Is Computer-Delivered IELTS Right for You?

November 19, 2018 by Andrea Castro

If you’ve been following our blog, then you’re probably aware that IELTS has introduced a new computer-delivered test. This means that candidates can now take the Listening, Reading and Writing modules of the test on a computer, with the Speaking module still being done face-to-face with an IELTS examiner. Although computer-delivered IELTS is not here to replace the paper-based version of the test, it does offer a new and more modern exam experience, as well as more opportunities to take the test and receive quicker results.

While computer-delivered and paper-based IELTS are the same in terms of content, level of difficulty, timing and scoring, it’s only natural for candidates to wonder which version of the test is right for them. If you’re having doubts, the good news is that we’re here to help you explore your options so that you can make an informed decision. To get started, take a minute or two to read the statements below carefully, and make notes on which of the statements are true for you:

 I always like to try new things.
 I’m very confident using modern technology, especially computers.
 I prefer to type on a keyboard rather than to write things out with a pen/pencil.
 I can type quite fast.
 I feel comfortable reading on a screen.
 I prefer to read articles online.
 I feel comfortable using ‘help’ buttons on a computer to guide me.

female looking at computer
Next, count how many of the statements you believe apply to you and then take a moment to analyze your results below:

If all of the statements are true for you, that means that your ability to use computers and your willingness to try new things make you an ideal candidate for computer-delivered IELTS.

If most of the statements are true for you, it’s possible that you’re suitable for either the paper or computer-delivered versions of the test. However, think about how much (or how little) the statements that aren’t true for you would affect your performance if you chose to do computer-delivered IELTS.

If most of the statements are not true for you, then you’re best suited for the paper-based IELTS test, and that’s OK too! Not everyone loves technology.

female looking at computer
Preparing for computer-based IELTS

Now that you have considered whether computer-based IELTS is right for you, your next question is likely to be how to prepare for this version of the test. As you may have already realized, from the candidates’ perspective there is very little difference between the paper-based and computer-delivered IELTS other than how the exam is presented. As such, most of the preparation strategies that work with paper-based IELTS will also work with computer-delivered IELTS. That said, there are a few things that you can do to help you better prepare:

1. When practicing for the Writing module of the test, make sure you turn off spell and grammar checker in Word, because it’s important to mimic exam conditions when preparing for IELTS.

2. Even if you feel comfortable with your current typing skills, typing practice before the exam is always a good idea. You’re likely to feel more confident on the day of the test if you’ve done lots of typing beforehand, and you may even gain some speed along the way.

3. Read articles and practice IELTS passages online. This will help you get a sense of what it’ll be like to complete the Reading module on a computer.

Keep in mind that if you choose to do computer-delivered IELTS, you’ll have more dates on offer to take the exam. This means that you can have more control over when to take the test and, therefore, how much time you have to prepare, which is always a good thing.

Andrea is an experienced English teacher who has worked since 2009 in Costa Rica, Dubai and now Canada. When not working for IELTS, she spends her time with her little girl and her two canine siblings.

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