Retaking the IELTS Exam

  • By Kanan Team
  • Thu Jun 10 2021

Retaking the IELTS Exam

IELTS is a global exam for both native and non-native speakers of English to validate their English reading, writing, and speaking abilities. There are 2 types of IELTS - academic and general - depending on what you want to do in life.

If you are looking for admissions for your higher education abroad, you will have to choose IELTS academic, and if your goal is to migrate to a country abroad, then the IELTS general test is the one you should be taking. IELTS retaking is allowed for both academic and general exams. 

Each of the tests have specific patterns and rules. Before you appear for the exams, you have to prepare well in advance. Even Though retaking IELTS is allowed any number of times, attempting IELTS without preparation is not a wise decision.

Organizations like British Council and IDP offer IELTS coaching and support. Also, we at Kanan International organize numerous IELTS training batches every year. Our classes are for people from different backgrounds - students, study abroad aspirants, working professionals, home-makers, etc. 

Once you enroll with Kanan International, you’ll receive authentic study materials and dedicated coaching from our certified English language trainers. We ensure that all test-takers qualify for IELTS, with a band of 8 and above. 

However, not everyone clears IELTS in the very first attempt. So an immediate question arises - is it possible to retake IELTS and if yes, how can you do that? We’ll answer these one-by-one. 

First and foremost, there’s nothing wrong with trying again when you fail. Trying to achieve a better IELTS score the second or third time after you fail to achieve the desired results the first time is alright. Many test-takers may not be satisfied with their IELTS results in the first attempt. 

They may fail to figure out the nature of the test and what they should have done better. Re-attempting or retaking IELTS is the only choice left in such cases. 

But before you jump in and decide to retake IELTS, you must review and change your strategy. The exam prep strategy that you follow in your initial attempts may not be useful anymore for your latter attempts. 

Before retaking the IELTS exam reflect on the following questions:

  1. What was it that did not go well in the first attempt of your IELTS test?
  2. What was your major weakness out of all the 4 modules (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking) that you studied?
  3. Was there a loophole in your test preparation strategy?
  4. Did you take help from professional IELTS trainers and IELTS training institutes?
  5. Did you give yourself enough time toIELTS  prep?
  6. Did you practice enough mocks before the The International English Language Test (IELTS) test?
  7. Did you pay attention to improving your English?

These are some of the questions you can ask, and see where you can bring about a change, for example, if you were self-studying the first time for your IELTS, you may want to consider professional, certified trainers for IELTS the next time, for example, Kanan International’s trainers.  

Also Read: IELTS score required for Canada PR

6 Tips to follow if you fail IELTS and want to retake

Some of the handy tips curated from our in-house IELTS experts for IELTS retaking are as follows

  1. Give yourself time: Certain things work best at the right time! In addition to reflecting on the above questions, give yourself time and slow down a bit. If you scored below 5 in your last test, give yourself more time for the re-attempt, if possible at least 6 months. 
  2. Mentally prepare yourself: Apart from giving yourself additional time, you should also be ready mentally for your next IELTS exam. It’s better to postpone the exam rather than making a false attempt after you fail the first time.
  3. Practice hard: Practice is key for any exam. For IELTS, particularly, the more you practice, the more confident you become. Remember that each time you attempt to take the test, the questions will change so you must study accordingly.

tips to follow ielts want retake exam

4. Know what suits you: There are 2 different types of IELTS, paper-based and computer-delivered. Know which exam suits you the best. If you feel comfortable with pen-pencil, select the traditional test method. And if you’re not ok with that, go for the latter.

5. Don’t repeat: The mistakes that you made in your last exam should serve as a motivation in your re-attempt. Figure out what went wrong in your IELTS exam so that you don’t make the last blunder a habit. 

6. Learn from Best IELTS books: Often good books are very handy when it comes to IELTS prep. When it comes to Retaking the IELTS exam, you cannot take any more chances. You need to buy good IELTS books to assist in your test pre. You can find BEST books for the IELTS general exam here. 

Is there any restriction in retaking the IELTS exam - what’s the official policy? 

There are “no limits to the number of times IELTS can be retaken”. You can resit for IELTS as soon as you feel you are prepared for it.

Once you have evaluated yourself and understood the strategy that you must follow, you should be ready to retake the exam. The exam happens every year, and 4 times in a month. 

