Computer-delivered IELTS FAQ

Computer-delivered IELTS – Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. What is a computer-delivered IELTS?
Answer: Computer-delivered IELTS test is taken on a computer instead of paper. The computer-delivered test also will cover the same type of Listening, Reading and Writing components as the paper-based IELTS version in terms of content, scoring, and the level of difficulty and question types. The Speaking test in the computer-delivered IELTS will still be conducted by a certified IELTS Examiner just as the paper-based test.

Q. How is computer-delivered IELTS test different?
Answer: The IELTS test is delivered in two formats. One type of test is paper-based while the other type is taken on a computer. There is virtually no difference between computer-delivered IELTS and paper-based test since all aspects of both the tests are identical, including the question types, content, timings and marking. However, in the case of a computer-delivered IELTS test, the candidate takes the test (except speaking) on a computer. Besides, in the computer-delivered Listening test, the timing is slightly different from the paper-based test. This is because the paper-based test requires candidates to transfer answers to an answer sheet and they are allowed an additional 10 minutes to do so. This step becomes redundant when answering directly on a computer.

Here is a video by the British Council that highlights the benefits of taking Computer-delivered IELTS. This is a pretty good video that would definitely clear some doubts that you might have regarding taking the Computer-delivered IELTS.


Q. Will my computer-delivered IELTS test score be accepted by all universities?
Answer: In terms of test score acceptance, there are no differences between the computer-delivered and paper-based IELTS tests. So, universities that accept traditional (paper-based) IELTS will also accept the computer-delivered IELTS test score.

Q. Is the computer-based IELTS harder than the paper-based IELTS?
Answer: No, it isn’t. The computer-delivered test will cover the same type of Listening, Reading and Writing components as the paper-based IELTS version in terms of content, scoring and the level of difficulty and question types. Besides, the Speaking test will still be conducted by a certified IELTS Examiner. On top of that, some candidates might prefer to take a computer-delivered IELTS test because they feel more comfortable writing on a computer. To find out what are some advantages of taking a computer-delivered IELTS test.

Q. Can I take a computer-delivered IELTS if I need to attend the IELTS GT module?
Answer: Yes, computer-delivered tests are available for both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.

Q. Does the computer-delivered IELTS test cost the same as the paper-based IELTS?
Answer: Yes, the costs of taking the computer-delivered IELTS test and paper-based IELTS test are the same.

Q. Which test is best for me – Paper-based or computer-delivered IELTS?
Answer: Well, it depends on personal preference. While some test takers prefer paper-based exams as this might feel similar to other exam situations from schools, whereas others might feel more comfortable with computer-delivered IELTS test that involves typing answers. While all the four sections of computer-delivered IELTS are completed on the same day, only the Listening, Reading and Writing sections of paper-based IELTS are completed on the same day. The order in which these tests are taken may vary. There are no breaks between these three tests. The Speaking test on the paper-based test, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. Finally, you can expect to get your test result earlier if you take a computer-delivered IELTS test.

So, if a person wants a faster test result, he or she should go for a computer-based IELTS test. Another advantage of the computer-delivered test is that there are more test sessions which are available throughout the week. Computer-delivered test also offers the speaking test on the same day. Finally, computer-based IELTS test offers last-minute test registration also. However, special need candidates still prefer paper-based IELTS tests.

Anyway, apart from these options, all other features of both types of test formats are the same. So, an IELTS test candidate may want to weigh the options for formats and then decide which test is best for him or her.

Q. Can I take all the sections of a computer-based IELTS test on a computer?
Answer: No, someone may not be able to take all the sections of a computer-based IELTS test on a computer, just as one can’t take all the sections of a paper-based test with paper and pencil, because in both forms of tests, speaking test is completed face-to-face with an authorized IELTS examiner. This kind of face-to-face discussion is needed because it allows the candidates to have a real-world speaking experience in real-time.

Q. Is the computer-delivered IELTS test marked by a computer or by a person?
Answer: The IELTS Reading and Listening sections are marked automatically by the computer, while the Writing and Speaking sections continue to be graded by the trained Examiners. So, essentially, both the human and computers mark the IELTS test, be it a paper-based IELTS test or a computer-delivered IELTS test.

Q. Does the computer-delivered test cover the same content as a paper-based version?
Answer: Yes, the computer-delivered test covers the same content in the listening, reading and writing parts as a paper-based version. The test will be the same as the paper-based IELTS version not only in terms of content but also in the scoring, level of difficulty and question types. The Speaking test will still be conducted by a certified IELTS Examiner in a computer-delivered test, so they are essentially the same.

Q. Is the computer-delivered IELTS available on demand?
Answer: Currently, the computer-delivered IELTS is not available “on demand” since registration for the computer-delivered IELTS follows the same procedure as the paper-based IELTS. However, booking a computer-delivered IELTS is much easier and hassle-free, according to many, and you can take a computer-delivered IELTS test on different slots in a day (ie. in the morning, evening) and finish the test in the same day.

Q. Do I need a computer of my own to take a computer-delivered IELTS test?
Answer: No, someone doesn’t really need to bring his or her own computer to the test centre. Test takers are not also allowed to bring any kinds of equipment, like headphones and keyboards, because everything necessary will be supplied by the test centre.

Here is another video that explains how easy and user-friendly the Computer-delivered IELTS really is.

