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What happens if you are caught cheating on your IELTS test?

Source: Jazmin Quaynor/ Unsplash

For many international students, getting into their chosen university abroad is one of the biggest decision of their life. A lot is at stake.

It’s no wonder then that many are willing to do whatever it takes to gaining that coveted admission into their university of choice.

If you plan to study in the United Kingdom, Canada or Australia, you’ll likely be required to take an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test to assess your English language capability if you are from a country that does not recognise English as its national language.

There are four parts to the test: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. The 2 hours and 45 minutes test could be the key decider whether your university application gets admitted or not. Do well and you’ve got one part of your application done and sorted. Fail, and you could stand to wait another year if you aren’t able to re-take the IELTS on time for your application deadlines.

With stakes this high, it’s no wonder then that many students and parents resort to unscrupulous means to pass and get the scores they need. There are even highly-organised rings offering leaks to exam questions and fake candidates to take the test on your behalf.

It’s important to stress that cheating, in any form or manner, is prohibited by IELTS. Those caught will risk jeopardising their university and study visa application.

IELTS candidates usually receive a notice stating they must not “engage in any form of malpractice which may damage the integrity and security of the IELTS test”.

This malpractice includes, but is not limited to attempting to cheat in any way; impersonating another candidate or having another person; impersonate you; copying the work of another candidate; disrupting the test in any way; reproducing any part of the test in any medium; attempting to alter the data on the Test Report Form.

Several measures are in place to safeguard against the falsification of results. Test-takers’ photographs will be taken on the day of your IELTS test and this will appear on your IELTS Test Report Form. Fraud prevention measures are in place to enable IELTS to identify counterfeit Test Report Forms (TRFs).

The consequences are dire if one is caught cheating. Candidates will not be allowed to complete the
test and will not receive an IELTS test result. If they are found to have cheated on test after their result has been issued, their results will be cancelled.

British Council’s website states: “Immigration agencies and institutions that accept IELTS scores will cancel your application and exclude you from applying again if false documentation is submitted. Test-takers engaging in malpractice may also be liable to legal action.”

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