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A guide to the IELTS Computer Delivered Test

If you are unsure whether or not the IELTS computer delivered test is right for you, then why not listen to our latest podcast, where Nick and I discuss the advantages and disadvantages of sitting the paper-based test versus the computer-based. Plus, this week, we got access to the official IDP PowerPoint that explains how you can control the computer during your test, so you can scroll down to watch Shelly talk you through it. Yes, another exclusive here at the My IELTS Classroom podcast!

This is a Patron Only Episode: Click here to support the show and gain access to the audio or continue to read about the computer-based test below


Below, you can find a summary of the episode, which includes all of the links to other useful materials from Beverley and the times of each part of the discussion (so you can go directly to the part you want to listen to) 🚀

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My IELTS Classroom Podcast Summary:  A guide to the IELTS Computer Delivered Test

00:00 – 06:12 Introduction – Two pieces of IELTS news!

This week there were announcements of two changes in the IELTS world. The first is regarding test-takers who are less than 18 years old. Very soon, you will be accompanied by a guardian into the speaking test. This will be a designated adult who works at the test centre and they will not help you in any way. They will simply be there to make sure that you are safe and the test runs smoothly.

The second is regarding doctors who need to complete the Two Year Foundation Programme in the UK. In the past, you were required to submit an Academic IELTS certificate with a minimum score of 7.5 in each part of the test. As of this week, you are also able to submit a General Training certificate. So, is it worth moving form the academic to general training module? Read my blog post to find out more!

The logo for NHS UK Foundation Programme IELTS:

06:12 – 11:05 Is the IELTS Computer Delivered Test right for you?

There are many things you should consider before you choose to sit the computer delivered or paper based test. Let’s start by looking at the practical:

  • When you sit the computer delivered test, you sit everything on one day (i.e. speaking is always on the same day as listening, reading, and writing)
  • You will get the results of your test fast (3 – 5 days as opposed to 13)
  • You will get your Evaluation of Results returned more quickly (3 – 7 days as opposed to up o SIX weeks!)
  • Computer delivered tests are held more frequently (in some centres every day as opposed to twice a month)

In short, the computer based test is perfect for people who are short of time. However, you will pay extra for that speed, as the IELTS computer based test is more expensive than the traditional test.

11:36 – 34:07 The main educational differences between the paper-based IELTS test and the computer delivered test 

Even though the only difference between the IELTS computer-based test and the traditional paper test is the method in which it is delivered, I still think that the different tests suit different students. Nick and I go through listening, reading and writing to look at the pros and cons of the computer-based test so you can decide which is best for you. We go way beyond the simple “good at typing” and “bad at typing” arguments!

A computer sits on a purple background next to a piece of paper and a pencil. Between them are the letters vs, to signify versus and to show that the blog will compare the IELTS computer-based test and the paper-based test
Read more about the difference between the paper-based and computer-based tests here.

34:08 – END How can you control the computer in our IELTS computer delivered test? 

If you have decided to take the IELTS computer delivered test then you probably have a lot of practical questions about the test:

  • Can I highlight and make notes in reading? 
  • Can I copy and paste in writing?
  • Can I change the volume of my headphones in listening?
  • Is there paper for making notes?

So, to help you feel fully prepared for your test, I have made a video that takes you through the official IDP PowerPoint presentation. This is the presentation that is shown to all test-takers in the waiting room before they sit their test. It contains the answers to all of the above questions and many, many more.

Plus, I have added my own personal advice and comments that I will share with you as we go through the information. This is based on my experience of completing a computer delivered test late last year (and, honestly, there were some parts that were confusing even for me!)

My hope is that  by the end of the presentation, you will feel 100% confident about your IELTS computer delivered test and have no questions left (but if you do, write them in the comments below!)

A big thanks to the staff at my old test centre, LT Pro St Petersburg, for kindly providing us with the presentation – it was a very generous gift and one that will help many test takers.

If you are still unsure whether or not the IELTS computer delivered test is right, why not take a practice test to see if it right for you. If you would like to to do this, the ONLY practice test that I would recommend is offered for free by the British Council on this link: https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/take-ielts/prepare/computer-delivered-ielts/familiarisation-test. 

There are many other services offering practice IELTS computer based tests, but only this one has questions that you can 100% trust. Trust me, nothing is more damaging than practicing with materials that contain errors!

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