Should you consider paper-delivered IELTS or computer-delivered IELTS

Briefing

Students taking the paper-delivered IELTS test provide answers to the Reading, Listening, and Writing questions on an examination paper, but those opting for the computer-delivered IELTS test need to answer the Reading, Listening, and Writing questions on a computer. However, in both cases, the speaking  section is conducted with an IELTS evaluator in person.

Structure of the tests

Paper-delivered IELTS

  • Listening Section: In this section, a candidate gets 30 minutes to hear four recordings and answer the questions based on them. An additional 10 minutes will be allotted at the end of the section to transfer the answers from the paper-based format to the answer sheet.
  • Reading section: You get 60 minutes to answer 40 questions spread across three sections. The areas tested in this round relate to a candidate’s understanding of synopsis, vocabulary, perception, and a basic understanding of the language.
  • Writing section: In the writing test, you have 60 minutes to finish two writing-based tasks, of which one is an essay.
  • Speaking section: This test examines your social interaction and conversation skills.

Computer-delivered IELTS

  • Listening Section: You get 36 minutes to solve multiple-choice questions, flow chart questions, and sentence completion-based questions. You can access multiple tools on the computer, such as the volume button, arrow button, and navigation button. To find out any instructions related to the test, tap the help button.
  • Reading section: The computer screen displays questions in two panels, where the left panel shows the passage and the right panel displays the questions related to said passage. The nature of the questions and time limit remain the same.
  • Writing section: The test is divided into two sections, which are: Task-1: letters (for IELTS general students)  or questions on graphs, tables, charts, or diagrams (for IELTS academic students), and Task-2: an essay quoting your perception of a situation.
  • Speaking section: This section will be conducted just as it is for the paper-based version.

Comparison

Pointers

Paper-delivered IELTS

Computer-delivered IELTS

Location of test

The test centres are generallyeducational institutions/ training institutes

The test centres are usually smaller test rooms

Results

Declared after 13 days of taking the test

Declared within 3-5 days of taking the test

Availability of test

Up to 48 days in an year (Every Thursday or Saturday)

7 days a week (Up to 3 times a day)

Pros

  1. Easier to read printed text
  2. Possibility to circle or outline words
  3. Extra 10 minutes are provided at the end of Listening section
  1. Flexibility in  the test slots
  2. Handwriting doesn’t matter
  3. Editing is possible
  4. Clear audio due to individual headphones

Cons

  1. Not possible to track progress
  2. Lack of concentration due to packed venues
  3. Your hand-writing is a major concern
  1. Listening and typing is a simultaneous process (No extra time given for writing)
  2. Should be well-versed in typing
  3. No last minute changes are possible
  4. Very few test centres

 

If you are someone who needs privacy and concentration while taking a test and/or is comfortable with a computer, then the computer-delivered IELTS is meant for you. However, you should choose paper-delivered IELTS if you prefer to take exams in a classroom setting and/or feel more at ease writing on paper. To get a better idea of IELTS and to practise full-length practise tests online, you can visit the IELTS online diagnostic test offered by GoToUniversity and can also try their comprehensive IELTS preparation course designed to address the learning needs of all kinds of students.

*Note

  • Students can complete the Speaking section within one week of the other tests in both formats.
  • The duration of the test in both formats is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

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