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FAQs

Where is the Macquarie University North Ryde IELTS Test Centre? Can I pay in person there?

Yes, you can pay in person and have your fingerprint and photo taken before the test day if you want to. Our office is at 3 Innovation Rd. (the EMC2 Building), Macquarie University in North Ryde. We are close to the MQ shopping centre. Innovation Rd. is a small road off Herring Road.

I booked my test at Sydney University DARLINGTON Campus. Where is the Sydney University IELTS Test Office? Can I pay in person there?

Yes, you can pay in person and have your fingerprint and photo taken before the test day if you want to. This office is at the Centre for English Language Teaching, Level 5 of the Wentworth Building of Sydney University, on the corner of Butlin Avenue and Maze Crescent, Darlington. Enter via the glass doors, turn right to the lift and go to Level 5. The office is right in front of the lift.

I booked my test at Sydney University LIDCOMBE Campus. Where is the Lidcombe campus? Can I pay in person there?

For LIDCOMBE Campus, if you want to pay in person and have your fingerprint and photo taken before the test day, you can go to the Darlington office or the North Ryde offices (see previous questions). The LIDCOMBE Campus does not have an IELTS Office on weekdays. LIDCOMBE Campus tests are held at Building T, 75 East St. Lidcombe. Parking is free on Saturdays.

How can I get to MQ North Ryde Test Centre by train?

Macquarie University has a train station. Come out of the ticket barrier, turn left, go up the escalator to street level, come out and turn left along Herring Rd. Walk about 2 minutes and you will see Innovation Rd. Turn left. Number 3 is called "the EMC2 Building". IELTS Reception is on the ground floor.

Where can I park my car near the MQ North Ryde IELTS Test Centre building?

The easiest and cheapest way is to park at the Macquarie Shopping Centre on Herring Rd. It is very close. You will get 3 hours of free parking. Come out of the shopping centre onto Herring Rd., cross at the pedestrian lights, and turn right. Walk for about 30 seconds and you will see Innovation Rd. Turn left. Number 3 is called "the EMC2 Building". IELTS Reception is on the ground floor. If you park on the main campus you will have to pay fees.

Why does the Test Centre take my photo and a fingerprint scan? What happens to this information?

All Test Centres must take your photo and scan your fingerprint (right hand, first finger). Your digital photo is linked to your fingerprint. On test day it will be used to check your ID. The fingerprint data is stored safely as a Binary Large Object, not as a picture. It is useless to anyone else. It can be used if there is an investigation of your result and your ID. Taking this information protects the test results from cheats, and means results can be trusted.

What if I live far away, or in another state, or I cannot come to the Test Centre Offices before test day?
Can the Test Centre take my photo and a fingerprint scan on Test day instead?

Please call the Test Centre Office (9850 6337 for MQ North Ryde; 9036 6537 for Uni Sydney Darlington and Lidcombe). For MQ and Darlington, you can arrange to have your photo and fingerscan taken on test day. Then you do not have to visit the Test Centre before test day. You must call the Test Centre to arrange this. For LIDCOMBE, all photos and fingerscans are done on Test Day.

I do not live far away but I work every day.
Can I miss pre-test registration and do it on test day instead?

It is better to come before the test, but yes, you can complete registration (photo and fingerprint) on test day. See the previous questions. Just note that if we have many candidates,you may have to wait in line on test day for your fingerprint, so try to come before 8:15 am.

What happens on test day? Why do I have to come to register at 8:00 am?

When you have registered and paid for your test place, you get a Confirmation Letter by email or in person. This tells you important information about test day: where to go for Registration at 8:00 am; what to bring and what NOT to bring; how to get your results, and so on. Please read it carefully and bring it on test day.We need you to arrive at TEST DAY Registration in the test building, close to 8:00 am, because we have many candidates, and have to check all identities before the test can start.

Sometimes we take only fingerscans in the morning and then photos in the afternoon, before Speaking.

On test day, we strongly advise you to leave your mobile phone and other devices at home! Bring your PASSPORT, HB pencil, sharpener and eraser, and water in a clear bottle. Since May 2016, PENS are not allowed at IELTS tests, only HB pencils. Go to the Registration Room, and join the queue for Academic or General Training. Show your passport to the Registration desk staff. Get a sticky label with your CANDIDATE NUMBER, Bag Room location, and Test Room location. Keep this label safely with you. Then go to your Bag Room. Leave everything except your passport, writing things, and water. You may take your wallet or purse, but the staff can open it to check it.

After the Bag Room, go to your Test Room, queue up, and show your passport again. You will have to press your finger on the scanner, and, if your photo was taken before, the laptop will show your photo. If there is any doubt about your ID, the staff will call the Test Day Supervisor. If your ID check is successful, you enter the Test Room and staff will show you your seat.

