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What to Expect on Test Day for the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE

Are you an MBA applicant who needs to take an English proficiency test in order to get into business school?

Knowing what to expect on the day of the test can make it much easier to relax and focus on getting the best score possible.

This article will look at what to do and expect on the day of the test itself, but there are a couple of important steps you can take before test day to make sure your experience is as smooth as possible.

The first step is to do a test drive before the day of the test, preferably under similar conditions (e.g., at the same time of day, and on a weekday if your test is scheduled during the week or a weekend if your test is scheduled for Saturday or Sunday).

What to Expect on Test Day for the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE

This will let you get a sense of traffic and handle any unexpected construction or directions issues before the test itself. If you’re late to the testing center on test day, you will not be able to take the test!

Security & ID verification has gone high-tech for all three tests, so be prepared with required documents or IDs, and don’t be surprised if you need to complete additional steps like biometric scanning or having your picture taken by the testing center.

No matter which test you’re planning to take, the most important step is to take practice tests and understand the format of the test you’ll be taking. If you haven’t made up your mind yet, we have good overview articles on the TOEFL, the IELTS, and the PTE to help you understand the basics.

What to Expect on TOEFL Test Day

Before the test

– Check your online account the day before to make sure all info is accurate & nothing has changed (like test start time).

– Make sure you bring a valid form of ID, as well as your Registration Confirmation with registration number.

– Arrive 30 minutes early

– You may need to go through metal detectors or metal detector wanding for security purposes.

– A photo will be taken of you and placed on your assigned seat; you may also need to do thumb print, signature verification, voice biometrics, etc. for ID verification.

– You will need to sign a confidentiality document.

During the test

– You are only allowed to bring your ID documents into the test room – everything else goes in your car, a storage locker, or a plastic bag under the seat.

– There is a 10-minute break midway through the test which is mandatory. Use this time to mentally de-stress and use the restroom.

– Raise hand if you need help during the test.

– Request plenty of scratch paper at the start – you have to use it all up before you can ask for more. The scratch paper must all be turned in at the end of the test.

– You can’t leave the testing room or building during the test itself; if you have health needs that might require this, be sure to request accommodations beforehand.

What to Expect on IELTS Test Day

Before the test

– Arrive early

– Eat & drink beforehand; no food is allowed in the test room, although you can have a drink in a transparent bottle.

– Bring an acceptable form of ID. You may be required to bring two passport-sized photos; the test center may also take a photo of you on test day.

During the test

– The Reading, Listening, and Writing tests take 2 hours, 40 minutes, and there are no breaks.

– The Speaking test can be done up to seven days before or after the other test portions.

– Students are allowed to use the restroom during the test but must raise hand to request permission.

– The only items allowed on the desk are a pen, pencil, paper, eraser, and ID – pens are only for scratch paper, as the answer sheet must be filled out in pencil.

– You are allowed 10 extra minutes at the end of the Listening section to record your answers on the answer sheet, but will not get this time at the end of the Reading section, so mark as you go along.

What to Expect on PTE Test Day

Before the test

– Arrive at the testing center 30 minutes early.

– Bring an acceptable form of ID.

– The test center will take a photo of you, do a palm vein scan, and get a digital signature from you.

During the test

– Raise your hand with any questions or technical issues.

– You can leave early if you are finished, just raise your hand and let the test proctor know.

– The timer on the screen will count down time remaining in the test section.

– You will get a booklet of scratch paper for notes and can request another if you fill it up, but you cannot write anything down or make notes before the test begins.

– On the speaking section, you cannot re-record any responses, and the microphone will shut off if you are silent for more than 3 seconds.

Your Turn

Taking an English proficiency exam is a minor hurdle on the way to getting into a top business school. Once you have it out of the way, you can focus on some of the more important parts of your business school application.

A free MBA application assessment from EXPARTUS can help you focus on the strongest elements of your personal brand, and get a clear sense of how to mitigate any weaknesses in your application package.