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Things to Consider Before an IELTS Retake

This blog post originally appeared on the Magoosh IELTS blog.

You took the IELTS exam and thought you did well. But when the scores came out 13 days after the exam, you found that you didn’t get the scores that you needed. What do you do?

The first thing that you need to figure out is whether there is still time to take the IELTS before you need a passing score. If there is still time to take another IELTS exam, then you’ll have to register for it quickly and study hard to make sure you get the score you need. If there isn’t time, though, your only option will be to contest your score.

Step 1: When do you need to send your IELTS scores?

Find out when you need to submit your IELTS scores. You will need to take an IELTS exam at least 13 days before this deadline. Sometimes, schools will take scores after this deadline, but it is rare. Once you’ve found what the score deadline is, you can see if there are IELTS exams offered before then.

Step 2: Are there exams offered before this deadline?

Find out when the next exam is at the nearest testing center. If the closest exam center doesn’t have an opening for an exam before your deadline, check other exam centers that you can get to.

If no testing centers have an opening, don’t give up! Seats become available when people fail to complete their applications. This happens all the time. Check the exam registration website every single day. If a seat opens up for a particular date, then you’ll be able to register for that exam. Register immediately! There may only be a single seat available, and if someone else registers before you, then you’ll lose your opportunity.

Step 3: Create a study plan.

Once you’re registered to take another exam, you’ll have to create a study plan. Did you have a low Listening score that prevented you from getting the overall score that you needed? Focus most of your time on practicing for the Listening portion. Each of the sections is equally weighted in your overall score. However, improving on a high score is often more difficult than fixing a low score.

Step 4: Study, study, study!

If you have lots of time before your deadline to send your IELTS scores, then you don’t have to rush. However, if your deadline is looming and you have to take another exam quickly, then you’ll need to do as much studying as possible. Check out our article on how to study for the IELTS in one month. And, if your even shorter on time, perhaps a one week IELTS study schedule is what you’re looking for.

What if there’s no time to take another IELTS test?

If there’s not enough time to take another test and send your scores, then your only option may be to contest your score. Unfortunately, this can take 6-8 weeks. It is also expensive. Before you contest your score, you should contact the institution that needs your scores, and ask them if they would accept your scores past the deadline in you contest them.

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