Special Arrangements

IELTS: Special Arrangements (Part 2)

Part 1 in this series detailed how brand IELTS goes the extra mile for test takers who have visual and hearing difficulties by offering them considerable support, from requesting for a modified Listening CD to being assisted by a scribe/reader.

Let’s now see what help is available for IELTS test takers with speaking and learning difficulties.

Speaking Difficulties

If you are someone who takes longer than usual to say things or to understand what others say to you, you could receive extra time to complete the Speaking section of IELTS. Remember, IELTS does not permit test takers to use sign language during the interview. However, you could be granted extra time to read and process the written material (i.e. the Part-2 task card) used in the test, process what your Examiner is saying and produce a speech sample of rateable length.

Learning Difficulties

If you have specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the British Council can make special arrangements for you to take IELTS. For starters, you could ask for an extra 25% of the normal time allotted for a section. For instance, the Reading section lasts 60 minutes, so you will receive an extra 15 minutes to complete it. Extra time can also mean the use of a modified CD for the Listening section that has additional pauses. Apart from, or instead of, the extra time, you can request for supervised breaks too. What this means is that you could stop writing and take a break in another room, which can be a great help if you have trouble concentrating over long periods.

You could get permission to write your answers on a computer or word processor that does not have spellcheck, grammar check or thesaurus functions. Other special arrangements include having the assistance of a scribe, getting help filling out your Listening/Reading answer sheet and using enlarged print question papers.

As you might imagine, making special arrangements is oftentimes a complex and time-consuming process. To avoid disappointment, see to it that you give the test centre at least six weeks’ notice so that you get to take a modified version of IELTS. Please also be aware that you will be required to submit medical evidence to support your claim. Good luck!

IELTS: Special Arrangements (Part 1)

IELTS, the world’s most popular English language test for higher education and global migration, makes every effort to see to it that the language ability of all test takers is assessed fairly and objectively. To this end, special arrangements can be made for test takers with accessibility requirements.

If you are someone who has special requirements, such as visual difficulties, hearing difficulties, speaking difficulties, learning difficulties, medical conditions, or infant feeding, British Council test centres will be willing to help you in different ways. In this series of blog posts, you will get to read about some of these special arrangements.

Visual difficulties

Test takers with visual difficulties can request for enlarged print question papers that make use of Arial 18-point bold font in place of the Arial 11-point font used in regular question papers. Blind individuals who are able to read Braille can opt for Braille question papers. Depending on the severity of visual difficulty, extra time can be allotted to a test taker at the discretion of the test centre depending on their specific needs.

You can request for the assistance of a scribe or reader during the test if you are unable to read or write. If so, your test centre will also have to request for a modified CD for the Listening section from Cambridge Assessment English so that there is enough time available for the scribe/reader to work.

Hearing Difficulties

Those who are hard of hearing may be able to put in a request with their IELTS test centre for a modified Listening CD that includes additional pauses and plays the listening extracts twice. Remember, separate invigilation will be required if you opt for this arrangement.

A hearing-impaired version of the Listening section is also available for those who you can lip-read in English, or for those who find processing recorded sound challenging but are able to access human voices. Instead of playing a recording, a trained member of the venue staff will read a script to you out loud so that you are able to access the test content through hearing, lip-reading, or a combination of both.

If you wish to know how IELTS can support individuals with speaking and learning difficulties, do read the next part in this series.