Change is the only constant in life. IELTS, the world’s most reliable English language test is no exception to that rule. For the safety of your health and wellbeing, the British Council has introduced the IELTS Video Call Speaking (VCS) test in some centres in India.
This means the test is conducted over Zoom with the examiner. The test format, questions, timing and assessment criteria are the same. The only thing that has changed is that when you enter the speaking room, you see the examiner virtually instead of physically.
So, don’t panic if you come to know that the centre, where you have enrolled for your IELTS test, is now a VCS centre. In this blog, we will tell you exactly what to expect in your VCS test.
Before the IELTS Video Call Speaking test
When you report to the test centre, the registration/ identification verification process remains unchanged. After the registration the usher will take you to the speaking room where you will be asked to sit in front of a computer screen and wear a pair of sanitised headphones. The usher will start the recording on the laptop, verify your name and candidate number with the examiner.
The examiner will do a sound check to ensure s/he is audible to you. The test will only begin after you have confirmed that you and the examiner can hear each other clearly. The usher will remain in the room with you until the audibility check is complete. If you have any technical issues with the headphone or with connectivity, the usher will help you resolve them before the test begins.
During the IELTS Video Call Speaking test
After the usher has left the room, the examiner will read out some information about the test date, your name and candidate number and test centre. The examiner will begin to time the test from the moment they say “good morning/afternoon/evening”. From then on, the test will proceed exactly like the in-person test except for a slight change in part 2. In an in-person test, the examiner hands over the topic cue card to you before your one-minute preparation time. In the VCS test, they will share their screen with you and the topic will appear on the laptop screen.
Once the topic appears on the screen, you can start making your notes using the paper kept on the side. Don’t panic if it takes a few seconds for the topic to appear on your screen, your one-minute preparation time will start only after the topic is visible on the screen. The topic for your long turn will remain on the screen for the two minutes that you speak on it so that you can use the bullet points given there to structure your response. The examiner will stop sharing the screen after the two minutes are up and they will instruct you to put away the paper and pencil before moving on to part 3 of the test which remains unchanged. All you have to do is maintain eye contact with the examiner by looking directly at the camera on the laptop, listen carefully to the questions and answer them to the best of your ability. You don’t have to touch or operate any equipment at all. All we expect you to do is speak well, achieve the highest possible band and use the IELTS test to unlock the door to a bright future for yourself.
After the IELTS Video Call Speaking test
Once the examiner confirms that the test is over, you have to press the buzzer on the table. The usher will come into the speaking room, will help you dispose off the rough paper that you used for making notes during part 2, and will accompany you back to the waiting area. You will be asked to wait for a short while, until the test day supervisor has checked the recording to ensure that there were no technical glitches during the test. Once they do that, you are good to go. All you have to do after that is wait for your test results.
So, what are you waiting for now? Register for the IELTS test with the British Council and don’t worry if your test centre is a VCS test centre. We promise you a smooth, safe and technologically savvy, start to your journey towards a bright future.