Test day nerves
What to expect on test day is a cause of anxiety for test takers – the fear of the unknown which I mentioned in an earlier blog post on test day. If you know what to expect then you can at least relax about this aspect of the test and focus on completing the test to the best of your ability.
Step by step guide
1. When you arrive at the test venue, you will be greeted by one of the venue staff and directed to the cloakroom area.
2. At the cloakroom area, you will leave your bag and coat. You will need to turn off your mobile and put it and your watch, if you are wearing one, inside your bag. The cloakroom staff may give you a plastic bag to contain the things you are allowed in the test room (non-mechanical pens and pencils, eraser and pencil sharpener, a small clear plastic bottle of water, your ID document). You will be given a ticket to be able to collect your bag after the test.
3. You will then be directed to register. A member of staff will check your ID document matches the document you submitted in your test application and then take your test day photo, which will be used on your Statement of Results. If there are any discrepancies with your ID document, you will not be allowed to take the test so make sure you bring the same document which you used to apply.
5. You will finally be directed to the waiting area where you will wait until it is time to go into the test. In large test venues where a number of rooms are being used, you will be directed to the room you will take the test in and you will wait with the other students who will be in the same room.
6. This is a good time to go to the toilet as you cannot leave the room during the Listening test. You can request to go to the toilet during the combined time for Reading Parts B and C and the Writing test but not during the first 10 or last 10 minutes, and you will not be given extra time. If you leave the room to go to the toilet, your identity will be checked again.
Entering the test room
7. When it is time to go into the test room, you will be asked to find your desk. An invigilator will check your ID document again.
8. Take your seat, put your stationery, water bottle and ID card on your desk. Notice the clock at the front of the room which you can refer to during the test.
9. When everyone is seated, the invigilator will read out some general instructions about the tests such as not speaking and not copying another student’s work.
10. The Listening papers will be given out. Everyone has a personalised paper which have your candidate number, name, profession, venue, test date and profile photo printed on the front. You need to check the information and sign the front to confirm it is correct.
11.Once everyone has done this, the Listening Test will start. You can complete Listening Part A using pen or pencil but you must mark your answers for Listening Parts B and C using a 2B pencil. There are instructions about how to do this and what to do if you make a mistake on the front of the test booklet. The invigilators will also explain the instructions.
12. At the end of the Listening Test you will be told to put your pens and pencils down and the papers will be collected in.
13. This process will be repeated for Reading Part A and then Parts B and C which are completed together. Like Listening, Reading Part A can be completed in pen or pencil but Reading Parts B and C must be completed in pencil.
14. The invigilators will tell you when you have 5 minutes left for each part so don’t waste too much checking out how much time is left on the clock.
15. The same process is also repeated for Writing. The writing papers will be given out by profession. The invigilators will remind you that you cannot write anything at all during the first 5 minutes. They will also tell you when you have 10 minutes and then 5 minutes left.
14. After the writing test, you will leave the test room. If there is some time before your allocated speaking test, you will be able to collect your bag from the cloakroom area. You will need to repeat steps 2 and 3 before you can go to the waiting area for your speaking test so make sure you come back in good time to do this.
15. If you have some time, go to the toilet, drink and eat something and try to get some fresh air if possible to refresh your brain.
16. When you go into the room for your speaking test, the interlocutor will greet you and then start the recording device before they check your identity. You will be asked a few questions to help you to relax but these are not assessed.
17. You will be given your first role-card and 2-3 minutes to prepare before the 5 minutes speaking time starts. You will not be able to see the time during the test so continue talking until the interlocutor asks you to stop. This process is repeated for the second role-card.
18. At the end of the Speaking test, you will be directed to collect your belongings from the cloak area and leave. You should not speak to any candidates still waiting to complete their speaking tests.