IELTS Energy 163: How to Avoid Score-killing Time Traps

IELTS score-killing time traps

What is an invigilator?

What does their job have to do with timing?

How could they impact your score on Reading and Writing?

One of our listeners was in the Reading exam a few weeks ago and he got thrown off by the person who was keeping the time.

He thought that the invigilator would remind him after 20 minutes had gone by but maybe he misunderstood what this person was going to do so this caused him to get thrown off and confused.

The “invigilator” is supposed to do the following:

  • Control the morning exam by checking your passport
  • Fingerprint you
  • Check your belongings and give you a ticket
  • Give you the rules
  • Tell you what time you can enter the test room
  • Assign you a desk
  • Control the time during the test (they should give you clear instructions and write the time on the board). They should write the time remaining at 60 minutes, 40 minutes, and 20 minutes left.


What you need to know:

Sometimes these invigilators are not trained professionals.

They might be college students trying to make extra money.

They have many tasks to do.

For this reason they might not do everything right.

They might make a mistake.

They might forget to write the time warning on the board.


Don’t rely on the invigilator:

Timing is YOUR responsibility.

Keep your eye on the clock in the room.

If the invigilator makes a mistake and you don’t time your test correctly because of that then you won’t be able to do the test again. You won’t be able to blame it on anyone.

Take on some of the responsibility yourself and you will see a higher score.


How to avoid problems with timing:

It’s important to prepare under test conditions so that you know what 20 minutes feels like and what 40 minutes feels like.

You need to practice timing yourself doing each step (plan, write, check) to get a sense of the correct timing for each step.

This should become second-nature by the time you walk into the test because you need to have done it many many times before test day.


Do you have any questions about today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Photo Credit:
  • Timing is your JOB / REPONSIBILITY . It’s something you take part in , and you control . You are capable of transforming this force / stress into energy . Don’t blame on anyone but yourself !

  • Happy Birthday To A Very Special AEE Teacher – Teacher Michelle !
    May your birthday shine so bright
    From morning till night
    The birthday feeling is the new beginning
    The spirit of living is also giving
    Have a wonderful day , every day !

    • Michelle

      Hi Mollie,

      Thank you so much for your birthday wishes. It is so sweet of you. Have a great day!


  • 1) ( It’s ) nice to see you here again . How have things been since I saw you last birthday party ?
    2) Hi I think we met back in summer . How have you been ?
    3) Hi great to see you again . What’s the update on your IELTS preparation ?
    4) Your name is / was Jessica right ?
    5) Hey last time you mentioned about going to the States . How is it / that going ?
    6) Anyways , it was great catching up with you . Talk to you later .

  • Meekun

    Happy birthday Michelle.
    And thank you for making learning English fun and producing the wonderful podcast.

    • Michelle

      Hi Meekun,

      Thank you so much for the birthday wishes! Sorry for the late response. You really helped make my day! You’re welcome-I am so happy you enjoy AEE!


  • AlanKuo0920

    Happy Birthday Michelle!!!
    Thank you for everything you’ve done:)

    • Michelle

      Thank YOU so much! I really appreciate it! 🙂 Have a great day!


  • Tatiana

    Happy Birthday Michelle!!! Enjoy your day!!!

    • Michelle

      Hi Tatiana,

      Thank you SO much! I did enjoy my birthday, thanks! Have a great day!


  • Arivali

    Happy Birthday Michell …

    • Michelle

      Thank you so much! It means so much to me.


  • Fan Li

    Hi Michelle,
    Happy Birthday! I’m sending you a day when all of your dreams come true, and a year that means the most for you! Hope this special day could bring you the best luck, the happiest time, the warmest regards for next year! I’m so glad to have you two everyday in my pocket, brightening my day with your energetic voices!

    • Michelle

      Hi Fan Li,

      Thank you so much for the beautiful birthday wishes! It means so much to me. I’m so glad you are enjoying AEE and are such a great listener!

      All the best,


      • Michelle

        Also, have a great day!

  • Eriko

    Happy birthday, Michelle!
    I’ve been a fan of your beautiful voice.
    Thank you so much for your nice and interesting shows.
    Hope your special day will be much brighter.

    • Michelle

      Hi Eriko,

      Aww, thank you so much! I really appreciate the sweet message. Have a great day!

  • Mirjana

    Hey 🙂

    I listen to you every day, and you are awesome! Best wishes,

    Mirjana from Serbia