When all are seated, the staff make a final collection of mobile phones, other devices, and papers, in a bag with your CANDIDATE NUMBER. Then they begin reading instructions and warnings. Listen carefully. You will do Writing (60 mins), Reading (60 mins) and Listening (about 40 mins).

You can go to the toilet ONLY when allowed, and ONLY with a staff member. Your ID will be checked by fingerprint again when you re-enter the Test Room. You CANNOT go during Listening, or when papers are being handed out or collected, or during the last 10 minutes of Reading. You get no extra time for toilet breaks.

When Listening is finished, you will get a letter giving you your CANDIDATE NUMBER and the time and place of your Speaking test. The Speaking test could be any time from 1:00 to about 5:30 or even a little later. Do not book work or other activity that afternoon. You cannot change the time of the Speaking except for an emergency. After Speaking you can go home. KEEP YOUR SPEAKING APPOINTMENT LETTER WITH YOUR CANDIDATE NUMBER. You must keep this number because you need it to check your result online, and to identify yourself on the telephone to us. For privacy reasons, we are not allowed to give you your CANDIDATE NUMBER on the phone, or by email.

How long is the test? Can I do it all in one day? Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking?

Registration for the test starts at 8:00 am. The test itself starts at about 9:00 am. The 60-min Writing test is first (in Australia), then a 60-min Reading test, then a Listening test of about 30 mins, with 10 mins to transfer your answers to an Answer Sheet. With time for giving instructions and collecting papers, the test usually finishes at about 12:15 pm. The Speaking test is a one-to-one interview, of 11-14 minutes, for each candidate. These interviews start at 1:00 pm and go through until about 5:30 or even 6:00 pm. YOU MUST GIVE UP THE WHOLE DAY TO THIS TEST. DO NOT BOOK WORK OR OTHER ACTIVITIES IN THE AFTERNOON. When your Speaking test is finished you can go home.

When do I find out what time my Speaking test will be? Do I have to stay all Saturday afternoon?

At about 12:15 pm on test day, at the end of Listening, you will get a letter with your appointment time for Speaking. Your time could be any time from 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm or even 5:45 pm. Please do not ask to change this time. We only allow this for very special reasons. Those people who are coming from another state or from far away are usually given the first Speaking test times, between 1:00 and 2:00 pm on Saturday.

You can go anywhere close by (e.g. Macquarie Shopping Centre), but must come back to the Speaking venue about 20 minutes before your appointment.

How can I do my Speaking test on another day?

We sometimes offer the chance to book your Speaking test on a weekday just before, or just after the test day Saturday. We send an email to all candidates, with a link to a website called APPOINTY.COM. You can create a login, give some ID details, and select a morning or afternoon time, on the Thursday or Friday before, or Monday or Tuesday after the test day. You will get a confirmation email on successful booking. If you do not want this option, just do nothing – do not reply to the email and do not visit the Appointy website. Then your Speaking will be on Saturday.

What does the Speaking test consist of?

You will go to the test location on your Speaking Appointment letter, some 20 minutes before the appointment (check your letter for this). The staff will check your passport and fingerscan/photo. When ready, the Examiner will take you to the test room. They will greet you, check your ID again, make a short introduction recording, and begin the interview. Part ONE: They will ask sets of questions on familiar topics, for 4 – 5 mins. Part TWO: they will give you a simple topic. You have one minute to think, and make notes if you wish, on a small whiteboard. You must then speak for one to two minutes about this topic. Part THREE: the Examiner will ask you sets of questions, and lead a discussion, about general points related to the Part Two topic.

The whole interview is recorded, for quality control, and in case you request a re-mark (Enquiry on Result).

Try to speak normally, neither too fast nor too slow. The Examiner will manage the time, and if your answer is getting rather long, may signal that you should stop, so they can move on to another question. They are not being rude, but need to ask a variety of questions. They will not answer your points or add comments, and will actually say very little. They may smile and nod a lot. Again, they are not being rude, but are trained to give YOU the chance to speak.

What is the difference between the General Training (GT) and the Academic (AC) versions of the test?

You must check which version you need to take. The GT and AC versions take exactly the same total time. The Listening and Speaking parts of these tests are exactly the same. The main differences are in Reading and Writing.

The GT Reading test has more general content, and usually has 5 or more passages. GT Reading Sections One and Two usually have 2 or more short passages, from text-types such as brochures, leaflets, instructions, or handbooks. Section Two is always related to work and training situations. Section Three is longer and is a more complex information-based text.

Academic Reading has three Sections, and just three long texts. They are all complex and information or opinion-based. They may be in the style of academic articles or book extracts.

