Facts about the IELTS writing test PBT (Paper Based Test) version
Here’s a collection of some of the most common questions we are asked about the IELTS writing test. If your have a question that isn’t answered here, post it in the comments section at the bottom of the page and we’ll add it to the page with an answer.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This page refers to the PBT (Paper Based Test). If you are taking the CBT (Computer Based Test), then these questions do not apply.
Q: Do I write in pen or pencil during the test?
Most exam centres now only allow candidates to write with a pencil.
Q: Can I bring my own writing equipment?
No – you will not be allowed into the test room with your own pen, pencil or eraser.
Q: What should I do if I make a mistake?
Just put a single line through the word or words you want to remove and then continue writing. Don’t waste time with trying to erase anything.
Q: What does the IELTS writing answer sheet look like?
Click a thumbnail below to see a larger image of the writing test answer pages (note that these pages are white, but recent changes in the test mean that you could also have yellow, blue or green pages).
Q: What if I need more paper?
No problem – simply raise your hand until the invigilator approaches, then request more paper. There is no limit to the amount of paper you request, but ALL pages will be collected at the end of the test, even if they were only used for making notes (see below).
Q: Can I get any paper for writing notes / preparing a plan?
Yes, but all the paper you are given is collected and given to the examiner when they are marking your work. We recommend writing your plan or making any notes on the question paper, not the answer sheet. Although the question paper is also collected at the end of the test, it is not submitted to the examiner.
Q: So what counts as a ‘word’ in the writing test?
That’s a common question, so we’ve created a page especially for that here.
Q: My handwriting is not very good. Will I lose points?
Your writing would have to illegible (can’t be read) before you lose points, but if you are concerned then get in the habit of writing in print (single letters) instead of cursive (joined letters).
Q: Can I write all of my test in CAPITAL LETTERS?
Surprisingly, yes! We recommend it as it avoids you needing to worry about capitalisation of particular words. For confirmation of this, take a look at the official IELTS website here: http://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/prepare-your-test/test-day-advice/writing-test-advice
We hope you found these facts about the IELTS writing test useful!