IELTS: Using a Pen or Pencil?

Should you use a pen or a pencil in your IELTS test? Learn the IELTS rules for using pens and pencils and get tips.

Pen or Pencil in IELTS?

In IELTS listening and reading, you MUST use a pencil for filling in the answer sheet. This means you should also take an eraser into the test with you so you can erase mistakes.

In the IELTS writing test, you can choose if you want to use either a pencil or a pen.

Tips on Using Pens and Pencils

Pens:

  • Your answers can look messy if you need to delete mistakes.
  • Don’t just put a thin line through mistakes, put many lines through mistakes to delete the word completely. This will make it easier for the examiner to see which words are mistakes and which are not.
  • Make sure your pen doesn’t run out. Don’t use a very old pen.
  • A

Pencils

  • Make sure your pencil is sharp and not too light in colour. It must be easy to read.
  • Don’t use a pencil that is easy to break as you can miss answers in your listening test, while you sort it out.
  • When you erase a word, make sure it is completely erased so that the new word is clear.

Good Handwriting Tips

You can use any style of hand writing you want  in IELTS and you can delete mistakes without losing marks. However, if your handwriting or words are difficult to read, it will reduce your score. If the examiner can’t read it, it’s wrong.

If you wish to put another word into a sentence in your IELTS writing test, you can use the ^ sign. However, make sure the word is easy to read.

You should practice writing your answers on the official answer sheets for listening and reading before your test. You should also practice writing your essays on the official writing paper. See this page for tips on using the official writing paper and to download it for free: Using the Official Writing Paper. Follow these links to get the listening and reading answer sheets: Listening Answer Sheet and IELTS Reading Answer Sheet

Know more about IELTS

  • Capital letters?
  • Wearing a watch?
  • Writing on the question paper?
  • Writing T instead of True?
  • Indenting your paragraphs ?

Check the pen and pencil rules on the BC website: IELTS Listening Test Rules. You will find links on that page to the reading, writing and speaking test rules.

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, lessons, free videos and more.

Get my free lessons by email

Subscribe for free to get my new IELTS lessons sent to your email inbox.

Sharing is caring...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest

Comments

  1. Hello, Liz. Thank you for all those tips and answers. I have a question. Can I leave a line blank between every two neighboring lines of text on the writing answer sheets? I think this would make it easier to add some words when reviewing the letter/essay I’ve already written.

  2. Hi Liz,
    Your site is great and very helpful. I just wanted to ask whether can I carry a sharpener during the test in case my pencil point becomes blunt.
    If not then what is the best solution for this in such cases.Please help.

  3. I’m looking forward to take the ielts academic task,please I want your guide on the writing module

  4. Swaraj kadam says:

    Hii!! I gave my ielts on 30th July 2016 and still the result is on hold for some quality and monitoring purpose. Is it due to my mistake? because ihave written task 1 by pencil and task 2 by pen. Does that make a difference. I’m very afraid!!

  5. I have booked an IELTS date for June 18. I have targeted to get overall band 7 . This is very important for me to apply at the best University in USA or Canada. Please help me with some materials or any tips and technique. And how can I have my English level checked?

  6. gurveer singh says:

    mam pls tell me how can i improve my speaking and writing modules for ielts and pls tell me about the advanced ielts how did i purchased it

  7. Ms.Rajpreet Kaur says:

    I had my speaking test today ..my cue card is -To speak about a famous personality in the news…who is that person .?why is he famous?..would u like to meet that person?…I talked about Mr APJ Kalam ..even though I told that he is no more…How far is it correct or not..I was quite upset after that..kindly advise Mam

    • You are not marked on your ideas, only on your English language.

      • Hi Ms. Liz
        Thank you very much for your valuable advice.
        There is a big problem and I don’t know how to deal with it. I’m not a social person and I’m so busy. I don’t have enough time for watching TV or news program. I’m also not involved in many common issues in my country. Therefore I have difficulties with speaking and writing test questions. Maybe I could manage to write something about what I’m not interested or involved in writing part but what about Speaking part? If the examiner give me a cue card like the one for Ms. Rajpreet Kaur What should I do? If we can’t choose to talk in a range of topics or they can’t solve this problem then the IELTS test is not standard in my opinion. So could you please guide me on this issue?
        Thank you

        • Part of your preparation for IELTS MUST be preparing ideas for topics. You can’t avoid this. IELTS writing task 2 and speaking is topic based and if you haven’t prepared your topics, you will struggle.

  8. Amanpreet says:

    Hey liz. I really appreciate whatever you taught us. I’ve a question that ” can we ask for meaning of cue card in speaking task?

    And one more question that can we ask for another cuecard if we don’t know what cue-card is all about??

    • You can’t ask about the meaning of the cue card and you can’t ask for another cue card. This is a test, so just try your best to speak as closely to the topic as you can.

  9. Thank you very much. I have one doubt.
    Is it necessary to start the answers in a capital letter when we fill the answer sheet in listen and reading?

  10. My level down and i lose my confidence what I do I have no ideas about speaking and writing what I do my exam on 19 May what I do please help me

  11. tshering Needup says:

    i have ielts on 19th May 2016….. could you help me what are the tips required in it

  12. I have read in official rules ,they say you can use pencil or pen for writing but you must use pencil for reading and listening…

  13. Mohammad says:

    Thank you so much for these tips. I had many queries about them but now I have the answers.

Speak Your Mind

*