two candidates reading a book

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the world’s most popular English language test. More than three million IELTS tests were taken last year.

Taking IELTS opens doors – it can help you live, study and work around the world. More than 10,000 organisations worldwide accept IELTS, including government, academic and employment institutions. In fact, IELTS is the only English language test accepted for immigration purposes by all countries that require one.

What’s IELTS used for and what are the IELTS test variants?

IELTS is used to measure the Language Proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as the communication language. IELTS comprises of two modules called as Academic and General Training.

In addition to this, there are two other IELTS exam variants known as UKVI IELTS and IELTS Life Skills.

What’s UKVI IELTS and IELTS Life Skills?

IELTS for UKVI (United Kingdom Visa and Immigration) is a UK Government approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). SELT IELTS is used to prove your English Language Abilities in support of a UK Visa and Immigration Application. Similar to regular IELTS, SELT IELTS also has two modules known as Academic and General Training.  For more information visit www.britishcouncil.lk/exam/ielts-uk-visa-immigration or takeielts.britishcouncil.org/ielts-ukvi 

IELTS Life Skills is also a UKVI approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). However this is offered only for secondary visa category. There are two SELT Life Skills levels which are Life Skills A1 and Life Skills B1. For more information visit www.britishcouncil.lk/exam/ielts-uk-visa-immigration or takeielts.britishcouncil.org/ielts-ukvi

What’s the difference between IELTS, UKVI IELTS and IELTS Life Skills?

UKVI IELTS and Life Skills are used to apply for Visa to the UK only. For all other countries, regular IELTS would be sufficient. However to find out what IELTS you have to take when applying to the UK, please contact UK Visas and Immigration (Visa Office) and/or www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration

When and where can I take UKVI IELTS and/or Life Skills?

They are available every month and the registration details can be found online at www.britishcouncil.lk/exam/ielts-uk-visa-immigration. However, UKVI IELTS and Life Skills are offered in Colombo only.

Should I take the normal IELTS or UKVI IELTS or IELTS Life Skills?

Candidates have to check with the receiving organisations and/or UK Visa Office.

What skills are tested at the exam and are they tested on the same day?

These vary according to the category of IELTS Exam and are given below.

  • Regular IELTS – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking
  • UKVI IELTS - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking
  • IELTS Life Skills A1 and B1 – Listening and Speaking

For regular and UKVI IELTS Listening, Reading and Writing are held on one day and Speaking will be held on a different date(which will be informed after registration). For Life Skills, full test will be held on the selected test date.

Is there an age limit for taking IELTS?

There is no age limit but IELTS is generally recommended for candidates at the age of 16 or more.

How can I register for normal IELTS test and when can I take it?

Visit www.britishcouncil.lk/exam/ielts/registration and follow the instructions provided to register for the test. IELTS is available 2-3 times a month depending on the module (AC or GT). To check the test date availability visit www.britishcouncil.lk/exam/ielts/dates-fees-locations. 

Should I take Academic (AC) or General Training (GT) Module?

In general, IELTS AC is used to support studies and academic related purposes while IELTS GT for skill migration and employment. However, it is important to check the entry requirements of the individual organisations before choosing your test.

Where can I take IELTS in Sri Lanka?

IELTS is available at 8 different locations throughout the country which are: 

  • Colombo 
  • Kandy 
  • Jaffna
  • Negombo
  • Kurunegala
  • Matara
  • Galle

What are the test fees?

  • IELTS AC or GT – Rs. 24,100/-
  • UKVI IELTS AC – Rs. 42,900/-
  • UKVI IELTS GT – Rs. 42,900/-
  • IELTS Life Skills A1 – Rs. 32,150/-
  • IELTS Life Skills B1 – Rs. 32,150/-

How can I pay?

Pay online

Please click the 'Pay Online' option where you can use your Credit/Debit Card at the time of registration to make the payment. We accept Visa or Master Cards only.

Pay later (offline)

After the online booking has been made, please come to the British Council with the Reference Number (can be found on the booking confirmation email received after the booking was made) and your original and valid passport and/or copy of the passport with the exam fees which is Rs. 22,500/-. The payment should be made within 5 days from the booking date. You can pay by Cash or Credit/Debit Card (Visa, Master & Amex) only. 

Bank transfer

Alternatively, you could deposit the exam fees to our account and upload the evidence of your payment together with a copy of your valid passport to the online portal within 5 days of completing your online registration. 

Exam confirmation is subject to the bank confirmation of the receipt of the funds. Our account details can be found online at www.britishcouncil.lk/exam/ielts/registration on the 'Making the payment' section. 

