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IELTS on Computer vs IELTS on Paper

In 2017, IELTS introduced the option for you to take the test on a computer instead of on paper. First in Australia, and now available around the world. So, what is the difference between computer-delivered IELTS and paper-based IELTS?

If you’ve done IELTS before, you might know the paper test. For this test, the Listening, Reading and Writing sections will be paper-based and the Speaking test will be conducted face-to-face with a trained IELTS Examiner. So, what about the computer test? IELTS on computer is exactly the same test as paper-based IELTS, but instead of writing your answers on paper, you will type them on a computer. However, there are some benefits of doing IELTS on a computer.

What is the difference between IELTS on computer and IELTS on paper?

If you’re familiar with the paper test, you might notice a few changes between the paper test and the computer test. The obvious change, the paper tests uses a pencil, the computer test you type. Also, the Listening test is shorter in the computer test. What hasn’t changed is the Speaking test.

Pencil or keyboard?

At the paper-based IELTS test, we’ll give you a pencil and an answer sheet. You need to write your answers on the answer sheet before the time runs out. With computer-delivered IELTS, you type your answers in the corresponding boxes on your screen. We’ll still give you a pencil or pen and paper to make notes – even if you do IELTS on computer. Are you concerned about not typing fast enough? There’s no need to worry: the computer test is designed for people with normal typing skills. If you can write an email, you can do the computer-delivered test.

Same order of the test

Like the paper test, the Computer-delivered IELTS starts with Listening, followed by Reading, Writing. The Speaking test takes place on the same day, either before or after your computer test.

The Listening test is shorter

If you’ve done a paper-based IELTS test before, you may remember that you need to write your answers in the question booklet while you listen to the recording. So, in the paper test you get 10 minutes at the end of the Listening section to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. In the computer test, you type your answers in their appropriate places on the screen. You do get time between sections to check your answers but no extra time at the end. Because you’ve already completed your answers, the 10 minutes is not needed. Besides, you won’t miss it.

The test venue

Paper-based IELTS tests are usually conducted in a larger room. Sometimes at a university, or at a hotel centrally located. Computer-delivered IELTS tests are done in smaller, custom-built, brand-new rooms. Everything in the computer-delivered test room is designed for your comfort.

You get headphones

Apart from a new test room, everyone doing IELTS on computer has their own computer, a quality screen and your own headphones for the Listening test. You don’t need to talk to a machine with IELTS, so there is no microphone in your way. Even better, we make sure that our headphones are good. Most test computer-delivered test centres offer noise-cancelling headphones, so you can focus on your own performance.

Paper-based or Computer-delivered Ielts