In terms of age restrictions, the minimum age specified to retake the exam is 16, but that’s simply because people below 16 wouldn’t generally need IELTS.

Also, there’s no upper-age limit for taking up IELTS. However, different countries will have their own IELTS requirements. Canada, for instance, has increased the age for IELTS candidates to 64. This opens up an opportunity for those who wish to apply for migration visas.

What are the fee and registration cost for IELTS retake?

IELTS second attempt fee is the same as that of the first attempt. The registration cost and the exam fee never change, regardless of how many times you appear for IELTS. It will cost you somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 for the exam, depending on the type of test you choose to appear for.

You can find more about IELTS exam fees in India here. It will give you complete details about mode of payment, where to pay, split-ups etc. 

You can choose to register for retaking IELTS on numerous websites like British Council, IDP, Kanan International, etc.

These are the top providers of IELTS training currently in India. Kanan has its own learning centre in cities like Chennai, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Surat, Vapi, Dehradun and 27 other locations.

You can register online Our counsellors will get in touch with you and explain about the programmes that you can choose to study abroad based on your IELTS score. 

Note:You can ask any question regarding re attempting the IELTS exam to us using the hashtag #IELTSRetaking and tag us at @KananInt. 

What’s the difference between Rescheduling and Retaking IELTS test?

There is a major difference between rescheduling and retaking IELTS. Retaking the exam can be done anytime, whenever you’re ready. Rescheduling is done when for some reason you’re unable to attend the exam. Reasons can be many, such as

  •  Illness,
  •  accident, 
  • personal loss, etc. 

Any other reasons other than these can lead to cancellation of your exam. 

Students who cancel their tests are eligible for refunds, but the test should be cancelled at least 5 weeks before the test date. An administrative fee of 25% is deducted from each cancellation that you make.

Whether you reschedule or retake IELTS, the IELTS exam pattern is the same and the test-taking strategy should also be the same, that is to be prepared well ahead of the exam deadline. Attempting the exam for a second time without any preparation will never yield any result. It may disappoint you further.   

Can multiple IELTS attempts improve the score?

Yes. But only if you take professional trainers' help. Generally there’s no rule that retaking the IELTS multiple times will improve your score. This is because each time you attempt the test, each of the question patterns will be different even though the IELTS exam Syllabus is the same.

Although the first few attempts may give you a hint of the test structure, it’s not necessary that that will help you score better. Besides, multiple attempts without any preparation is a complete waste of time and effort and money. 

If you have been making several attempts by self-studying for IELTS, you may want to consider taking help of professional trainers and mentors. They can tell you all the tips and tricks and give you sound advice about cracking IELTS in a few months’ time. 

Is retaking the IELTS bad for college and university admissions abroad?

No, it’s not. There’s no written rule that if you retake IELTS, it could be a roadblock to your university and college admissions. None of the IELTS test centres inform the universities and colleges abroad about your previous IELTS scores, which you don’t wish to reveal.

Also, they don’t inform the institutes about the number of attempts that you make. They send only the latest score report to the institute of your choice. If you have 2 test reports with you, you must decide which score you would like to send to the university and college. 

There’s no way why retaking IELTS would be bad for admissions because the scores from your previous tests remain between you and the test centre, only. 

How to prepare for the test before retaking it? 

As mentioned earlier, each time you take the test, you’ll find a different pattern and entirely different set of questions. So it’s important to prepare for every new IELTS exam but in a different way.

There are 2 ways of preparing for IELTS retake - either self-study or professional coaching. Self-preparation for IELTS isn’t easy since it requires a lot of discipline and planning. Self-studying shouldn’t lead to waste of time and effort.

You also need to have access to high-quality study materials when you self-prepare. May these are the reason why you couldn’t score good IELTS marks in the first attempt. 

Professional coaching is a must try for those who are short on time and, particularly, want to score high in IELTS at least in their second attempt. While preparing via online or offline coaching from any professional institute, you must check for the following: 

  1. Are your trainers certified and professional mentors?
  2. Is your training fee within your budget?
  3. What’s the outcome of the training?
  4. How is the coaching institute going to help you prep?
  5. Do you get access to authentic study materials?

