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A. You must write in pencil for the Listening and Reading components. In the Writing test, a pen or pencil may be used - http://www.ieltsessentials.com/faqs.aspx.
There is no computer used - it is only a paper exam. Most likely each center will have a clock, however, best would be to take a digital watch.
A. In the speaking exam, you will speak directly to a person and it is recorded also. Speak to the person not the recorder.
A. I have heard it has been broadcast to the room in some exam centers. I am not sure, if some will issue headsets - at least one student said they found it a bit hard to hear. If you cannot hear clearly in the exam for any reason, immediately contact the examiner and ask them to reseat you etc..
A. Whilst some people may pass without preparation, for others it may be much harder.
A. I have never heard that - one previous candidate said they had failed it for about 10 years.
A. I have heard that some centers are not so organised and the grading was not so professsional- I do not have first-hand experiene of that.
Yes, however it might cost time and money. I heard from one apparent previous IELTS examiner that writing and speaking may be more easy to improve.
About 13 days I have heard from previous students.
The highest grade possible is a 9.