The IELTS exam, be it Academic or General Training, is really difficult and so many candidates feel disappointed when they receive their results. They often feel as though their band score is too low and so they wonder if there is anything that they can do except for sitting the test again.
In fact, there is something they can do: request a remark / revaluation of their exam. This is typically called an “enquiry on results” (EOR) and it is a formal process you can pursue with the British Council or IDP, depending on who you sat your test with.
In this article, you will find out how to go about that process and also whether it is worthwhile.
Should I Request a Remark of my IELTS Results?
First of all, before we look at the process of requesting a remark, let’s briefly ask whether or not it is a good idea. The main thing is how far away you were from your target score. If you were more than 0.5 away, there is essentially no reason to apply for a remark. This is because IELTS examiners are carefully trained and will not differ with each other more than by 0.5 band.
It is also important to note that only your scores for speaking and writing would likely change, so if you got a low score for reading or listening, it would not be appropriate to go for a remark. These scores are calculated quickly according to a simple computer formula, and thus there would not be a possibility of them changing unless a clerical error had been made.
Considering all that, a remark is only worthwhile if you got 0.5 less than your target score for speaking or writing. However, you should still ask yourself whether you really think you deserved to get more than your actual score. Consider that the examiners are well trained and seldom make mistakes, and there are many reasons why your score might have dropped.
Finally, you can only apply for a remark within 6 weeks of your original test date. That means if you have thought about this for a long time, it may be too late to apply.
How to Request an IELTS Test Remark
If you are sure that you want to apply for a remark, then you must get in touch with the British Council or IDP, depending on who you took your test with. The process will be the same for either organisation.
All you need to do is fill in a request form. You should search for “Enquiry on Result Application Form” and then then download it from the official website. This must be submitted along with the correct fee. It is important to note that requesting a remark on your IELTS test results is not free. You will pay a large fee for this. (At the time of writing, it is AU$176.)
In addition to the form and fee, you must also submit a copy of your ID and your original Test Report Form.
What Happens Next?
When you apply for a remark, your original exam materials will be sent to a new IELTS examiner, who will review them and assign a grade. This examiner will not be aware of your original score, so they will not be influenced by this.
From here, one of three things will happen:
- In most cases, you will be assigned the same score. This is the harsh reality of IELTS. The examiners are well trained to give a fair grade, and even though you are unhappy with your result, it will be the one that all examiners agree upon. In this case, your original result will not change.
- You may even be given a lower score – however, in that case your grade would revert to the original IELTS band you had been given.
- Very rarely, a person’s IELTS band score is increased after a remark.
In the event that your IELTS score is increased, you will be issued with a new Test Report Form indicating your new grade and you will also be issued with a refund for the fee that you paid. Of course, you will not get your money back if you receive the same grade.
This whole process takes up to four weeks, depending on the number of modules that you have requested to be remarked but it may also be completed within just a few days. If you have not received your new score after 28 days, you should get in touch with the appropriate test centre.