Disadvantages of computer-delivered IELTS

Before deciding to take the computer-delivered IELTS test, we believe, you should know the disadvantages this test format might have for some candidates. If these disadvantages are ignorable for you and you find the advantages of taking computer-delivered IELTS more appealing, you should proceed and book this version of the test.

So here are a few disadvantages of taking the computer-delivered IELTS test:

Disadvantage # 1: If you have never used a computer before, this test if not for you. Also, if your typing speed is extremely slow, you will find this test harder than you think.

Disadvantages # 2: If you take a computer-delivered test, your computer screen will be locked at the exact time (exact minute and second), so you won’t be able to make any last-minute corrections.

Disadvantages # 3: The timer on the computer screen will not display the seconds in the last minute. So during the last minute of your test, you won’t know how many seconds you still have.

Disadvantages # 4: The computer-delivered test is conducted in a computer lab and multiple candidates (sometimes even 15-20 plus) takes the same test. So during the writing test, all the candidates would be typing at the same time and this would create a noise that might distract you.

Disadvantages # 5: If you are not accustomed to writing on a computer screen and making corrections of typos and sentences, the chances are that you will find it difficult while you take the test on a computer rather than on a paper.

Disadvantages # 6: While taking the listening test, you will be given a pen and paper for making notes. But you need to type your answers directly into the computer. This means you need to be able to listen and type at the same time. If this is something new to you, you will find it difficult.

Disadvantages # 7: In your Listening test, you will have only 2 minutes to check your answers, not 10 minutes to transfer answers as you do in a paper-based Listening test. Some students take only 4-5 minutes to transfer the answers to the answer sheet and utilise the remaining 5-6 minutes to revise, make corrections and answer anything they have missed. In a computer-delivered test, you can’t do that.

Disadvantages # 8: Moving from one section to another or even from one page to another may become time-consuming. And if you do not follow the exact procedure, you might end up wasting some valuable time.

Disadvantages of taking the “Reading” test in a computer-delivered exam:

There aren’t any major disadvantages of taking the “Reading” test on a computer except for the fact that candidates aren’t allowed to use the ‘search’ function to look for words contrary to their common expectations. Moreover, if you do not feel comfortable reading on a computer, e-book reader or tabloid PC, this test is not for you.

Disadvantages of taking the “Writing” test in a computer-delivered exam:

Yes, there are a few drawbacks in taking the “Writing” test in a computer-delivered exam. For example, the typing speed of some people is not exactly up to the standard, and therefore, they really struggle to finish their answers in time. Besides, since a lot of people type at the same time for an hour, the noise, generated by this typing, can distract the test takers. Then, some test takers make typing errors unintentionally, because of their weak typing capabilities, but are not able to correct those mistakes, simply because it is not always possible to identify all the spelling mistakes within the stipulated period of time. Finally, most people like to draw arrows/lines/circles on charts/graphs so that the key features of the graph are easier to distinguish, but unfortunately, they can’t do it on the academic writing task.

Disadvantages of taking the “Listening” test in a computer-delivered exam:

The major disadvantage of taking the “Listening” test in a computer-delivered exam is that the test takers do not get 10 minutes to transfer their answers at the end of the test (even though, they get more time in between each section, and 2 minutes in the end), as opposed to the paper-based exam. By the way, some students like this 10 minutes transfer time because they can go back and check their answers and spelling when taking a paper-based test. But, unfortunately, that’s not the case with the computer-based listening test.

Besides, students actually have to type or even click and drag the answers directly, as they listen to each section, which many students may find a bit difficult.

2 Comments to “Disadvantages of computer-delivered IELTS”

  1. Can I go back and forth in the computer-delivered IELTS Reading Test? Please let me know. You have mentioned that this is possible in the computer-delivered IELTS Listening Test.

    1. Going back and forth is possible in the reading exam, not in the listening exam! You can just correct your answers in a listening test, not go back and listen to something again. But in a reading test, taken on a computer, you can go back, read a part of a passage again and then correct an answer, if required.

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