At the start of this year, IELTS IDP in Melbourne introduced the world’s first computer-delivered IELTS.
Since then, 3 other Australian cities have followed suit. While the computer-delivered test itself is not different in terms of the question types and scoring system (Writing and Speaking are still assessed by humans), there are some differences. We asked our students who have tried both versions to tell us about the main ones and also to explain what they liked about the computer test. Here’s a summary of their comments:
Computer IELTS vs Paper IELTS: Some key differences
The order of the test is different
In Australia, the paper-based IELTS starts with Writing, then Reading, Listening, and finally Speaking. Some venues offer the Speaking test on a separate day.
The Computer-delivered IELTS starts with Listening, followed by Reading, Writing, and then Speaking
There is no extra 10 minutes in the Listening test
In the paper-based IELTS, you get an extra 10 minutes at the end of the Listening section to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. In the computer exam, you get time within and between sections to check your answers but no extra time at the end. As your answers are already in their appropriate places on the screen, this 10 minutes is not needed and our students didn’t miss it.
You listen through headphones
In the test centre, everyone has their own computer booth and headset. You have time to check your volume levels and the staff are available to help as needed. While most of our students liked this aspect, some felt uncomfortable and suggested that you practice this way before the test.
The pros of computer-delivered IELTS:
The majority of our students who have tried the computer-delivered version said they preferred it to the paper exam. Here are their top 5 reasons why!
1. No need to count words
In the computer-delivered IELTS, you can see the word-count on your screen while you’re typing. This means no wasted time counting words and no danger of falling below the required 150 or 250 words.
2. You can gather vocab in Reading and Listening
Because of the different order of the test, and the added option of separate paper for note-taking, some of our savvy students realised they could note down useful vocabulary during the Listening and Reading sections and then use this in their Writing test. (Thanks to Claudia for this great tip!)
3. Fewer candidates
With a maximum of 24 candidates per session in the Melbourne IDP centre, our students have found the atmosphere less stressful and noisy than in bigger test venues. The lower numbers also mean you will usually be finished with your Speaking test by 2 or 3pm.
4. Faster results
The test centre estimates results will be delivered in between 5-7 working days but many of our students have received their results even faster, with some getting them in just 3 days.
5. More test dates
IDP Melbourne is running computer-delivered tests 5 days a week from Tuesday to Saturday so there’s more flexibility when it comes to booking your test. You can check availability and book online here.
Learn more about the computer-delivered IELTS here.
(The paper-based IELTS is still available in all test centres and there are no plans to phase it out so don’t panic if you’re not a fan of computers!)