What is happening?
IELTS is enhancing its security systems in order to keep pace with evolving technology. IELTS is increasing its level of security and will capture a photograph of candidates on test day and this will be used on the Test Report Form (TRF). The new systems have been piloted successfully around the world, and all centres worldwide will be using them in 2012 in addition to the online Test Report Verification Service (TRFVS) used by educational institutions, governments, professional bodies and commercial organisations.
What is changing?
All IELTS candidates will have their photo taken by IELTS staff on test day before the test. In some countries IELTS will also require candidates to provide a finger scan.The photograph taken by test centre staff will appear on the IELTS Test Report Form (TRF).
What is a finger scan?
The new identity verification process collects a finger scan, to assist our test day staff to verify candidate identity and ensure secure access to all areas. A finger scan is different to a finger-print, which IELTS does not collect.
Why is IELTS making this change?
IELTS is dedicated to protecting the genuine candidate, whilst at the same time ensuring the highest standard of customer care and the validity of test scores.These additional security arrangements will provide additional protection for genuine candidates against fraudsters and those who try to exploit test takers. They also provide receiving organisations the additional reassurance that the person whose photograph appears on the TRF is the person who took the test.
What will happen to my data?
Your digital photograph and all personal data will be used only for the purpose of the IELTS test.Your finger scan will be stored as a binary reference and cannot be converted back into an image. An actual image of the finger-scan is never stored. The British Council regards the lawful and correct treatment of personal information as important to our successful operations and to the maintenance of confidence of those with whom we deal. As such this statement will apply equally to all of our offices irrespective of where they are based. We will ensure that our staff and those acting on our behalf obtain, use and disclose personal information lawfully and correctly. To this end we fully adhere to the principles of data protection, as set out in the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (the “Act”). We shall apply the Act globally, except where part or all of any local law is stronger.
How long will the new process take and will there be any impact on the test start time?
The IELTS partners have chosen the identity verification system after more than a year’s market research, system development and intensive piloting. The system is performing to standard and candidates will continue to be processed quickly. You are advised to arrive for registration at the time indicated by your test centre and follow test day instructions.
Do I still need to submit photos to register given that my photo will be taken on test day?
Yes, you are still required to submit passport size colour photograph(s) along with your application form, whether offline or online. The photograph must be taken within the past 6 months and against a white background. Hard copy photos must be passport size, with the candidate’s full name written on the back.
Is the IELTS identity verification procedure similar to that of other tests?
The system we are using is designed solely for the IELTS test, and is in line with the IELTS partners’ commitment to customer care, test security, and with the many innovations we have introduced over the last 20 years. We do not comment on the security procedures of other test providers.
What can I expect on test day?
Your test day photograph and/or finger scan will be taken at the entrance to the testing room, ensuring secure access to all areas. The finger scan will be matched when you return to the testing room after every comfort break.
Can I refuse to take the test day photo?
The IELTS test day photograph is an integral part of IELTS’ strategy of protecting the genuine candidate and providing security to receiving organisations. If you have any questions, or experience any inconvenience on the test day, please notify our staff immediately. Refusal to comply with IELTS identity verification will prevent you from taking the test, and you will not be eligible for any transfer, cancellation or refund.