Few years back, IELTS authorities used to offer the exam only in the form of a paper-based test. Nevertheless, like many other standardized tests, now IELTS is offered online as well. But how is it any different? Why go with the IELTS Online Test and not paper-based or vice-versa in 2021?
IELTS Online Test is commonly known as Computer-based test (CBT) or Computer-delivered test (CDT). It is also often referred to as Computer-based IELTS (CBI) and Computer-delivered IELTS (CDI). Students can opt to give IELTS exam through a computer at a dedicated offline IELTS exam center of IDP or British Council.
Yes! the exam isn’t actually conducted online at your place but at an authorized test center, so it is still offline, only the experience of giving IELTS is through a computer than in a room filled with students, giving IELTS with pen and paper.
Booking for IELTS on British Council
Booking for IELTS on IDP
When you book for the IELTS exam on IDP, it redirects you to my.ieltsessentials.com to finish booking the test.
Now, there is practically no difference between the scoring and test experience of British Council or IDP, whichever center is available and is within reach to your place, you can book for the exam there.
Online IELTS Exam vs Offline IELTS Exam
There is absolutely no difference in the difficulty of the examination, whether you give it online (CBT/CDT) or offline (paper-based), but it may vary person to person depending on what exam is suitable for a particular candidate.
Online Examination: It is for the people who are used to the machine based setup in day to day life, in office or in their college life and are adequately more comfortable with typing than writing. Most of the jobs these days require computer skills and many are accepting new trends of learning and giving exams on the computer itself, so in simple words if you are better at typing, go for an online test.
Pros of Online IELTS Exam
- There are usually plenty of slots available at the center near to your place, so you wouldn’t have to worry about fitting the exam date into your busy schedule, it is also available on off-days.
- Screen is very much readable, you can resize the screen, change the brightness, volume of the recordings, you can also highlight passages, make notes, review your answers real-time, even copy-paste the answers from the passage that would certainly save you a lot of time.
- One of the best things about online test is that you get your results delivered in almost a week’s time rather than 15 days of time that is usually required by an offline test (paper-based).
- Online exam has much less number of candidates in the test room than a paper-based test, approximately 10-30 candidates, whereas offline test room can have candidates in bulk, up-to 100 candidates or more.
Cons of Online IELTS Exam
- It is helpful if you happen to be really swift in typing. It is really beneficial if you are sure about this. By any chance if you think that typing is not something you are very comfortable with, you can always opt for a paper-based offline test.
- Timer runs at the top of the computer screen so once the exam time is up, the computer screen gets locked for every section.
Online Test for different types of IELTS tasks:
1. Listening Task
- You will be able to highlight the important information in the listening section.
- It is easier to navigate through different sections, simply using the ‘tab’ key.
- Not all sections require you to type the answer, rather some questions will require you to simply drag and drop the correct answers and some would only require you to choose the right answer.
- It is advisable to test you practice the exam on the IDP website so that you can be comfortable in attempting different types of questions that come in the exam.
2. Reading Task
- Reading passages are on the left hand side of the screen while questions are on the right hand side, this makes it easier for you to browse through the passage and also answer the questions simultaneously.
- It is convenient as you can vary the font, highlight the text as needed and more features are available, though only a handful are useful.
- Looking at the screen for long can also be tiresome.
- Making notes and some features are not very easy to use and might require little extra efforts or can be completely avoided.
3. Writing Task
- Writing works like a charm on CBT if you are very comfortable with typing as you can edit, delete and also check with the length of the passage as it is recorded by the computer automatically.
- Though this is not a deal breaker, it is possible that the sound of everyone typing at the same time can be somewhat distracting.
4. Speaking Task
- Choosing between an online vs offline test makes no difference in how your speaking test is taken.
Lastly, if you think you need help in achieving your desired score, you may want to try a free demo class and check a few of the most effective IELTS courses, specifically tailored for online IELTS exam, created by from most credible IELTS trainers who are behind many success stories of IELTS aspirants. I would also like to mention that not many courses are exclusively designed by the trainers themselves.