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IELTS: Live Covid-19 Related News Updates (Updated: June 2021)

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

We'll constantly share novel coronavirus (Covid-19) related updates about various tests, such as GMAT, UCAT, IELTS, SAT for the UAE (and worldwide) - for the benefit of all the test-takers.

This pandemic is causing some unprecedented changes leading to some daily developments, which we will continue to update.

Last updated: 17 August 2020


British Council resumes IELTS testing in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah

Demand for English language test remains strong from students and professionals

Dubai, August 17, 2020: The British Council has resumed IELTS testing in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah as demand for the English language test remains strong.

This gradual resumption of operations due to Covid-19, follows on from their reopening in Sharjah last month — and in Dubai in June.

With clearer guidelines around travel policies and new international visa regulations, the organization has seen a steady rise in interest from students and professionals with aspirations to study and work abroad.

Deep Adhikari, Director — Exams, The British Council Gulf South, said: “To ensure the safety of our candidates and adhere to local authority guidelines, we have had to reopen our testing centers gradually, but this does not seem to have affected the demand for IELTS testing.

“Incentives such as the new post-study work visa regulations in the UK, Canada, and Australia mean that International Higher Education institutions remain an attractive option for our students, with many intent on studying abroad.

“The UK for example, which is our most popular destination, has introduced a number of new measures. This includes their new graduate route which will allow international students to stay for up to two years after graduation; and this should appeal to highly skilled graduates looking to start a career there.”

Health and safety protocols

Students taking the test with the British Council in the UAE will have to follow a number of health and safety protocols and will not be able to attend the test if they are under a quarantine, self-quarantine, stay-at-home, or medical surveillance order, as specified by the local authorities. They will also not be able to attend if they have a high temperature, persistent cough, difficulty breathing, or other flu-like symptoms.

Precautionary measures in place include temperature screening at the test venue, ensuring staff and test-takers always stay two meters apart, and the use of face masks, which must be worn by both staff and candidates.


Students can now take their IELTS in Dubai

The tests will begin on June 30, and students have been asked to note that spaces are limited for certain exam dates.

Dubai, June 28, 2020: Students looking to study abroad can now prepare and sign up to take their IELTS in testing centers across Dubai.

IDP Education, the education provider responsible for managing the test, along with the British Council and Cambridge, announced that students can book a slot for the test on the IDP IELTS website.

Students can locate their nearest test center and book a slot on a date that suits them. Students will need to provide a clear, scanned copy of their passport or ID for registration. The Computer-Delivered IELTS tests cost Dh1,260, while the Paper-based IELTS tests cost Dh1,130. The tests will begin on June 30, and students have been asked to note that spaces are limited for certain exam dates.

IDP Education and the British Council have announced that they have implemented safety protocols from relevant governmental bodies to ensure test takers are safe in all centers across Dubai. All test center staff, including registration staff, invigilators, and examiners, are trained on safety, hygiene, and sanitization procedures for both Paper-Based and Computer Delivered IELTS. New safety precautions include two-meter spacing between test tables, disposable headphone covers, a reduced amount of test-takers per session, examiners wearing masks, test room disinfection, and deep cleaning after every test.

IELTS is a globally recognized test, required for non-native English speaking students when applying to study abroad in selected countries. The test is also a requirement when applying for certain international visas.

Rashi Bhattacharya, country director of IDP Education, said that taking IELTS is an important step for all candidates looking to study abroad or planning their immigration journey.

"We advise all test takers to study and prepare for their IELTS to maximize their score," she said.

"Although Covid-19 has had a direct impact on many of our students re-locating this year for international studies, we hope to see a surge in applicants for 2021. We have all the processes in place and ready while taking the safety of our students, test-takers, and staff into consideration to help support this demand."

To find out about the IELTS Test Centers in the UAE, visit this link for complete details: List of all IELTS Test Centers in the UAE


COVID-19: Information for the global test taker community

The IELTS Partners are committed to protecting the health of our test takers, while also trying to minimize disruption to life-changing opportunities for international higher education and migration.

IELTS indicator

To address this, we have introduced the IELTS Indicator, an online test aimed to help students progress their study abroad applications during this time of uncertainty.

Which countries are open for testing

In locations where it is permitted and safe to do so, IELTS testing is going ahead, with additional precautions in place to help protect the health of test-takers and staff.