What documents do I need to take the IELTS test?

You only need to possess a valid passport in order to register and sit for the IELTS test. 

Can I take the IELTS with my NIC?

The only accepted identity is a valid passport. You can’t use any other form of identity such as NIC, Driving License, etc. 

Can I at least register for the test without the passport and bring the passport to the test?

You must have the passport to register for the test as well. However, we could accept your registration with a copy of the valid passport but it is mandatory for you to take the passport to the examination.

What if my passport is at the Embassy/High Commission/Visa office?

You may register for the test with a copy of the passport but you will not be allowed to take the test if you don’t have the passport on you. Therefore please make sure you will have the passport for the test prior to the registration.

What is the “Reference Number”?

When you book for an IELTS Exam (Normal IELTS, UKVI IELTS or IELTS Life Skills), you will receive a confirmation email with a unique number. This is the Reference Number and is unique to that particular exam session. If you have registered for two exams or two dates for the same exam, you will have two different reference numbers.

I got an email saying my exam was cancelled. Why is that?

There could be a number of reasons for this which are listed below:

  • British Council hasn’t received the exam fees within 5 days from the booking date. 
  • The bank transfer has been unsuccessful and the 5-day window period has elapsed. 
  • There is more than one registration from the same candidate for the same date thus creating a duplicate entry.

In any of the above circumstances, British Council is compelled to cancel your booking and you will receive a mail regarding the cancellation of the exam.

How will I know my speaking test date and can I request for a date?

How will I know my speaking test date? 

Please note that your speaking test will be held within five days prior to the written test (As per the IELTS Test details email). You can pick the preferred date and time slot for your speaking test. 

Same day speaking can be arranged on request. However please note that the places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come first-serve basis. To request same day speaking, please send a request via email to info.lk@britishcouncil.org at least seven (7) days prior to your registered test date.

‘IELTS Test details’ email will be sent to you at least 3 days prior to your speaking test window period followed by an SMS reminder. This email will act as the confirmation of your speaking test slot. Please contact the British Council if you do not receive this email.

You are advised to be present at least 20 minutes before the scheduled speaking test time, in order to complete the registration formalities. Please note that your failure to arrive on time will result in your speaking component being marked as absent by the examiner.

If you wish to re-schedule the speaking test date within the speaking test window period, you are advised to contact the British Council on receiving the ‘IELTS Test details’ email at least one working day (Monday to Friday) prior to the speaking test date. Please note that such transfers could be effected based on the availability of speaking slots within the window period. However, a transfer under the terms and conditions of the speaking transfer policy could be offered if you fail to attend the test.

Can I request for a date?

You can send us a request via email with the following information. 

  • Your Name.
  • Reference Number.
  • Passport Number.
  • Your request in detail.

* Please note that this request should reach us at least 3 days prior to your written exam date. We will then try to give you a convenient time within the Speaking Test Window Period. 

* If you wish to change your speaking test afterwards, please speak to the exam staff on the written exam date. They will then try to offer a convenient time within the Speaking Test Window Period. 

* However due to the nature of the schedule, we may not always be able to reschedule this as desired.

What should I bring to the exam?

You are allowed to bring only the following to the exam venue:

  • Original valid passport 
  • A color copy of the passport
  • Pens, pencils, sharpeners and erasers (British Council will provide you a pencil, sharpener and eraser)
  • Transparent water bottle with no labels. 

*Please note that anything other than mentioned above are not permitted inside the exam hall. This is including all types of watches, car keys, electronic devices and mobile phones. 

If I’m late for the exam, will I be admitted into the exam?

No late arrivals will be admitted under any circumstances. 

What if I can’t come to the exam?

There are two options available for you in this case. You can either transfer the exam to a future date or apply for a refund under the terms and conditions of the test day transfer and refund policy. Please check the following link for more details www.britishcouncil.lk/exam/ielts/terms-conditions. 

How can I transfer the exam to a future date?

You can transfer your exam under the following circumstances.

  • A candidate may apply for a test date transfer prior to 5 weeks (STAGE 1) from the registered test date by paying an administrative fee of Rs. 2,000/-. 
  • A candidate may apply for a test date transfer within the 5 weeks (STAGE 2) period prior to the registered test date or no later than 5 days from the test date by paying an administrative fee of Rs. 3,000 under the following conditions and submitting documentary evidence:
    - Illness or injury (Medical certificate from a recognised medical practitioner). You can find the approved list of hospitals in the Downloads section at https://www.britishcouncil.lk/exam/ielts/terms-conditions  
    - Loss or bereavement of an immediate family member.
    - Victim of emergency exigencies like accidents, crime, trauma and disasters.

