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Should I take IELTS on computer?

Published on November 26, 2018

If you’ve read our most recent posts, then you probably know that IELTS now offers a new format of the test: computer-delivered IELTS. Those who choose to take the test in this new format will be completing the Listening, Reading and Writing sections on a computer, while the Speaking section remains the same (one-to-one with a trained IELTS examiner). Computer-delivered IELTS is here to offer a fresh and more modern test experience and will also provide test takers with more opportunities to take the test and receive results more quickly.

Even though computer-delivered IELTS is expected to be very well received by a generation of test takers used to working on computers, the paper test is still available for those who prefer a handwritten-based test. This means that you now have two options when booking your test: computer-delivered IELTS or paper-based IELTS. If you’re wondering which IELTS is right for you, we’re here to help you explore both alternatives so that you can make an informed decision. Let’s begin by carefully reading and answering the following yes/no questions:

  1. Do you always like to try new things?
  2. Are you very confident using technology, especially computers?
  3. Do you prefer to type on a keyboard rather than to write things out with a pen/pencil?
  4. Can you type fast?
  5. Do you feel comfortable reading on a screen?
  6. Do you prefer to read articles online?
  7. Do you feel comfortable using ‘help’ buttons on a computer to guide you?

Once you have answered all of the questions, count how many times your answer was yes and check your results below:

  • If you answered yes to all 7 questions , that means that you’re an ideal candidate for computer-delivered IELTS. Your willingness to try new things and your ability to use computers make you suitable for the computer version of the test.
  • If you answered yes to most of the questions , it is possible that either computer-delivered IELTS or paper-based IELTS are right for you. However, think about how much (or how little) the questions that you answered no to would affect your performance if you chose to do computer-delivered IELTS. For example, if you answered no to question 4, could your typing speed affect your performance on the Writing test?
  • If you answered no to most of the questions , that means that you’re best suited for paper-based IELTS, and that’s fine too! Not everyone’s keen on technology.

How to prepare for computer-based IELTS?

With the introduction of the new IELTS test format, it is normal for candidates to wonder how to prepare for computer-based IELTS. If you’re one of those candidates, keep in mind that both versions of the test are the same in terms of content, level of difficulty, timing and scoring. This means that most of the preparation strategies that work with paper-based IELTS will also work with computer-delivered IELTS. However, there are a few things that you can do to help you be better prepared for taking the test on a computer:

  1. On the IELTS test, there won’t be any spell or grammar checker features available. As such, we recommend you turn spell and grammar checker off in Word when practicing for the Writing section of the test. This way you can reflect on your own writing in a more realistic way, while mimicking test-day conditions as you prepare.
  2. It is always a good idea to practice typing before the test, even if you currently have strong typing skills. The more you practice, the faster you’ll become, and the more confident you’ll feel on the day of the test.
  3. Make sure you read lots of articles and practice IELTS passages online. This will help you get a better idea of what it’s like to complete the Reading test on a computer.

Finally, remember that one of the advantages of taking computer-delivered IELTS is that you’ll now have more opportunities to take the test: there will be more IELTS test centres available that will offer more test dates for you to take the test. Because of this, you’ll have a greater say in when to take the test and how much time you have to prepare.