What to carry for the IELTS exam?

As IELTS it is a globally standardized exam conducted by Cambridge university, there are several rules and regulations that a candidate must strictly adhere to while appearing for the examination. Let’s check what all things to carry for the IELTS exam

According to the most recent regulations, the only thing you are required to bring is the same identification proof that you uploaded when booking the exam. This can be your passport or a national identity card in some countries. You can bring pens, pencils and erasers, but for the IELTS computer test, paper and pencils are provided for you.

What to carry for the IELTS exam

Let us go over the items you are permitted to bring and the prohibited items and practices while taking the examination in detail.

What documents should I bring with me on the exam day?

All international students who attend the examination MUST possess a valid passport. Your passport is also the primary form of identification you should use during registration. A candidate will be unable to register for the exam if they do not have a valid passport, according to IDP guidelines.

On the day of the test, a candidate must bring the ORIGINAL copy of their valid passport. Students under 18 who wish to take the exam must present a ‘consent form for minors before taking the exam. You will not be permitted to enter the exam hall unless you have a valid passport. The same form of identification should also be used for the IELTS speaking test.

Some students print out the IDP/ British Council confirmation email with the test time and location details. This is not required, and if the administrators request it, it is acceptable to show it on your mobile phone.

What things am I permitted to carry to the IELTS exam hall?

For the LRW test ( listening, reading and writing) you can take your own pencils, pens, erasers and sharpeners. Though the test center will provide you with stationary, it is always best to bring your own stationary that you are familiar with.

For the computer-based IELTS also, the test center will provide you with pencils, pens and erasers. However, it’s not of much use as for the computer-based exam, you enter all of your answers into the system.

If necessary, you may bring your own water bottle to the exam hall. You must double-check that the water bottle is transparent and that any labelling has been removed; otherwise, the invigilators will not allow you to bring it into the exam hall.

Is a pen or pencil better for the IELTS exam?

It is mandatory to use a pencil for the listening and reading sections of the IELTS exam. As both these sections are answered in an OMR sheet, it is safer to use a pencil. You should also have an eraser on hand if you make a mistake and need to correct it.

A candidate can choose whether to write with a pen or a pencil for the writing part. You should use a pencil because you can easily erase and rewrite any errors. If writing with a pencil slows you down or makes you uncomfortable, switch to a pen.

Let me give you a few tips to keep in mind when you use a pen or a pencil.


  1. Your answers may appear sloppy if you need to correct errors, so try to make fewer mistakes while writing.
  2. Don’t just strike through a word that needs to be deleted once; always confirm that you strike through it twice or three times so that the examiner is not confused.
  3. Try not to use an old pen and also make sure you don’t run out of ink. ( it is best to carry two pens)


  1. Make sure to sharpen your pencil properly and not overdo it, as if it breaks off easily during your listening test, it can make you miss answers.
  2. Choose a dark enough pencil because a light shade will make it difficult for the examiner to read.
  3. Make sure to thoroughly erase any unnecessary words so that the correct word you write in the same place is clearly visible.

What should I bring to my speaking test?

The IELTS speaking test can take place on the same day as your LRW test or upto 7 days before or after your LRW test date. Your speaking test dates will be informed to you via email at least 3 days prior to your test date. 

For the speaking test, you should carry the same identity proof that you took for the LRW test. You do not need to bring a photograph because the administrators will take your live photograph at the exam site. They will also direct you to a location where you can store your personal belongings such as bags and cell phones.

Is there any dress code for the IELTS exam?

The IELTS examination has no official dress code that must be followed. However, it is best to wear clothes that you are completely comfortable in. 

It is not necessary for you to wear formals for the speaking test as well. As the examination requires your total focus and attention, any clothing or accessories that can act as a distraction should be best avoided.

What items are not allowed for the IELTS test?

It is extremely important to take note of the items you are prohibited from carrying and things you are not supposed to do in the exam hall. Let’s have a look at them:

  1. Mobile phones and other electronic devices are strictly prohibited in the exam hall.
  2. Wearing a watch ( digital and analogue) is not permitted. In the exam room, a digital clock will be on a screen to help you keep track of time.
  3. Food and drinks of any kind (except water) are strictly prohibited in the hall.
  4. The candidate should not bring any books or papers into the venue.
  5. Hats, cooling glasses, and scarves are not permitted in the hall, so please remove them before entering.
  6. Your family is not permitted to accompany you inside the exam hall. They can wait in the venue until you finish your exam.
  7. Mechanical pencils are not permitted. Only regular pencils are permitted.
  8. A candidate is not strictly prohibited to speak to anyone in the exam hall except the invigilators if they require assistance.
  9. When the invigilator announces the end of the test, the candidate should stop writing. Failure to do so will result in the candidate’s disqualification.
  10. Any candidate found to be involved in any malpractices at the venue or the hall would have their results withheld and details sent to any receiving institutions or professional bodies.
  11. You are not permitted to take any part of the question paper home with you.

If you bring any of the above items, they should be left in the exam venue’s secure area or locker. Mobile phones, pagers, and smart watches must be turned off before being placed with personal belongings.


The IELTS exam is quite expensive, and passing it with the required IELTS score needs significant time and effort. so it’s best to follow all the rules and regulations down to the bits to ensure that all the efforts you put in pay off.

Shruthi Raveendran

I am Shruthi Raveendran, a TEFL-certified IELTS/PTE and ESL tutor who has 8+ years of experience working in the education industry. I am a passionate writer, logophile and film enthusiast

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