* Please note that the candidate must select an exam date within three months from the initial exam date.

* Further no test date transfer is allowed if you have completed at least one module of the exam. 

For more information visit our Terms and Conditions page. 

How can I refund the exam?

You can refund your exam under the following circumstances.

  • A candidate may apply for a refund prior to 5 weeks (STAGE 1) from the registered test date without submission of documentary evidence. However Rs. 2,000 will be deducted as an administrative fee.
  • A candidate may apply for a refund within the 5 weeks (STAGE 2) period prior to the registered test date or no later than 5 days from the test date under the following conditions and submitting documentary evidence. However Rs. 4,000 will be deducted as an administrative fee.

- Illness or injury (Medical certificate from a recognised medical practitioner). You can find the approved list of hospitals in the Downloads section at https://www.britishcouncil.lk/exam/ielts/terms-conditions

- Loss or bereavement of an immediate family member.

- Victim of emergency exigencies like accidents, crime, trauma and disasters.

* Please note that no refund is allowed if you have completed at least one module of the exam.

For more information visit our Terms and Conditions page.

What should I have to bring to apply for a transfer or a refund?

The document check list is given below.

Refunds

Document Check List for refund requests Stage 1 Stage 2
IELTS Board Refund/Transfer Form X X
BC Refund Form X X
Copy of Registration Payment Receipt X X
IELTS Board Medical Certificate Form or Separate Medical Certificate   X

Transfers

Document Check List for refund requests Stage 1 Stage 2
IELTS Board Refund/Transfer Form X X
Copy of Registration Payment Receipt X X
IELTS Board Medical Certificate Form or Separate Medical Certificate   X
Copy of Passport X X

How soon can I re-sit the exam and is there a limit in the number of times I can take the exam ?

You can re-take the exam at any time and a candidate can take the exam as many times as they wish.

How long are my IELTS results valid for?

Generally, your results are valid for 2 years from the test date. However this may depend on the receiving organizations’/institutions’/universities’/employers’/etc. requirements. Therefore you’re advised to check with the respective organisation regarding this.

How long does it take to release results and can I request for early results?

It takes 13 days to release the results. Unfortunately, you cannot request for early results. 13 day period is the standard time frame and it can’t be fast-tracked. 

Can I take an additional copy of the certificate?

No. The exam board is issuing only one copy of the certificate to the candidate. Therefore it’s advisable to retain your original Test Report Form (TRF) with you. However we can send an extra TRF (Test Report Form) to an institute, organisation or university on your behalf at a nominal cost. The different services and rates are listed below follows:

  • Via Courier – Rs. 2500/- (takes approximately 4-5 working days)
  • Normal Post – Rs. 300/- (takes approximately 3 weeks)
  • STEDROs* – Rs. 250/-

*STEDRO (Subscription To Electronic Download Receiving Organisations). Please check with the respective organisation(s) if they have subscribed to this service before applying for it. 

**Please note that we can only send Extra TRFs for the exams which had taken place within the last two years from the request date.

My name is printed incorrect on the certificate. How to correct it?

You have to submit the original TRF to your test center along with a completed Data Change Form and a copy of the passport. It will take approximately 2-3 working days for this to be corrected.

What kind of support do I get to prepare for the exam?

If you register with the British Council, you will receive the following support and materials. 

  • Free Study Material with Listening audio files delivered to your inbox.
  • Free Library Reference Membership.
  • Free Pass for the IELTS Top Tips Seminar*.
  • Free Online IELTS Preparation Course - “Road to IELTS”.
  • Visit our courses and resources section for more preparation materials.

- In addition to the above, you can also take one of the mock exams available for Speaking and Writing at a cost of Rs. 3000/- each. 

- All of the above are available for the British Council registered IELTS Candidates only. 

- You can also take an IELTS Preparation Course with us. Please find more about our IELTS courses.  

- *Please note that we generally have one Free Top Tips Seminar a month with a limited capacity. Therefore it is subject to availability

What is the appeal process?

The appeals process focuses on whether, in the course of reaching decisions, the IELTS Test Partners used procedures which were consistent with the regulatory authorities’ code of practice and applied the procedures properly and fairly. The appeals process is not concerned with making judgements about test takers’ work in the test, and an appeal will not normally involve re-marking or re-assessment of a test takers’ work. 

  • The appeals process allows for reviews in three consecutive stages. A fee of £250 is charged for each stage.
  • For further details please visit the Terms and Conditions page.