validity of the IELTS exam is 2 years.
Resetting for your IELTS does come with some things you need to note, which are the fees, and the papers.
- Fees: When you resit for your IELTS test, you must pay the fees in full as usual or as set by the institution that helps to arrange your test. There is no such thing as resiting discounts or partial payment of test fees. Some candidates did not know this and thought IELTS could be resit without repayment.
- Papers: Sometimes, some candidates only want to resit some of their IELTS papers. For example, they are only dissatisfied with their writing and speaking papers. They do not see the need to repeat their reading and listening papers.
However, this is not possible with IELTS. When you resit for your IELTS, you cannot choose the papers you want to sit for. You have to sit for all the papers. This is unlike other proficiency tests, such as the Occupational English Test (OET), which allows you to resit only part of the papers.
What Happens If I Fail the IELTS?
There is no such thing as failing IELTS. This is because IELTS only provides a score to indicate your English proficiency and does not assign a fail, pass or distinction grade. However, you may consider yourself failing your IELTS if you cannot reach the desired scores.
What happens if you fail IELTS? Well, nothing. This is because you cannot fail IELTS.
If you take a look at the scoring system in IELTS, it only assigns a score for your English proficiency, from a scale of 0.0 to 9.0. You score 9.0 for a perfect score. There are no such things as grades, nor do you see any description of fail, pass or distinction.
IELTS is not designed as a summative assessment that tells you your ‘final’ result. IELTS consider English proficiency as a ‘work in progress, which means you can always do better or worse than your current score.
The closest thing imaginable to ‘failing your IELTS” is if you fail to achieve the score you desire. Your desired score could be what you have set for yourself or the minimum score needed for your university, visa or permit applications.
For example, suppose you intend to apply for nursing jobs in Australia. That will require a score of 7.0 for your IELTS, and should your results indicate only 6.0, you can consider yourself as ‘failed’. You may want to start planning to resit your IELTS to improve your score.
How Soon Can I Retake IELTS?
You can retake IELTS as soon as the next session opens. IELTS are offered up to 48 times a year, which means the next date may be as quick as a week or two away. However, consider studying and working on your weaknesses before resitting to improve your chances of getting a higher score.
When discovering their test scores are not as good as they hoped, many candidates want to resit the test to improve their results immediately. Some candidates also think that it’s just a matter of luck – the topics they got for their test are not something they are good at, so they did not score well.
When it comes to resitting, the good thing about IELTS is that sessions are frequent. There are up to 48 sessions a year, almost once a week. That means if you did not achieve the score you wanted and wanted a resit, you could always get one arranged quickly, maybe just a few days away!
However, before rushing to retake your IELTS, consider taking a pause and spending some time studying, practising, and improving your English before resitting. This is because if you rush into resitting, you will likely commit the same mistakes and may end up with the same score again.
Can I Combine My IELTS Scores From Multiple Seatings?
In certain situations, you may be allowed to combine your test results from multiple IELTS seatings to produce your best result. However, there may be caveats, and not all organizations allow this. You may want to check with the organization you are applying to if they allow this.
When it comes to clubbing your IELTS test results, there does not seem to be a clear-cut rule on how you can do this.
Some organizations do not seem to have issues with clubbing scores. Some allow clubbing, provided the IELTS tests are no more than six months apart.
However, with IELTS, they do not allow you to club your scores. This means they will not issue a certificate showing the best scores from your previous IELTS sitting.
If you plan to use your IELTS score to apply for anything, you may want to check with the body you are applying with to see if they allow clubbing of scores. Chances are they would not, but ask just to confirm.
You should also not bank in such a way to get your IELTS score. You should instead study well and perform to the best of your abilities in IELTS to earn a fair score and use it to prove your English proficiency, fair and square.
Are There Other English Tests I can Take Other Than IELTS?
IELTS may be the most popular English proficiency test, but there are other tests that you can take. These tests include TOEFL, PTE, Duolingo English Proficiency Test, or OET. These tests may be less recognized than IELTS but may be easier for some candidates.
Aside from IELTS, you may also consider other English proficiency tests such as:
- Test of English Language Proficiency (TOEFL)
- Pearson Test of English (PTE)
- Duolingo English Proficiency Test
- Occupational English Test (OET)
These tests may not be as recognizable or flexible as IELTS, but they can sometimes be easier to take. For example, suppose you are a medical professional. In that case, you may find OET easier to take, as the test is designed for medical professionals.
OET also allows you to resit only part of the papers, meaning you can only resit your speaking paper instead of all, like in IELTS. You can also club your scores up for your OET, which may make it easier to score well compared to IELTS.