From 1 May 2006 the policy on candidates re-taking IELTS will be amended. The restriction on re-taking IELTS within 90 days will be removed and candidates will be able to repeat the test whenever they wish.
The current restriction on repeating the test within 90 days at any centre will remain in place for all candidates until the end of April 2006. All candidates from 1 May will be able to repeat at the next available test, regardless of the date of their previous test.
IELTS is now used by a range of receiving organisations across the world and many of them require candidates to demonstrate adequate performance overall as well as by individual skill. It is possible for candidates to attain their required overall band score but fail to achieve a specific module score in a particular skill area. As a result they are required to re-take the test but have to wait 90 days and this can result in hardship and distress. It is in the nature of tests that scores on individual components may vary to some extent from occasion to occasion and a candidate may be able to make limited improvements in their performance when repeating the test. In consideration of this the decision was made to remove the re-take restrictions.
It should be noted however that IELTS scores are not substantially improved merely by taking the test on multiple occasions. To significantly improve a score it is necessary to engage in further study of a serious nature. Gain score studies carried out under the IELTS funded research programme indicate that scores are unlikely to improve dramatically without extensive English language tuition in the interim.
Candidates will still be asked to indicate on their application form whether they have taken the test before. This information will appear on the Test Report Form and will only be used for monitoring purposes.