Kanan International ticks all the boxes above. We at Kanan International offer professional coaching through certified trainers, who have conducted over 500 batches on IELTS training across India.

Our course fee fits your budget, and we have continually given discounts and offers. Also, you can pay via any payment method of your choice. 

At Kanan international’s IELTS centre you will get access to high-quality study materials, which are authentic and based on the original IELTS patterns. Also, once you get your IELTS scores in hand, our study abroad advisors can help you shortlist institutes abroad for your higher studies. 

Regardless of the way you choose to study, you’ll have to change your strategy each time you retake the test. Below we talk about the 10 strategies to follow for retaking the IELTS exam - 

9 strategies to follow for your IELTS retake 

1. Relax

Once you know that you didn’t qualify for IELTS in your first attempt, stop right there and take a break. Taking a break after your first IELTS exam may help you be more cautious and aware. Once you get the score, which is not what you had expected, you must reflect on your test-taking strategy. Revising your strategy will help you understand what went wrong in the initial attempt. 

2. Reorganize yourself 

Re-focus yourself on the exam. Plan with a strong goal the next time you attempt the test. The important thing to understand here is that IELTS patterns are simple yet tricky. Since there is no one perfect answer for the IELTS questions, you must think how to give your best. 

3. Identify errors 

Identify what went wrong in the last test. Was it the way you answered each of the sections or was it a lack of time to prepare? To understand what our flaws are is important. It goes a long way to save ourselves from any disappointment and embarrassment further. 

4. Strategize

Take help of mentors and people who you think can give you tips on IELTS. Professional coaching is always great because you get to practice a lot of mocks. IELTS training centres like Kanan International can help you plan and study for your next IELTS.

The expertise of professional mentors at Kanan has immensely helped our test-takers over the last 24 years.   

5. Practice frequently

Practice online, practice from books, and practice with your teachers and friends. The more you practice, the better you become. The common IELTS books available in the market have plenty of practice materials.

9 strategies to follow to ielts retake exam

Also, when you enroll with a learning centre, such as Kanan’s IELTS training centre, you get access to the e-library wherein you can select many practice materials, and other relevant references. 

6. Hire a trainer

We have seen students who like to go with the idea of self-studying. Although we don’t discourage that, for some test-takers self-studying may not work in their favor. If you are someone who doesn’t like the idea of self-study, then consider hiring a mentor.

Having a mentor can make it easier for you to understand the concepts of IELTS, especially when you don’t have enough time. 

Kanan International gives you the opportunity to enroll for online or offline classes with professional mentors. You can sign up for the classes by visiting Classes are organized in various cities like Chennai, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, and Vapi. And all the classes have flexible batches for all types of learners.  

7. Check your skills

Different IELTS candidates have different capabilities; some have advanced levels of English skills, and some have intermediate skills. Spot your skills, which means try to understand what your English skills are. Are you well adept with grammar basics? Or do you need help with that?

Slow down and ask yourself where you need help the most? At Kanan, the trainers understand that some test-takers may need more time to prepare than the rest. Therefore, they invest more effort to ensure such test-takers learn what they need to. 

8. Learn and upskill

Try to put your learning to use. Upskill yourself by taking help from friends, teachers, and others. What you learn in the classroom can be used in your daily life, for example, speak in public using the vocab that you learn, and speak confidently. 

Write and read as much as possible. Remember that your trainers can only show you a way to qualify IELTS, but the actual effort must come from you. 

9. Be ready and revise

Be prepared well ahead of the test deadline. It’s not a wise idea to study till the last minute of your exam. Give yourself at least 4 to 6 months to prepare so that you can revise in the last few weeks before the test.

What are the limitations of retaking IELTS? 

Technically, the minimum age limit to appear for IELTS is 16. This doesn’t mean that those below 16 cannot appear for the exam, but it means that generally people below 16 don’t need IELTS for any purpose.

Moreover, most universities and colleges overseas accept applications from students who have high-school certifications [that is, above 16 year olds]. On the other hand, there are some universities and colleges that specify the admission requirements and the upper age limit.

There is no upper age limit according to official reports. But many countries have their own age limits for people seeking higher education or work. Countries like Canada have extended the age limit to 64 for people who want to settle in the country on migration visas. However, other countries follow different protocols. 

