Notes on Computer delivered IELTS – pros, cons, and options overview

Computer delivered IELTS was first introduced in Australia in the year 2017. Now, it’s available in many parts of the world. Listening, Writing, and Reading sections are entirely paper based, with the Speaking test conducted face-to-face with trained examiners. The computer delivered test follows the same format, but the candidate will type the answers on the computer rather than writing on paper.

Key Differences between Computer delivered and Paper-Based IELTS

In Paper-based IELTS, candidates are provided an answer sheet and a pencil for writing. The candidates must write answers on this sheet within the allocated time. In computer delivered IELTS tests, they need to type their answers in their respective boxes on the screen. A pencil or pen and some paper will still be provided to make notes. The computer test requires basic typing abilities.
The computer delivered test starts with Listening, followed by the Reading and Writing tests. The Speaking test is held either on the same day or before and after the computer-based examination.
In the paper based IELTS test, the candidate will be writing answers in the question booklet while hearing the recording. They get 10 minutes at the end of the Listening test to transfer the answers to the official answer sheet. However, in case of computer delivered test, the candidate will be inputting answers in suitable boxes on the screen.
Everybody appearing for IELTS on the computer will be provided a high-quality display unit, headphones for appearing the Listening section.

A) General Considerations for and against the computer delivered IELTS


The results are declared faster when you appear for the computer delivered test. They are declared in just 3-5 days. While in case of paper-based test, it takes 13 days to get the results.
In computer delivered test, you don’t have to worry about the bad handwriting.


If you have a slower typing speed, it can create a problem. You may miss answers if you couldn’t type in time.
If you face problem looking at the computer screen for around 3 hours, then don’t go for the computer-based test.

B) Listening in IELTS on Computer

You will receive headphones for the Listening test and will be able to hear the audio more clearly.
You can adjust the volume as well.


In a computer-delivered Listening test, you get 2 minutes instead of 10 minutes in the paper-based test. This time is much less. Extra time could have been meant they can use that time to check the notes they wrote on a draft paper during the test. Also, they could have found some extra time to add some answers they missed earlier.
Students who are not accustomed to typing while listening may find the computer-based test tough.

C) Reading in IELTS on Computer

You will be able to see the text and the questions at the same time since the screen is split into two parts. The text is on the left side and the questions are on the right. You can scroll each side independently, which will enable you to see any part of the message and any group of questions, side by side. Unlike paper based tests, there is no need to flip pages back and forth.


Reading on the screen is harder compared to reading on the paper. Most people understand and remember the information better in paper based format. There are many IELTS question types which require detail reading.
Compared to the paper-based test, highlighting text, and making notes is different on screen. It may not appear as instantaneous as highlighting/underlining and writing notes on paper.
Your notes are less visible on the screen – you must click on the highlighted portion of your text for your notes to show up on the screen. Whereas you never miss when you write something on your test paper. It’s right there.

D) Writing in IELTS on Computer

It is much easier to edit your writing task 1 or task 2 on a computer screen because you can copy and paste content, rearrange sentences, and delete without any use of erasing or crossing off.
You don’t have to worry about to count words, they are shown automatically on the screen to save you time.
No need to worry about the bad handwriting.


The noise coming from other people’s typing during the writing test can appear very distracting. You can use the headphones to block out the noise to some extent.

Options Overview:

IELTS test-takes should weigh the pros and cons of computer-based versus paper-based testing. While computer-based tests provide faster results & more test dates and locations options, they may also prove uncomfortable for those who are unfamiliar with computer-based testing. Paper-based tests may prove comfortable to some test-takers, but the disadvantage is it offers limited test dates and locations.

Fees for the IELTS computer-delivered test is same as IELTS paper-based test. The computer-based test is scored on a scale of 1-9 and test duration is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.

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