Both GT and AC Reading use similar question types to check your understanding. For more information, see the ielts.org and ieltsessentials.com websites. You must remember to write your answers in HB pencil only, on the Answer Sheet. You get no extra time to transfer answers from the Question Booklet to the Answer Sheet, so you must start writing answers at least 10 minutes before the end of the Reading test.

The General Training Writing test has two tasks. Task 1 is a letter of at least 150 words, and could be a letter to a friend, an employer, an organisation, or similar. GT Task 2 is a 250-word essay in which you have to discuss a topic, and provide ideas, arguments, examples, solutions, and so on.

The Academic Writing Task 1 is an analysis of at least 150 words, based on visual information. You may see a graph, a chart, a diagram, a map, or a flowchart. You have to describe the significant points, such as trends and patterns in the data, or describe processes or changes over time. Writing Task 2 Academic is similar to Task 2 General Training. It is a minimum 250-word structured essay. You have to respond to a topic, and you may have to describe, explain, give ideas, reasons and arguments and opinions, or propose solutions to problems.

Is spelling important in answering the Listening and Reading test?

Remember you must always write answers on the Answer Sheet in HB pencil. Yes, your answers must have correct spelling in the Listening and Reading. Even if one letter is wrong, the answer is marked as wrong. If you write in capital letters it does not matter, so you can write everything in capitals on your Answer Sheet if you want. It may be a good idea to do this, because you will lose marks if your writing is not clear.

Which version (Academic or General Training) should I take? Can the Test Centre advise me on this?

The Test Centre is not allowed to advise you – it is up to you to be sure about which one you must take. Ask your Receiving Organisation (employer, university etc.) or your immigration agent. The Academic version is usually taken by people aiming to get into academic courses or to get registration with a professional body (e.g. Nursing, Accounting, Engineering). The General Training version is usually taken by applicants for immigration.

I have booked an Academic test but I need to do General Training (or the opposite).
Can I change the test type?

You may be able to change the test type if we have enough papers of the other type. There is a $20 charge for this. If you have booked the wrong type, and ask us on test day if you can change, it may not be possible. Check with the Test Day Supervisor at Registration.

Can I do the test online?

No, this is a paper and pencil test.

Is the test the same in other Test Centres?

Yes, every Test Centre in your region provides the same test, in a given time-zone. The test content changes for each date, so if you take the test more than once you will never get the same questions.

Does the Test Centre provide headsets for Listening, for all candidates?

No, we do not. We test large numbers of candidates, so headphones would not be practical. However, we have modern sound equipment in every room and the quality of the listening test sound will be excellent. Only candidates with a proven hearing disability based on an audiologist's report can get headphones.

If I have to repeat the test, can I do only one part (e.g. just Reading, or just Writing, etc.)

No, you must do all four parts if you have to repeat the test. This is the same at all Test Centres.

What if I have special needs (a disability or learning difficulty)?

On the online test booking form, there is a question about special needs. If you have a disability or learning difficulty, and have a specialist's report to prove this, you may be able to get special conditions. For more information, click here.

How much does the test cost?

The test fee is currently $AUD 330.00

What kind of ID is acceptable to prove my identity?

Only your valid passport is acceptable in Australia. Other forms of ID such as driver licences, or a national ID card from your country, are not accepted. You must enter a valid passport number in the online test booking form, must upload a scan or picture of your passport, and must present this passport when you come to complete registration.

Do I need to bring passport photos?

No, we will take your photo when you come to complete registration.

How can I apply for and pay for a test place?

This test centre uses an online test booking form . You can complete it at home, and pay with a credit card. Also, you can come to our office and use our computers to book and pay with a debit card or money order. We do not accept cash.

You must agree to some conditions when you book and pay by computer. You can download some important information documents about the IELTS Test. You have to tick a box to say that you understand this information.

Do I have to come to the Test Centre before the test to show my ID?

No, but if you want to come, it will save you time on test day. Remember, it is North Ryde for MQ Campus, and Sydney Uni Darlington for Darlington and Lidcombe venues. If you don't come before test day, we have to take both your fingerscan and photo on test day.

How will the Test Centre prove my identity?

See the question Why does the Test Centre take my photo and a fingerprint scan? What happens to this information? Your valid passport, your digital photo, and your fingerprint scan are the methods used to prove your ID.

Can I change the date of my test? Is there a charge for this?

You may be able to change the date but you have to pay a fee for this, currently $65.00. With less than 5 weeks before the test date, you may not be able to change the date without special reasons.

So, if you book and pay for a test inside 5 weeks before the test date, you should realise that you may not be able to change it. You agree to these conditions when you buy a test place.

Can I cancel my test place after I have paid for it?

If you book and pay for your test more than 5 weeks before the test date, you can cancel it. Your test fee will be refunded, less an administrative fee of $82.00.

