Quite a number of students have approached me and asked for my advice as to when it is best to apply for a remarking in IELTS, and their more common concerns revolve around their writing and speaking tests.
Well, first of all, students need to reflect first on two essential things. On the one hand, have they prepared well for the test, and on the other hand, do they think they have done really well in the test? If the students say no to either of the questions, they might as well think twice about applying for a remarking.
Secondly, students need to look at the difference between the subtest they wish to be remarked and the results of the other subtests. The bigger the difference is, the more the remarking becomes successful. My personal tip, if the difference is at least 1.0 full band score, then, by all means, students should exercise their right to question the results. If the difference is only 0.5, students are better advised retaking the test.
Finally, after the students have considered the first two steps, they need to make the final decision by listening to their gut feel. Do they think they deserve a much higher score? If they feel more certain than being doubtful, then they have to apply for a remarking.
Scores do not go lower when they are remarked. To maintain the integrity of the results, raters consider the higher score (either the original grade or the second grade). My final advice then is for students to have both writing and speaking tests remarked. For as long as there is an increase in either subtests, the remarking fees are refunded in full. However, mistakes are rarely committed as regards the rating of both listening and reading tests. If these are your weaker components, I suggest you go to a very reliable review center and avail of its IELTS review program.
(Mr. Balba is the founder and director of TSAA-IELTS. Having been a full-time IELTS mentor for 15 years, he has produced at least 6,000 IELTS passers. Currently, he is the only Filipino teacher who holds a certificate from Cambridge University Press as IELTS teacher with a rating of 100%. He personally mentors ALL the students of TSAA-IELTS Davao and TSAA-IELTS Manila.)