IELTS Test in Australia: special arrangements for people with learning difficulties

IELTS Test in Australia: special arrangements for people with learning difficulties

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is the most recognized English certification in Australia and in the world, and is the prerequisite for accessing university courses and for applying for most Australian sponsors and permanent visas.

Special arrangements for the IELTS test

Few people know that there are special arrangements that can be required at IELTS test centres. This means that candidates that have learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, will have a modified version of IELTS.

1.1 Required documents

What medical evidence must I have?
You must give the centre a report about your learning difficulty:

  • written when you were aged 12 or older
  • with full details of your learning difficulty and tests which have been carried out
  • written by a fully qualified psychologist (educational, clinical or chartered).

1.2 What special arrangements can I ask for?

1.2.1 Extra time
You may need extra time to complete a paper (e.g. if it takes you a long time to
read the questions or texts, or write your answers).
You can normally ask for an extra 25% of the normal time for a paper. So, if a
paper takes one hour, you will get an extra 15 minutes.
You can ask for more than 25% extra time if you think you will need it.
Remember, however, that too much extra time may make you very tired.

You may also ask for a modified version of a Listening test, which is a way of
giving you extra time in the test. The supervisor will:

  • stop the CD before each part of the test to give you enough time to read the questions
  • stop the CD at certain points during each part to give you enough time to write one or more answers
  • stop the CD after each part to give you enough time to check your answers.

1.2.2 Supervised breaks
1.2.3 Writing your answers using a computer
1.12.4 Having a copier (or transcriber)
1.2.5 Help filling in your answer sheets
1.2.6 Transparent coloured overlays
1.2.7 You may apply for enlarged print copies of an exam paper
1.2.8 Other equipment

Ask your IELTS test centre if you want to use any other type of
equipment, for example, a screen magnifier.

What documentation do I need?

If you require special arrangements to be made, e.g. extra time or a modified version of IELTS, you must give the test centre six weeks’ notice. It is necessary to obtain the approval of the centre by presenting the necessary documentation.
In particular, it is essential to give a medical certificate issued in a period not earlier than two years before the date of the exam, and issued by a fully qualified psychologist.

There are several specialized centre in Australia that offer a diagnostic assessment service for dyslexia by an independent, qualified and registered psychologist. Assessment includes several cognitive tests covering language skills, visual skills, reasoning and memory tests, processing speed, etc. The assessment service includes a detailed report, certified by a registered psychologist.

Which centres provide assessment of Dyslexia in Australia?

Among the various centre available in Australia there are:

Dyslexia Australia
headquartered in Queensland, Springwood.
This centre offers both face-to-face and telehealth appointments (i.e. via videocall), thus allowing access to the diagnostic assessment service from all over Australia.

Dyslexia Queensland
Located in Hervey Bay, Queensland

Australian Dyslexia Association
A government association that offers a diagnostic pre-assessment service for dyslexia and makes it possible to understand whether or not a complete assessment is necessary. This is an ideal solution, as well as cheaper than others, for those with learning difficulties. It operates in every state of Australia.

located in Sydney, New South Wales.
Conduct diagnostic evaluations for dyslexia and Irlen's syndrome.
466 King Georges Rd, Beverly Hills NSW 2209

The costs for a diagnostic evaluation of dyslexia vary from one centre to another but generally are around $800.

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