Also, the IELTS retake policy is flexible. Ideally, as soon as you’re ready, you can take up the exam with any authorized centre. The exam happens 4 times in a month, and can be taken at any authorized centre. 

What’s the IELTS score validity?

The IELTS score is valid for 2 years. This means that you can use your test report forms and apply to any university and college for admissions within the next 2 years from the date of getting your results.

You can also use the results to apply for a work visa. Once the IELTS result expires, you have to take up a fresh exam in case you fail to move to a country abroad.

Many test-takers often ask us if they can use two different score reports for admissions abroad? The answer is no. You can use only one test report, and it depends on you to choose one. 

Why retaking the IELTS exam alone is not a good strategy? 

Retaking the exam without a plan is not a good idea. This is because if you’re not going to appreciate what went wrong in your first attempt, you will end up making the same mistakes again. So retaking the exam without a strategy is a bad idea.

Since the IELTS exam is a bit tricky, it’s better to have a plan and study. Let’s say you score well in reading and writing in your first test, but not in listening and speaking sections, then your goal should be to work on those areas you are weak at. Re-attempting IELTS without a significant amount of hard work may lead to zero outcome. 

What’s the Ideal time required to retake the exam? 

The ideal time for IELTS preparation is considered to be 8 weeks. However, it’s possible to prepare for the exam in 15 days. It remains the same for your retakes as well. At Kanan International, we have mentored students for IELTS and prepared them within a short time.

We have seen test-takers who came in at the last minute and scored a band of 6 and above. We have also seen students who came in 2 months earlier and managed to score high in the test. 

Where to apply for the IELTS retake exam?

IELTS tests are offered by popular institutions like British Council and IDP in many countries. Kanan International is another IELTS centre where you can sign up for coaching and exams. To apply for the retake, you must log in on and register yourself.

One of the IELTS advisors will get back to you and guide you on the next steps. 

Can you retake the IELTS exam for any one section?

No, that’s not possible. IELTS retake just for one module isn’t allowed. When you retake IELTS, you must take up all the 4 sections. The IELTS exam consists of 4 modules, and no exam centre will allow you to take just one module alone. 

Can you retake the exam for the second time even after scoring well the first time?

You can resit for the exam any number of times. If you are not satisfied with your IELTS results the first time, then you can opt for the exam further. Oftentimes, students who score below 6 go for the second or third attempts. But if you score 6 and above, there’s no reason why you should be retaking the test.

This is because many countries, such as Canada, accept that score for admissions or entry. Unless you are very particular about getting a specific score [higher than 6], you shouldn’t worry about resitting for IELTS.

Is it ok to resit for the test after a long break? 

One question that we are often asked is how soon can I take the IELTS test again? Or What should be my IELTS retake period?

The answer is - once you feel you’ready. Most of the test-takers are advised to give themselves 4 months time before retaking the test. However, if a test-taker wants to take a long break, say 6 months, it’s absolutely fine to do so.

You must remember that you’ll have to put more effort compared to what you did earlier if your first time IELTS scores are not satisfactory. Also, the university you apply at for admissions will not be informed about your break. This will not affect your test scores either. 

Things to remember before reapplying for IELTS 

As mentioned above, simply taking the exam without an objective will not be useful. You can use the below suggestions as a checklist before you retake IELTS:

  • Ensure you have prepared well and better than the last time.
  • Identify where you scored less in your first attempt and why?
  • Give yourself enough time to assess your loopholes.

things to reapplying for ielts

  • Both IELTS academic and general exams will need the same effort from you, so your test-taking strategy should apply to both.
  • What is your expected score? It’s good to have a goal and work accordingly.
  • Practice as many mocks as possible.
  • If you scored less in listening or speaking the last time, then put more effort in them the next time. However, you must not skip practicing reading and writing sections.
  • Get a mentor. If you are someone who needs a direction in your test-taking process, then speak to the IELTS trainers of Kanan.
  • Don’t stress yourself. IELTS can be taken many times so you have a lot of chances.
  • Prepare yourself mentally to give your best.

What's meant by IELTS revaluation? Can I go for revaluation without reapplying for the exam? 

IELTS revaluation is the process of applying for remarking your test papers. You can choose one or more modules or the entire test to be re-evaluated by IELTS examiners.

