IELTS is offered in two formats, namely: paper-based IELTS and computer-delivered IELTS. Most students are familiar with the paper-based version.
If you choose to take the computer-delivered IELTS test, you will take the Listening, Reading and Writing modules using a desktop computer. All aspects of the test are identical to the paper-based IELTS test, including:
- Question types
The online booking for IELTS now allows you to choose your speaking test time when you register. Choose this time wisely, and aim for 1-1.5 hours between the speaking test and the remaining components (Listening, Reading, and Writing) so you can take a little rest before the 3-hour race.
Actual Test Experience:
- If you take IELTS on a computer, get your results within 3 to 5 days of sitting your test.
- You can control text size/colour /background colour etc.
- You can control voice volume in the listening section.
- There is a timer on the top of the screen to remind you of the time remaining. This is very useful and subtle.
- Each section (L/R/W) has its paper.
- You will also be given an A4 size paper which has your computer login information such as candidate number and password and a pen.
- You can write some notes on the paper, but the proctors will collect it at the end of each section.
- So, you cannot copy advanced words from reading with the hope of using them later in the writing section.
IELTS Writing Module on Computer-delivered:
- Hands down, the writing module experience is the most improved in computer-delivered IELTS! It allows easy planning and flexible writing which cannot be emphasised more.
- Word count is included under the typing text-box. This is very very useful because you don't rush yourself to erase an entire well-structured sentence that you perhaps took a few minutes to construct. Instead, the count on the screen encourages you to write precisely from the beginning.
- You can cut, paste, erase using backspace and undo sentences easily.
- Restructuring a paragraph is much easier than the paper-based version. For instance, you may not understand the question or the task right away. You may start typing and then wonder "Hmm, maybe I'm a bit off-topic here. Let's change the argument to make it sounds stronger by adding a few words here and there". In the computer-delivered version, you can do this easily without making your work look messy.
- If you are one of those enriched with "doctor's handwriting" then the computer-delivered test is a Godsend for you. You do not need to worry about illegible and badly formed words.
- Practice typing as much as possible. If you are not comfortable typing on a computer, then this format is not for you.
- Know your IELTS essay types or required structure beforehand. It will guide you through writing and save your time.
IELTS Reading Module on Computer-delivered:
- Reading module experience is tremendously improved in computer-delivered IELTS.
- You can highlight, copy, paste words or sentences easily.
- In the T/F/NG section, you don't need to type anything; just select the letter from a menu. No confusion about whether you should write T or True or Yes or Y for the answer.
- "Summary Completion" part of the reading is much easier and faster to complete on the computer. You can copy (CTRL + C) the text or a word and paste (CTRL + V) it in the blanks.
- There is no search function to find a word in the text. CTRL + F does not work.
- The difficulty level is the same as the paper-based test.
- Apart from practising reading on a computer, make sure to highlight keywords or topic sentences in each paragraph as you read so you don't lose their location. This is especially helpful in part 3, which has a long passage.
- You need to sleep well the night before the exam as staring at the screen for 60 minutes isn't friendly to the eyes.
IELTS Listening Module on Computer-delivered:
This section, perhaps, has the least advantages in the computer-based IELTS version. Some students prefer the paper-based version of the listening module.
- Although you get your headphones and can hear the audio clearly, typing while listening can be challenging, but it depends on the individual's comfort level with typing which is a skill you need to master for the computer-delivered version.
- The difference is that unlike the paper-based IELTS, you DO NOT get 10 minutes at the end of the computer-delivered IELTS to transfer your answers. Instead, you get 2 minutes at the end of the listening test to review all the sections.
- Although you are given a piece of paper, honestly, you will have NO time to transfer answers to the screen if you write them on paper. So, type the answers on the screen.
- Between listening section(s), you usually get 30 seconds to check your answers and 30 seconds to skim the next section.
- The difficulty level is about the same in both test types.
- Practice listening on a computer and typing on the screen as you listen.
- Enter your answers straight away on the screen. Don't ever write anything on paper with the hope to transfer it later.
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