Myth vs. Truth: Computer-Delivered Test Edition

October 17, 2018 by Ashlee Fisher

With the new computer-delivered test for IELTS comes many misconceptions. Here are some common myths about the new system and the factual information that goes along with it.

Myth: The computer-delivered test is different from the paper-based test.

Truth: The only difference between the computer-delivered and the paper-based test is one uses a pencil and the other uses a keyboard. The content, scoring, level of difficulty, and question types are all the same in the listening, reading, and writing portion of the IELTS exam. As for the speaking section, face-to-face interviews will be done for both the computer-delivered and paper-based test to ensure a real-world interview.

Myth: I can do all sections of the IELTS exam on the computer.

Truth: All sections of the IELTS can be written on the computer-delivered test EXCEPT the speaking section. A face-to-face interview will be conducted by an IELTS speaking examiner for both the computer-delivered and paper-based test. Again, this allows the candidate to experience close to a real-world situation.

Myth: The computer-delivered test is easier than the paper-based test.

Truth: The level of difficulty for both the computer-delivered test and the paper-based test is equal because the content is the same. The scoring for all sections is also the same so either test is easier than the other. The only difference is the comfort level of the candidate. Some computer savvy candidates would rather take the IELTS exam on the computer and now this option is available.

Myth: The paper-based test is easier than the computer-delivered test.

Truth: Again, this depends on the comfort level of the candidate. Some candidates feel more comfortable writing the paper-based test. This option will also still be available for everyone.

Some candidates may feel nervous about taking the computer-delivered test. However, the computer-delivered test has a help button which describes question types as well as how the test works, including what each icon’s function is. There is also an option to change the settings for the test such as font size.

Myth: A computer is needed by the candidate to take the computer-delivered IELTS test.
Truth: Candidates do not need to have their own computer for the computer-delivered IELTS test. Also, candidates are not allowed to bring their own computers for the test. All equipment, including computers and headphones, are supplied by the test venue.


Myth: A candidate can take the IELTS exam whenever and wherever they want.

Truth: As of right now, both the computer-delivered test and the paper-based test will be available on selected days at different test centres. However, the availability and frequency for the computer-delivered test will increase throughout 2018/2019.

Myth: The speaking test will be more difficult now that it is through the computer.

Truth: The speaking portion of the IELTS test will still be a face-to-face interview for both the computer-delivered and paper-based test. The content for both the tests as well as the scoring will be the same. A highly trained IELTS examiner will be conducting interviews for both tests.

Myth: The computer-delivered test is cheaper than the paper-based test.

Truth: The computer-delivered and paper-based tests will cost the same. However, prices for the IELTS exam in general vary depending on the location.

In addition, the computer-delivered test will be available in select locations. Please check to find different locations around the world.

Myth: The questions in the listening and reading section will all be multiple choice on the computer-delivered test.

Truth: Just like the paper-based test, the computer-delivered IELTS test will include a variety of question types such as:

Multiple choice
Diagram labelling
Form completion
Note completion
Table completion
Flowchart completion
Summary completion
Sentence completion
Short answer questions

Myth: A candidate will still receive their final score at the same time as the paper-based test.

Truth: When a candidate takes the computer-delivered IELTS test, they will receive their score 5-7 days afterwards. For the paper-based test, candidates will receive their score 13 days after completing the exam.


The new computer-delivered test option allows a candidate to have more testing options while catering to testing preferences. No matter the way in which a candidate writes the IELTS exam, computer-delivered or paper-based, the final score will still be recognized all around the world.

Ashlee has been involved in the ESL world for over ten years and has now planted her roots in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nothing gives her more pleasure than watching students and candidates reach their language and IELTS goals.

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