Computer based vs Paper Based IELTS Exam

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The International English Language Testing System full form of  IELTS is an international standardized English language proficiency test to prove the skills of reading, writing, speaking, listening in the English language. Now you have two options in which you can take this test. It is either you can take the paper based test or Computer based test. Though both are similar but yet you can see some differences in them and also you may be confused as to which method you should opt. Here we have mentioned everything you need to know regarding  Computer based IELTS vs paper based IELTS.

Difference between IELTS paper-based test and IELTS Computer-based

  • On the basis of location

In both the test, IELTS paper-based or IELTS computer-based you have to be physically present at the registered location allocated to you. The main difference you can experience between them is paper-based IELTS is taken at a place which has large generally comprises 100-150 students while the Computer-based  IELTS takes place with one candidate per computer at a small place. 

  • On the basis format

The difference between both types of tests, in paper-based IELTS test Reading & writing, is given by the means of pen and paper. While in the computer-delivered IELTS test you have to use the computer desktop to answer the given questions. You need to write your answers on the answer sheet within the time limit. In computer delivered IELTS, you have to type your answers in the given boxes on your screen. 

  • On the basis of assessment

The assessment part is different in both cases, in the computer-based IELTS test, the answers are saved in the computer itself and are directly uploaded to the server of Cambridge. Whereas in the paper-based IELTS test, the answer sheets are collected by the examiner, in person which is then sent to the Cambridge marking facility, which apparently takes more time than the former.

  • On the basis of the timing.

For both the methods of giving the test, the timings are generally the same. In the paper test, at the end of the Listening section, you will get 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. In the computer based test, you need to type your answers in their corresponding place on the screen. You do get time between sections to check your answers but no extra time in the end.

Advantage of taking the computer-delivered exam

  • Can easily be edited

Many students found that using a computer made it easier to edit their answers. Therefore, for them giving a computer-based IELTS would be easier than a Paper-based IELTS exam.  

  • Less crowded test centers

Computer-based IELTS test centers are generally more organized and less crowded. While this won’t directly impact your score, some candidates may feel comfortable giving in such a kind of atmosphere.

  • Handwriting doesn’t matter

If you are worried that your messy handwriting could make it difficult for an IELTS examiner to understand what you are writing, then the computer-based test is an ideal solution.

  • No page flipping

For the Reading section, the computer screen will be divided into two parts: the text and the questions which are more helpful compared to the paper-based test where you have to keep flipping the pages. 

  • Screen provided with good size.

It is one of the advantages that the screens are of a good size which is useful for reading. You can read the questions easily on the screen.

Disadvantages of taking the computer-delivered exam

  • Highlighting, drawing, or making notes on the screen is not easy

Students who prefer to use a pen and paper for highlighting or drawing or making any kind of notes will find it difficult to give exams on the computer screen because Highlighting, drawing, or making notes on the screen is not easy despite you can right-click to highlight the text or make notes on the screen. 

  • Screen fatigue

Some may find it difficult to sit in front of the computer screen for a long time. For example, sore head or tired eyes. For them, it is one of the disadvantages of the computer based IELTS exam.

Must be good at typing

To score well in the computer-based IELTS exam you must be good at typing. You should have a good typing speed so that you can complete the test on time without leaving any questions blank. If you are not a good typist then this will be difficult for you. 

The sound of typing can be distracting

You might struggle to concentrate on the test when the sound of multiple other candidates typing surrounds you in the test center.

Uncomfortable in typing or using computers

The IELTS exam is already stressful as it is not easy for non-English speakers, if the idea of using a computer makes you nervous, the computer-Delivered test could make your test even more stressful by which you may lose your score.

Which is best for you – Computer based IELTS or paper based IELTS?

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages of taking the computer-based IELTS exam. However, it is important for you to note that they won’t ever improve or impact your skills or score. They will only affect your exam day experience. Even though the main difference between the IELTS computer-based test and the traditional paper test is the method in which it is delivered, it mainly depends on the candidates in which they are comfortable.