This is usually done when you’re confident that you performed well in the exam and don’t want to retake it.

In order to go for revaluation, you must apply for ‘Enquiry on Results’ with your local test centre, You must pay the enquiry fee and wait for your results to be out. Every test centre sends their revaluation reports to the candidates within 2 to 4 weeks. If your scores don't increase after revaluation, then you are not eligible for a refund of the enquiry fee. 

You can go for revaluation without retaking the exam for 3 reasons:

  1. If you are confident that you did well overall in the exam, but perhaps one or two modules could have been better.
  2. If you are short on time, and would like to go for admissions in the current intake you applied for. 
  3. If you don’t want to spend more time and money on preparing again.

FAQs on IELTS retake

Can I retake only IELTS writing or reading when I re-apply for the test? 

A: No, you cannot retake just one module. Regardless of the number of attempts that you make, each time you must answer all the 4 modules of any standard IELTS exam [there are 2 writing tasks in IELTS general].

What happens if I fail IELTS? 

A: You can reappear for the exam. If you score below 5, you can reapply for the exam because most colleges and countries abroad ask for a minimum score of 6 from the test-takers.

There is no limitation to the number of attempts for the test - you can resit upto 4 times in a month. However, you must revisit your test-taking strategy because it’s important to understand what made you fail or score low in your very first attempt. 

Can I take the IELTS twice? 

A: As said earlier, there is no limit to IELTS retakes. The general thumb rule is if your score is less than what your study destination requires, then you must resit, but with a new strategy and better preparation than the last time. 

Can I use 2 IELTS scores for my admissions? 

A: If you have taken the exam twice, and got 2 different scores, you can use the highest score. There’s no rule that you have to use only the latest score that you get in IELTS. Remember that IELTS scores are valid for 2 years. Thus, whichever score you decide to use should be valid.

Will my first IELTS score become invalid if I reattempt the second time? 

A: No, as mentioned above, the scores are valid for 2 years. So if you take 2 exams and get 2 different scores within 2 years, both scores will be considered legit and valid. But, you need to choose only the score that your university or college requires. Ideally, it’s better to use the highest score since that will open up more opportunities for you, say scholarships. 

What if I fall sick on the day of the IELTS test? 

A: If you fall sick a few days before the test day, you can always reschedule. But, if you fall sick on the day of the test, you’ll have to cancel the exam. Officially, you are entitled to receive a refund minus 25% of the test fee upon cancellation, but only if you are able to provide a medical certificate within 3 days.  

What if I am late to reach my exam centre?

A: If you’re late to your test centre on the test day, you must communicate that to your centre. They will arrange some help for you. 

What does it mean to pass or fail in IELTS? 

A: IELTS is graded from 0 to 9. A band of 6 and above is accepted by most institutions and countries abroad. However, if you score below 6, you must check with your university if that is acceptable. If you score below 5 [which is considered below average], it may not be acceptable by most universities and colleges abroad. 

Can I go for IELTS revaluation?

A: Yes, you can go for a remark or revaluation of your IELTS test results if you are not happy with the first score. Ideally, you must pay an enquiry fee and apply for a remark within 6 months of the test date. Your fee will be refunded if your score increases after revaluation. 

How long should I wait to get my re-evaluated IELTS results?

A: You have to wait for 2 to 4 weeks. The test result will be emailed to you. Please remember if there is no change in your score, you won’t get any refund. 

How to apply for revaluation or remark for IELTS?

A: To apply for a remark, request for Enquiry on Results with the test centre where you took your last IELTS test at. You can choose to go for a complete revaluation or for one or more modules. 

The examiner who re-evaluates your paper will not be aware of your actual scores [first time]. And, if you don’t see any change in your remarked scores, your enquiry fee will not be refunded.

What would be the duration for my IELTS second attempt? 

A: IELTS second attempt duration is the same as the first attempt. 

How much does it cost for IELTS revaluation?

A: Please check with your test centre about the fee for remarking your IELTS score. You’ll have to pay an enquiry fee when you sign up for IELTS revaluation.

Can I retake IELTS speaking only? 

A: IELTS comes as a package of reading, writing, listening, and speaking sections. None of these modules can be attempted individually. Each time you appear for the test, you have to take up all the sections. 

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