Taking an exam at the British Council
Taking an exam at the British Council ©

British Council

This section gives you some tips and advice on what to do during the written and speaking exams day.

What to do during the written exams

BEFORE THE EXAM STARTs

  • Take with you a pen, pencil, eraser, your passport/ID and your timetable.
  • Be at the exam venue at least 30 minutes before the start time.
  • Look at the exam signs and locate your designated exam room. The supervisor will inform you when it is time to enter.
  • Keep your timetable handy. Know your candidate number. You will be placed in a specific exam room and desk based on your candidate number.

DURING THE EXAM

UPON ENTERING THE ROOM:

  • Switch off your mobile phone, including any alarms/reminders.
  • Switch off any other electronic devices, including alarms on your watch.
  • Place mobile phones and other unauthorised items (books, bags, etc) in the area that your invigilator will specify.
  • You may keep a bottle of water, but place it on the floor next to your desk, so as to avoid any accidents.
  • After you are seated, the invigilator will ask to see your passport / ID in order to confirm that you are the indeed the correct candidate.
  • The invigilator will distribute the question papers (and in some cases a separate answer sheet and / or rough paper).
  • If the name printed on your question papers is not correct, please inform the invigilator immediately.
  • The invigilator will give specific instructions for each paper. Please pay attention and ask the invigilator if you have any questions about the procedure.

WHEN THE EXAM STARTS:

  • Read the instructions on the front of the question paper (and the separate answer sheet if relevant).
  • Do not to open the question papers until the invigilator tells you to do so.
  • The invigilator will inform you about the duration of each paper. Make sure that you complete all tasks in the allocated time as you will not be allowed any extra time to transfer your answers.
  • The invigilator will inform you if you need to use a pencil or a pen in order to complete your answers in each paper.
  • Writing: please write within the grey lines in the spaces provided on the question paper. Use the blank pages to complete your rough work.
  • Listening: The test is divided into sections, and the recording on the CD is complete in itself, with all necessary pauses and instructions to candidates. Each part will be heard twice. You will be given time to transfer your answers and the CD will inform you when the test is finished.
  • You must not talk, copy, keep or use unauthorised items (such as mobile phones) because you risk being disqualified.
  • If you wish to go to the toilet, an invigilator must accompany you for security reasons.
  • Please raise your hand. No extra time will be given for a toilet break.
  • The invigilator will remind you when you reach the last 10 and 5 minutes before the end of the written papers.

UPON COMPLETION OF THE EXAM:

  • At the end of the test you will be asked to put down your pens or pencils.
  • The invigilator will collect all question papers, answer sheets and rough work before you are permitted to leave the exam room. You must remain seated while this happens.

AFTER THE EXAM:

  • Before leaving the room, make sure that you take with you all your personal belongings.
  • Make sure that you keep a copy of your timetable. You will be able to access your results with the codes available on your timetable.

REPORTING OF INCIDENTS:

  • If something happens during the exam that may have affected your performance (e.g. if you were ill during the test or if a loud noise affected your Listening test) you must inform the centre Supervisor / Invigilator immediately.

What to do during the speaking exams

  • Take your passport/ID and your timetable with you.
  • Be at the exam venue at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.
  • Look at the exam signs and locate the speaking exams area.
  • A marshal will check your photo IDs against the attendance register. Once this is checked, you must remain in the designated speaking exams area until your test.
  • While you are waiting to be examined, please keep quiet so as to avoid disrupting the exams of other candidates.
  • If there is an error in the spelling of your name, please inform the co-ordinator and he will make a note of the correction.
  • Switch of your mobile phone (and other electronic devices). Place your belongings in the area designated by your co-ordinator.
  • The speaking tests are in pair format. The invigilator will specify which of the other candidates will be paired with you, in accordance with the timetable.
  • In case of absences, the pairs will be re-arranged in order to avoid delays.
  • Where there is an uneven number, the last candidates taking the test will form a group of three. The exams cannot be conducted with a single candidate.

Test day photos

Test day photos are mandatory for some Cambridge English exams. Photos may be taken on the day of the written tests or Speaking test.

All candidates, or a parent/guardian, must sign the Declaration of consent form. 

What health / protection measures do you have in place in view of the Covid-19 pandemic?

The health of our test takers and staff is our priority. Before we open any test centre:

  • We ensure that we are following all local government safety guidelines as well as those of the British Council.
  • We brief our test centre staff so they are up to date on what to do and how to prepare for the arrival of test takers.

We have put the following measures in place to make our test centres as safe as possible:

  • Test venues will be cleaned thoroughly prior to each test session.
  • In the case of computer-delivered tests all equipment will be sanitised prior to each session.
  • Our staff will be wearing masks.
  • You will be required to wear a mask in all common areas and maintain a two-metre physical distance at all times.
  • If you would like to, you may also wear latex gloves although this is not required.
  • We will provide sanitisers throughout the test venue and we ask that all test takers use them regularly or wash their hands to help ensure a safe environment.
  • We will  not provide pens or pencils to test takers who will be asked to bring their own stationery on the test day.

Wearing masks

All test takers and test day staff are required to wear masks in the common areas of the test venue. Even if local government regulations do not require it, we have decided to make mask wearing mandatory in the common areas to ensure a safer test environment. Once test takers are seated in the test room, they will be allowed to remove their masks for the duration of the test.

Limit on the number of candidates

All our test venues have limits on numbers of candidates that can be seated there. This depends on local government regulations and the size of the venue. As we are maintaining physical distancing at all test venues, we will be able to accommodate fewer candidates than before Covid-19.

Availability of masks, disinfecting hand gel and gloves

We will have hand sanitisers located at different points at the test venue. We will also ensure that there is liquid soap in the bathrooms so that test takers can wash their hands.

We will not be providing masks, but test takers will be required to bring their own on the test day.

We will not be providing latex gloves. You can bring your own but they are not mandatory.