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


  • Take with you a face mask, 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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. 

Do I need to show a Green Pass / COVID Pass?

Following the Ministry of Health’s latest Order (n 01-856/19.10.2021), it is now possible to attend an exam (including all exams provided by the British Council, i.e. IELTS test, Cambridge English Qualifications and other university and school exams), only if the test taker is in  possession of COVID Pass / Green Pass issued by the relevant health authorities. Exam takers under 18 years will be allowed to sit the exam without Green Pass / COVID Pass.

COVID Pass / Green Pass can be obtained from relevant authorities by individuals who completed the vaccination cycle (www.his.bg) with one of the approved vaccines; recovered from COVID; or tested negative to a PCR, Antigen test. Please refer to the Health Minister’s regulations for additional information: www.mh.government.bg/bg/.
It is the exam taker’s responsibility to obtain, ahead of the exam, a COVID Pass / Green Pass, according to the Ministry of Health’s regulations.

Exam takers will need to show, on the exam day and ahead of entering the exam room or speaking room, a paper or digital copy of the COVID Pass / Green Pass, along with their ID.

In accordance with the Ministry of Health’s requirements, exam takers without their COVID Pass / Green Pass will not be allowed to enter the exam room or speaking room and sit the exam.

No refund or transfer will be offered for failing to show a valid COVID Pass / Green Pass before entering the exam room or speaking room.

If the exam taker tests positive for COVID to a PCR / Antigen test, please contact us for IELTS at: ielts@britishcouncil.bg and for Cambridge English Qualifications and all other exams provided by the British Council in Bulgaria at: exams@bristishcouncil.bg to discuss a transfer of your test to a later date. You will need to provide evidence of testing positive to COVID.

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. 
  • It is mandatory for all candidates to wear masks in all areas of the venue, e.g. waiting areas, registration and check-in areas, cloakroom areas, when being taken to their desks in the test room or when going to the bathroom. As cases of Covid-19 are on the rise again, in order to ensure heightened safety at the test venue, it is now required to wear masks throughout the whole test session – i.e. from entry into the exam venue to exit post-test. If you are exempt from wearing a mask for health reasons (e.g. asthma), you must provide a medical certificate confirming the exemption. This should be presented when you register on the day of the test. 
  • You must also maintain a 1.5 metres 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 also ensure that there is liquid soap in the bathrooms so that test takers can wash their hands.
  • We will not provide pens or pencils to test takers who will be asked to bring their own stationery on the test day. 

Self-declaration of symptoms

Candidates with symptoms compatible with Covid-19 should not attend their test. The World Health Organisation’s website provides general sanitary information and basic hygiene measures related to Covid-19.                       

If a candidate shows symptoms prior to the test date, they should contact the Examination Centre in order to reschedule their exam to an alternative date. 

Before the start of the test candidates will be required to sign a self-declaration confirming that they are not in quarantine, have not been in contact with anyone suspected of Covid-19 in the past 14 days, and that they have no Covid-19 compatible symptoms.