Q. Can I pause or restart my Listening test?
Answer: No, you can’t pause or restart your computer-delivered Listening test. All the candidates start the Listening test at the same time and they can’t pause or restart the test. However, you can go back to previous questions or pages to correct an answer or can go forward as you would be able to do in a paper-based test.

Q. Is there any advantage of taking the “Listening” test in a computer-delivered exam?
Answer: There are no significant advantages of taking the ‘Listening’ test in a computer-delivered test according to the most test takes. However, some test-takers have reported that the “text highlighter”, using which you can select and highlight a section of text, is a good feature. Besides, you can use the “Tab” key on your keyboard to move from one section to another.

If we compare the Listening tests between computer-based exam and paper-based exams, we will notice that there is a little – just a little disadvantage in taking the listening test on a computer-based exam, as far as the issue of getting some extra time and its utilization is concerned. You won’t get an additional 10 minutes in a computer-delivered “Listening” test (because you don’t need to transfer your answer to the answer sheet) and so can’t utilise this additional time to check your answers or correct any mistakes.

Q. Will all the questions in the Listening and Reading section be multiple choice on the computer-delivered test?
Answer: No, the questions in the Listening and Reading sections on the computer-delivered test will NOT be only multiple choices as both the computer-delivered test and paper-based IELTS test ask a variety of question types, such as short answer questions, matching, multiple-choice, sentence completion, diagram labelling, summary completion, form completion, note completion, flow chart completion and table completion. However, we should also remember that not all these question types are necessarily always asked on both forms of the computer-delivered IELTS test and paper-based IELTS test.

Q. Can I bring my own laptop or keyboard?
Answer: No, unfortunately not. No equipment from outside is permitted. Besides, there is no need to bring your own keyboard or laptop as all equipment is provided by the test centres.

Q. Is the computer-delivered test easier because it is marked by a computer?
Answer: There is no difference in the level of difficulty between a paper-based test and computer-delivered test since the assessment criteria are the same for both the computer-delivered and paper-based IELTS.

Q. Does the computer-delivered IELTS mean I’ll get my results sooner?
Answer: Yes, it is possible to get the IELTS result sooner if you take the computer-delivered IELTS test. A candidate who takes the computer-delivered IELTS test receives the results within five to seven days after the test is taken. On the other hand, it would take approximately 13 days to get the paper-based IELTS test results.

Q. Will there be more IELTS sessions available now with the introduction of computer-delivered tests?
Answer: Initially there was only a few computer-delivered IELTS sessions available per month in a limited number of test centres. However, increased frequency and availability of IELTS has been introduced from 2018. These days, it is very common that you can book a computer-delivered IELTS test on the day you like and even at the time you want (ie. in the morning or in the evening). If you want to find further information on this subject, please check with your local IELTS test centre.

Q. I think I need special arrangements for me to take IELTS. Can I still sit the computer-delivered test?
Answer: There are several options available to support special requirements through the paper-based format. Gradually, computer-delivered IELTS is also offering those support. Test takers, who have special needs and requirements, are generally encouraged to take the paper-based IELTS test. We would, however, advise you to contact the local British Council or IDP office to assess your needs and discuss if the computer-delivered test is suitable for you.

Q. Is the computer-delivered IELTS more widely available than PTE and/or TOEFL IBT?
Answer: Yes, computer-delivered IELTS tests are now more widely available than TOEFL IBT, with about 3 test sessions, 7 days a week, for computer-based IELTS while TOEFL IBT has only 50 test dates per year. On the other hands, of course, PTE academic tests are offered 365 days a year, which makes it little less widely available than IELTS.

Q. How does the computer-delivered IELTS compare to PTE and/or TOEFL IBT?
Answer: With IELTS, test takers can feel confident they are sitting the world’s most popular high-stakes English language test for study, work and migration since IELTS is trusted by 10,000 organisations worldwide for its fairness, reliability and high-quality standards. This can be said for both computer-delivered and paper-based tests. TOEFL IBT is also accepted by more than 10,000 institutions and organizations all over the world. Comparing with both TOEFL and IELTS tests, PTE is a little less popular among the English test-takers, even though PTE test results are a bit faster than IELTS and TOEFL test results.

Q. Why isn’t IELTS fully computerised, like PTE and TOEFL tests?
Answer: With IELTS, a candidate is able to deal with real people because face-to-face testing helps test takers develop their English skills in real-life situations and the context in which they’ll be used. The IELTS Speaking test is delivered by a certified examiner, enabling real-life, two-way interaction. Since the IELTS authority feels that keeping it that way makes the exam more suitable, it is still not fully computerised.

Q. Which test is more expensive – IELTS, TOEFT or PTE?
Answer: IELTS strives to offer the same test experience to all of its test takers regardless of where he/she takes the test. And that’s why it charges just a little bit extra amount of money, compared to other English language tests. For example, while IELTS charges about USD $215-240, depending on the region/country in which the test is taken, for IELTS academic version of the test, TOEFL and PTE charge USD $205 and USD $200 respectively for the same. [Note: The price may vary based on test location and country.]

More Resources for Computer-Delivered IELTS test:

Learn some cool advantages of taking Computer-delivered IELTS Test:
Advantages of computer-delivered IELTS

Download computer-delivered IELTS test brochure
Computer-delivered IELTS test brochure

A few disadvantages of Computer-delivered IELTS Test:
Disadvantages of computer-delivered IELTS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *