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!

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