With less than 5 weeks before the test date, you will not get any refund if you cancel.

Can I transfer my test fee and my application to another Test Centre?

No, all Test Centres are separate organisations, so you cannot transfer your fee and application to another Centre.

When will I get my result?

Results are released 13 days after the test date. From 2 pm on results release day, you will be able to see your result on our IELTS Test Centre results website

You will need your CANDIDATE NUMBER to see your result on this page.

You can also check your results, 13 days after the test, after 5 pm, on the official IELTS web page, To view your results online you will need to input the following information:

  • Given/Other Name(s)
  • Family Name
  • Passport/ID Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Test Date

Scores are recorded on an official Test Report Form, showing overall ability as well as performance in Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. All scores are given on a 9 band scale from "non-user" to "expert user" (a person with a fully operational command of the language).

Different institutions have their own entrance requirements and may require minimum scores in particular modules. In general, universities request an overall band score of 6.0 or 6.5 in the Academic Module for entrance to academic courses. You are advised to check the score required with the particular institution to which you are applying.

Can I pick up my certificate in person?

Yes, you can come to the IELTS Office at 3 Innovation Rd. Macquarie University, after 2 pm on the 13th day after the test. For Sydney Uni Darlington results, go to the Wentworth Building where you took your test.BUT, PLEASE NOTE, to do this, on test day, you have to tick a box on your Speaking Appointment Letter, tear off the slip on the bottom of the letter, and give it to the staff. If you do not do this, your result will be posted to you on the 13th day after the test, and you cannot pick it up in person.

What can I do if I get sick before the test, or on test day?

You must visit a registered doctor on or before test day, and get a medical certificate which covers the date of the test. Do not wait until after the test day. You must bring the original certificate to us, and get your doctor to fill in a form. Download the form from this page (http://www.ielts.mq.edu.au/help.html) and read the information there. If your medical certificate is accepted by the Test Centre, you can postpone your test.

How can I get information about the content of the test and the test questions?

The official IELTS website, ielts.org, or IELTS Essentials are very useful websites with a lot of information. You will be able to download samples of the test materials. Also, the MQ Test Centre has a personal tutoring service. Click here for more information. Also the Test Centre has face-to-face and online IELTS preparation courses, which many candidates have found useful.

What is my CANDIDATE NUMBER? When do I get it? Why should I keep it?
Can you give it to me over the telephone?

You will get a unique 6-digit number each time you take the test (for example 006701). At registration (8:00 to 8:45) you will get your ID label, with your CANDIDATE NUMBER on it. It will be on your Desk Label, and your Speaking Appointment Letter. You must keep this number because you need it to check your result online, and to identify yourself on the telephone to us. For privacy reasons, we are not allowed to give you your CANDIDATE NUMBER on the phone, or by email.

Can I get my result online without my CANDIDATE NUMBER?

You cannot get your result for any of our venues on the MQ Results web page without your CANDIDATE NUMBER. It is on your Speaking Appointment letter and you must not lose this. However, you can get your result from the official IELTS results web page, after 5 pm on the 13th day, without your CANDIDATE NUMBER.

What if I lose my results certificate (Test Report Form)? Can I get another copy?

If you lose your results certificate, you cannot get another one, so keep it very safe!

My results have not arrived in the post. What should I do?

If your result does not arrive in the post within two weeks, you may be able to get another one. You will have to contact the Test Centre (9850 6337), complete a Statutory Declaration, and get it signed by a Justice of the Peace (a legal officer who can witness documents). Click here for information about JPs in Sydney.

If I did not get the result I need, can I get feedback on my test performance?
Can I see my test papers to check my mistakes?

It is not possible to get personal feedback on your actual test performance or see your papers. No English proficiency testing system does this. When you apply for a test place, you have to agree to some conditions. One condition is that the test papers you produce, and your Speaking Test recording, are the property of the Test Partners, and will not be released to you or discussed with you.

If you think about it, giving personal feedback would need a whole new system, with staff qualified to do it, appointments for each candidate who asked for it, new fees, and so on. So far, this has not been done.

However, MQ IELTS Test Centre DOES offer personal tutoring, using a sample of your writing or speaking from a practice test. This feedback can give you a very good idea what your mistakes are, and suggest how you can improve. For more information, click here.

What if I am not happy with my result? Can I ask for a re-mark (Enquiry on Result – EOR)?

Yes, you can. There is a fee of $176. You have to fill in a form, and give us your original result certificate (Test Report Form) for that test. We have to send your test papers to Melbourne for re-marking. You may have to wait for 6-8 weeks for the result. You will be told either that your result has not changed, OR you may get a new result. This decision is final. If you get a higher score, you will get a refund of your fee.


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