Things to Consider When Taking the IELTS on a Computer

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IELTS test on a Computer


In the digital age, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) has evolved to allow test takers to finish their tests on computers. This transition from traditional paper-based testing to computer-based testing offers various benefits, including faster results and more test availability. A few key aspects must be considered to achieve a pleasant and effective computer-based IELTS exam (CBT) experience. So, let's look at several key factors to make your IELTS computer-based test experience smooth, quick, and ultimately gratifying.

Difference Between Paper-Based and Computer-Based IELTS

Before reading further, let’s first explore the fundamental difference between pen-paper-based IELTS and computer based IELTS test. 

The primary distinction between computer based IELTS and pen-paper-based IELTS lies in the test format. Computer based IELTS test (CBT) is taken on a computer, involving typing responses for writing and clicking answers for listening and reading, while P&P IELTS is paper-based, requiring handwritten responses for all sections. Further, the CBT offers faster score delivery, often within days, while P&P IELTS may take around two weeks. Moreover, the speaking section is the same for both, conducted face-to-face. The choice depends on personal preference and test centre availability, as the content and scoring criteria remain consistent between the two formats. 

Things to Consider While Appearing for Computer-Based IELTS

Below are some important things one must know before appearing for IELTS computer based test. 


Components of the CBT 

The listening, reading, and writing modules will be tested in the computer based IELTS exam, just like in the paper-based version. Additionally, the IELTS Speaking examination will continue to be administered face-to-face with a human examiner. Further, writing and speaking will both be judged by human examiners. Overall, the sole distinction is that the IELTS Speaking test is administered in PBT one week after test day, whereas it is administered in CBT on the same day.


Test Results 

Generally, the test result for the IELTS computer based test comes in 3 to 5 days. You will be given a Test Report Form that includes an overall band score and scores for the four test components: speaking, reading, writing, and listening. Additionally, half-band points may be given out to indicate excellent performance within a certain band. 

If you're unhappy with the results, you can ask for a re-mark at the testing facility where you originally took the exam. However, you must submit your application no later than six weeks following the test day. Additionally, you have the option of selecting which test items are remarked. Moreover, a cost is associated with this service, but will be reimbursed if your score on any of the items increases. 


Test Duration

IELTS on a computer takes a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete. However, in the computer-delivered Listening test, the timings are slightly different from the paper-based test. Before you begin any part of the Listening test in a CBT, you will have some time to read your questions. In addition, after you complete the Listening test, you will have two minutes to review your responses. The Listening test lasts between 30 and 36 minutes on average. 


Listening Section

While appearing for the computer based Listening section, you can easily highlight your text. You must enter an answer to certain questions, drag words from one place to another to answer others, while some questions require you to tick boxes. You must become familiar with the various ways that questions can be answered on a computer for the IELTS listening section. 

In the last, you only get 2 mins to check the answers. Further, in a computer-based IELTS test, the tab key is used to move from one part to another. But, if you don’t know how to move from one section to the next, then it might become a challenge for you. 


Reading Section

The best thing about the computer-based Reading section is that you get the passage on the left-hand side and the questions on the right-hand side. Therefore, it becomes easy for one to read and answer the questions simultaneously and complete teh test faster. 

Apart from this, you can easily increase the font size as per your convenience if you cannot read properly. Another benefit of computer based IELTS is that you can copy the text from the passage and paste it into the answer sections, which reduces the risk of wrong copying and saves a lot of time. Further, you can also make notes by right-clicking on the “make notes” option. 


Writing Section

One of the greatest benefits you need to know about the computer based writing section is that the computer has an automatic word counter through which you can easily count the words instead of manually counting them. Also, it becomes easier for you to cut, copy and paste. However, our tendency to make typographical errors accidentally is CBT's main drawback. Even when we know how to spell a word, we nonetheless make typing errors. Hence, ensure that you use a Word document to practise your proofreading.


Speaking Section

In the CBT pattern also, you will have a face-to-face speaking examination. You will receive a video call with an examiner on the screen if you take the IELTS exam online with a laptop. Always check that your audios are functioning properly and that the volume is set appropriately. Make sure you have a quality microphone, too.

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In conclusion, the transition to computer based IELTS offers many advantages but also comes with its own set of considerations. Overall, familiarising yourself with the computer-based format, understanding the test environment, managing your time effectively, preparing your equipment, and reviewing your internet skills are essential to ensure a successful IELTS CBT experience. By addressing these factors, you can confidently approach the test and maximise your chances of achieving your desired score. 

So, if you are also ready to appear for computer-based IELTS, we recommend you sign up for our IELTS Courses designed by our experts. Please contact Prepare IELTS Exam (PI) expert counsellors if you need further guidance. Our team of education experts is dedicated to assisting you in the best possible way for the IELTS exam. You can also get a one-on-one counselling session online via our platform. Contact us at or call us at +91 9773398388.


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