Is it true that taking rural Punjab as your center will give you more bands in the IELTS?

Do rural Punjab centers give better IELTS band scores? Is the exam particularly “easy” in Punjab? Is there an easy way to pass the exam? Google sometimes returns peculiar suggested searches for the IELTS:

These can be quite the rabbit hole if you venture deep enough! What I find interesting is that many students look for “easy centers” (many of which seemingly exist in rural Punjab) where, according to them, is is true that the examiners are “lenient and give more bands”. Some people even offer to take your test for you, but of course, the results are disastrous and often life-altering, such as this incident in Amritsar.

One of my earliest students once asked me if he would be better off flying to Thailand to take his exam. His reasoning? Examiners in his country, India, must be overwhelmed with the number of applicants and would be less likely to give them high band scores. If any of these cases were indeed true, my student from rural Punjab would’ve gotten an 8777 in his first attempt and would never have felt the need to contact me for help with test preparation.


Of course, it goes without saying that these are just unfounded rumours. It is absolutely untrue that picking any rural town or village as your test center would somehow help you get a better band score. Let’s see what test centers are generally supposed to do:
1. Provide you a place to take your test
2. Make it possible for your answer sheets to be delivered to the examiners
3. Provide your test scores to you
4. Provide a Speaking examiner to you


Do test centers by themselves determine what band scores a student receives? Not at all. So it does NOT matter if you take your test in Punjab or in Paris, the band scores you receive will be those that your performance deserves. Is is absolutely not true that taking your exam in rural Punjab has any bearing on your band score.

Examiners attached to all IELTS exam centers have been teachers for some years and are required to have a CELTA or a Master’s degree in teaching English. They receive the same sort of training from IDP or British Council. There is no difference! If they do not follow the marking criteria and give you a higher or lower score than you deserve, they can be sent for re-training or may lose their examining license. Clearly, examining is taken very seriously! If you want to find out why you’re still stuck at a 6.5 in Writing, for example, read this: Why do I keep getting 6.5 in IELTS Writing? 

Test centers are franchises, so of course, the quality of your service might differ. I knew someone who took her test in an IDP center in the Philippines who  was offered a sandwich after her test (how nice, right?!). Most test centers, of course, do not (rural towns or otherwise). Similarly, some test centers have modern computers, while some others only offer the pen-and-paper exam. So choosing the right test center is obviously important because you don’t want to end up taking your exam in a hot and cramped room without any air conditioning! 

Got any more burning IELTS questions? Fire away in the comments section!

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