IELTS is now offered in 2 formats, namely: paper based IELTS and computer delivered IELTS. Most students are familiar with the paper based version.
If you choose to take the computer delivered IELTS test, you will take the Listening, Reading and Writing components using a desktop computer. All aspects of the test are identical to the paper-based IELTS test, including:
- Question types
However there are some advantages of taking computer delivered IELTS. Here are some tips if you are considering to take the computer based version of IELTS.
Actual Test Experience:
- Hands down, the writing module experience is the most improved in computer delivered IELTS! It allows easy planning and flexible writing which cannot be emphasised more.
- Word count is included under the typing text-box. This is very very useful because you don't rush yourself to erase an entire well-structured sentence that you perhaps took few minutes to construct. Instead, the count on screen encourages you to write precisely from the beginning.
- You can cut, paste, erase using backspace and undo sentences easily.
- Restructuring a paragraph is much easier than paper based version. For instance, sometime you may not understand the question or the task right away. You may start typing and then wonder "Hmm, maybe I'm a bit off topic here. Let's change the argument to make it sounds stronger by adding few words here and there". In the computer delivered version, you can do this very easily without making your work look messy.
- If you are one of those endowed with "doctor's hand writing" then the computer delivered test is a God send for you. You do not need to worry about illegible and badly formed words.
- Practice typing as much as possible. If you are not comfortable typing on a computer then this format is not for you.
- Know your IELTS essay types or required structure beforehand. This will guide you through writing and save your time.
- Reading module experience too is tremendously improved in computer delivered IELTS.
- You can highlight, copy, paste words or sentences easily.
- In the T/F/NG section you don't need to type anything ; just select the letter from a menu. No more confusion about whether you should write T or True or Yes or Y for the answer.
- "Summary Completion" part of the reading is much easier and faster to complete on the computer. You can copy (ctrl+c) the text or a word and paste (ctrl+v) it in the blanks.
- There is no search function to find a word in the text. Ctrl+F does not work
- The difficulty level is the same as the paper-based test.
- Aside from practising reading on a computer, make sure to highlight keywords or topic sentences in each paragraph as you read so you don't lose their location. This is especially helpful in part 3 which has a long passage.
- You need to sleep extremely well the night before the exam as staring at the screen for 60 minutes isn't friendly to the eyes.
- Although you get your own headphones and can clearly hear the audio, typing while listening can be a bit challenging. But, this totally depends on the individual's comfort level with typing which is a skill you need to master for the computer-delivered version.
- The biggest difference is that unlike the paper based IELTS, you DO NOT get 10 minutes at the end of the computer delivered IELTS to transfer your answers. Instead you get ~2 minutes at the end of the listening test to review all the sections.
- Although you are given a piece of paper, honestly, you will have NO time to transfer answers to the screen if you write them on the paper. So just type the answers on the screen.
- Between listening section(s), you usually get 30 seconds to check your answers and 30 seconds to skim the next section.
- Difficulty level is about the same in both test types.
- Practice listening on a computer and typing on the screen as you listen.
- Enter your answers straight away on the screen. Don't ever write anything on paper with the hope to transfer it later.
Useful resources for IELTS preparation:
- Free IELTS Level Check
- Free tutorials on all 4 IELTS modules
- Recent IELTS exam questions from all over the world
- IELTS Model Answers for Academic and General Writing tasks
- IELTS Speaking & Writing Focus WhatsApp Group
Finally, if you need feedback from an experienced IELTS teacher for your writing or speaking tasks, simply subscribe to one of our CORRECTION packs