Cancelling Scores for the IELTS

IELTS Policies for Score Cancellation

IELTS does not allow test-takers to voluntarily cancel scores for a test administration. Unlike most standardized tests, students may not cancel a result because they lack confidence in their performance or wish to keep a test "off the record." IELTS will keep records of all test attempts. However, students may delay score reporting to a specific institution for up to two years after a test date, or choose never to report a given score at all. Test-takers are expected to designate institutions to receive score reports at registration, but they can put off score reporting to their favored degree programs until they have viewed their results, and if they don't want a school to see those results, they can simply decline to report those scores until they expire. For example, a candidate considering study at six universities may designate the four lowest-priority institutions when registering, and send score reports to their highest-priority schools after receiving their results (assuming those results are acceptable for their purposes). Students who use this approach should be aware that they will be charged a fee for additional score reports sent after the date of the test. If disappointing performance causes a student to take the IELTS again, score reports for exam retakes will include the scores for that test only.

Involuntary Cancellation of IELTS Scores

Test-takers must sign a statement affirming that they have read and agree to abide by all IELTS rules (see the "Notice to Candidates" and "Declaration" sections of the application form submitted with registration). Results for an IELTS exam may be cancelled against the student's wishes under certain circumstances, primarily those related to academic dishonesty or violation of testing policies. Score results may be withheld temporarily or permanently cancelled. The former is usually done when testing irregularities are suspected, which must be investigated by IELTS before releasing score reports. Investigations may involve requiring students to submit additional writing or speaking samples or mandating that candidates retake sections of the exam. Permanent cancellation is associated with any type of cheating on the test, altering the Test Report Form in any way, or attempting to impersonate someone else while taking the exam. Students whose scores are involuntarily cancelled forfeit all testing and registration fees.

Cancellation of Registration

Test-takers are advised to select their test dates carefully, because IELTS policies on cancellation are rather strict. Eligibility for a 75% refund of the registration fee is dependent on cancelling a test at least five weeks before the scheduled date (IELTS keeps 25% as an administrative fee). Exceptions will only be made for extraordinary circumstances, such as serious illness or severe hardship. All cancellation requests sooner than five weeks before the date of the test must be accompanied by appropriate documentation. Test registration is occasionally cancelled for administrative reasons or for inclement weather. In either case, test-takers should contact IELTS immediately to schedule a new date (in these instances, no extra fees will be charged).

Test Cancellation and Deadlines

Test-takers sometimes assume that, because there are no official limits on IELTS test attempts and no required waiting periods, they can easily find a new test date that will accommodate deadlines for university or visa applications. Students must remember that test availability can vary widely by city or region, and some testing locations may have only 1-2 test administrations per month or less. IELTS encourages all candidates to register a minimum of two months in advance of their preferred test date, and we advise students to follow this guideline to ensure that they don't miss any deadlines associated with their degree programs or employment situations. Planning ahead will give test-takers a much greater range of alternate options if rescheduling an examination becomes necessary.

Score Reporting Procedure

IELTS scores are released by individual test centers approximately 13 days after the test. Test Report Forms are issued to students in hard copy only, and are either mailed to the home address provided at registration or picked up in person. Students who go to the test center to receive their results must show identification. Test scores will not be emailed or disclosed over the phone, but test-takers may view provisional scores online (scores viewed in this manner should be considered unofficial and should not be provided to any organization as verification of results). Provisional scores remain online for a period of 28 days. Organizations may set up an account with IELTS to verify scores online, and test-takers should assume that they will do so. Any discrepancies between Test Report Forms and results verified online will be investigated by IELTS.