In particular, we ask test-takers not to attend an IELTS test if they have been in contact with anybody suspected to have been exposed to novel coronavirus (Covid-19), or who have a cough, fever, or are showing signs of being short of breath. Additional requirements may apply depending on the region where you are taking the test. Test takers may contact our teams to discuss options for transferring to a later date or refunds.

For the complete list of testing locations, centers where Testing has been suspended & new health measures: you can view full details here.

Suspended testing

Testing is currently suspended in the following locations in line with official requirements. Please note, however, that the situation is evolving quickly, and it is possible that tests in other locations may be suspended at short notice. If you have any queries, please contact your test center.


British Council resumes IELTS testing in Dubai,

Dubai, June 7, 2020:

This comes on the back of local health authority and government guidance and will see the testing centers adhere to a number of health and safety precautions to protect both staff and candidates.

Test takers and staff should not attend the test if they are under a quarantine, self-quarantine, stay-at-home, or medical surveillance order, as specified by the Dubai government. They will also not be able to attend if they have a high temperature, persistent cough, difficulty breathing, or other flu-like symptoms.

Precautionary measures in place include temperature screening at the test venue, ensuring staff and test takers always stay two metres apart, and the use of face masks, which must be worn by both staff and candidates.

Speaking ahead of the reopening, Chris Rawlings. Regional Director Middle East and North Africa, British Council, said: "Our top priority is the health and safety of both our candidates and staff and we've adjusted our operations in Dubai to meet the recommended government guidelines.

"We have carried out an intensive risk assessment and have considered how social distancing measures can be adhered to, ensuring there are additional cleaning and hygiene facilities in place to minimize the risk of contamination. These precautions will be continuously kept under review and we will remain vigilant to the developing coronavirus situation.

"This has been a challenging time for many of our IELTS candidates and we look forward to again being part of their learning journey."


IELTS Partners launch a new online test to support students impacted by Covid-19 restrictions

Wednesday 15 April 2020:

IELTS has launched IELTS Indicator, an online English language test for students not able to attend an IELTS test center due to the Covid-19 related restrictions.

IELTS Indicator will assess a student’s English language skills in Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking in a timed, online test from the comfort of their home.

To ensure that the test focuses on real-life conversation skills, students will conduct their speaking test face to face with a trained IELTS Examiner via video call.

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IELTS Indicator content has been developed using the same high-quality standards as for all IELTS tests and has the same format and timing as the in-person IELTS. Tests will be marked by official IELTS Examiners.

Christine Nuttall, Managing Director IELTS at Cambridge Assessment English, said IELTS Indicator will help both students and education providers during this period of disruption.

“We know that many students globally have been affected by the suspension of in-person testing, with their international education aspirations delayed by Covid-19,” Ms. Nuttall said.

“In response to this, the IELTS Partners have developed a test that retains the quality and accuracy of IELTS to give education providers a clear indication of an applicant’s English language skills.

“While it is not intended to replace IELTS, education institutions will be able to use IELTS Indicator results to help assess students’ applications during this period of suspended in-person testing.

“We recognize that this is a difficult time and we want to ensure that education providers are still able to progress students’ applications. IELTS Indicator will provide a reliable, interim measure.

“Once test centers are able to re-open we will work to offer IELTS testing as soon as possible and have programs in place to help address additional demand,” she said.

The Indicator test will be available in selected locations where it is not currently possible to deliver in-person IELTS testing.

In these selected locations, the IELTS Indicator test will be delivered online once a week at scheduled times.

Bookings open from 22 April.

To learn more about IELTS Indicator, please visit


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular English language proficiency test. Over 10,000 organizations trust IELTS as a secure and reliable indicator of an individual’s ability to communicate in English for education, immigration, and professional accreditation. IELTS is jointly owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.

British Council is the UK’s international organization for education and cultural relations. Dedicated to building trust through the exchange of knowledge, the British Council is represented in over 100 countries.

IDP: IELTS Australia is a subsidiary of IDP Education – a world leader in international education offering student placement in Australia, Ireland, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. IDP: IELTS Australia manages a network of IELTS test centers in over 60 countries.

Cambridge Assessment English is the world's leading provider of exams for English learners. These exams are taken by more than 5 million people in 140 countries annually.

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Covid-19 may have potentially delayed your study plans or career goals. We remain intently focussed and are with you in these tough times. Offering uninterrupted online & classroom prep classes for all our clients during the pandemic.



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