IELTS Computer Based Test: Exam Pattern, Exam Centers, Pros & Cons, Preparation tips

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    The two formats in IELTS Exam are IELTS Paper Based and IELTS Computer Based test. Due to advancement of technology, test takers can write IELTS Computer Based tests at least 3 times a day and 7 times a week. 


    Why to opt IELTS Computer based test?

    For 30 years, IELTS exam was conducted through paper based. IDP introduced IELTS Computer Based Test in India for convenience to international students. Test conductors introduce sample papers for those who want to opt IELTS Computer based. Examiners mark speaking and writing components in IELTS Computer Based test for test takers to be accurate in scoring. 

    • Multiple Dates: IELTS exam is taken by those who want to pursue higher education or employment opportunities in English speaking nations. There are many students who need to manage time with availability of IELTS exam dates slots. With IELTS Computer Based test, test takers get opportunities to choose exam dates from multiple options. 
    • Quick Results: Test takers require IELTS score for application purpose to universities as well as for Visa Interview. Immigration officers need a score band to check English language proficiency of the candidate. Within 5-7 days, test takers get required IELTS score band 
    • Study Materials: Many test takers require time to get acquainted with the test format. Available sample papers and study materials help the test takers to get well acquainted with test pattern. 
    • Multiple Exam Centers: Due to presence of multiple exam centers, test takers get multiple dates for taking IELTS Computer based tests. 

    IELTS Computer Based test v/s Paper Based Test

    IELTS Computer Based test is preferred by the test takers for its easy accessibility. Writing, Reading and Listening in IELTS Computer based test are similar to that of paper based. Marking, Timings, Content and Task types (question types) remain similar in both formats. Test conductors make a slight change for the listening component in IELTS Computer based test. In a paper based test, the test takers have to write down answers back to an answer sheet. This step has been omitted in IELTS Computer based test due to its redundancy. Some changes in IELTS Computer Based test are as following 

    • Before starting listening component, test takers get time to go through questions 
    • Test takers can review answers at the end of each listening section in IELTS computer based test 
    • At the end of paper, 2 minutes are allotted for reviewing the answers 
    • Time allotment for listening component is 30-34 minutes 
    • IELTS computer based test requires 5-7 days to deliver results while IELTS paper based takes 13 days 
    Pros and Cons of CBT

    IELTS Computer Based Test: Pro & Cons

    Like other exams, IELTS Computer Based Test has its own Pros and Cons. 

    Advantages for IELTS Computer Based test

    • Less crowded exam centers 
    • Availability of more test dates 
    • Quick Results 
    • Easy accessibility for those who are skillful in typing 
    • Due to wide screen, reading section is quite easy to study 

    Disadvantages for IELTS Computer Based test

    • Test takers must be very skillful at typing 
    • With less typing speed, one should opt for paper based test 
    • Once time is over, screen will be locked 
    • No answer can be changed at last moment as per own choices 
    • Last minute countdown will not be displayed 
    Pros and Cons: Listening

    IELTS Computer Based Test: Listening


    • Test takers can move between sections of test 
    • For dragging and dropping answer, it is time-effective 
    • In few sections, one has to select boxes to answer 


    • Moving between sections can cost test time 
    • 40 questions to re-check within 2 minutes (0.05 seconds for each question) 
    Pros and Cons: Reading

    IELTS Computer Based Test: Reading


    • Test takers have to copy/paste answers by using commands (Ctrl +C, Ctrl +V)
    • Can highlight text for easy reference 
    • Adjustable font size 
    • Questions will be on left-hand side and answer sheet will be on right-hand side, test takers can scan easily 


    • Only 2 minutes to review the given answers 
    Pros and Cons: Writing

    IELTS Computer Based Test: Writing


    • No need for word count, system will automatically provide information
    • One can edit answers by using cut, copy, paste 


    • Typos are common errors in writing 
    • Need to have good typing speed for at least 1 hr. at a stretch 
    Pros and Cons: Speaking

    IELTS Computer Based Test: Speaking

    Like paper based test, speaking section in IELTS Computer Based Test remains identical. The test conductors haven’t introduced bot dictation for speaking session. Few insights for speaking component in IELTS Computer Based Test are as following 

    • Sound proof speaking test rooms 
    • Rephrasing or repetition of questions for test takers if required 
    • Examiners ask questions as per level of English of test taker 
    • Examiners patiently listen to all answers 
    • Accent is important 
    • Through speaking test, strengths and weaknesses are observed
    Preparation Tips

    IELTS Computer Based Test: Preparation Tips

    Test takers should get a proper overview about IELTS exam preparation tips. Due to its difficulty level, every year test takers make different score bands in each section. Few things one needs to follow to score good marks in IELTS Computer Based Test. Following points are

    • Read questions thoroughly before answering 
    • Practice listening sound clips taken from movies, play or news (try to depict words) 
    • Unable to comprehend a meaning of a word, try to understand meaning by reading the paragraph around it 
    • Practice every question under stopwatch 
    • Do not make any rough works for IELTS Computer Based Test 
    • While reading passage, highlight the important section
    • Try to cover all points in Writing and Speaking components (as 25% of mark is allotted for each criteria) 
    • Focus on grammatical usage and spellings 
    • Try to maintain strict word limit 
    • Try to improve vocabulary 
    • For Speaking test, be confident while talking to the examiner 
    • Try to read vast range of topics for improving vocabulary 
    Exam Centers

    IELTS Computer Based Test: Exam Centers

    One needs a comforting ambiance while taking exam. IELTS Computer Based Test centers look after all these basic needs of test takers. These customized centers try to offer a comfortable test environment. Most of these exam centers are quite and well equipped with technological devices (high speed internet, headphones etc.) During exams, test takers can tell any kind of assistance from staff. Cities across India offer IELTS Computer Based Test are as following 

    IELTS Computer Based Test in near future

    There are many test takers who cannot write IELTS Computer Based Test due to unavailability of test center in locality. Test conductors help in introducing many computer abled test centers for easy accessibility. It is hopeful that with advancement of technology, IELTS Computer based Test will change the testing pattern completely in near future. 

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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