The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the most popular English language proficiency test for global migration and higher education. Every year, millions of people take the test for educational, work or visa purposes. They choose IELTS because it is recognised by universities, governments, and official bodies around the world.
The IELTS test can be taken on paper or on a computer. Regardless of the way you decide to take the test, its format does not change. However, there are some benefits to taking IELTS on computer. These include greater test date availability, faster results, and helpful features on the computer like highlighting text, making notes and automatic word count.
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What you need to know about IELTS on computer
1. Improved user interface
IELTS is using a new platform for its on-computer test which creates a smoother, easier to understand test experience.
When taking IELTS on computer, test takers can highlight important elements of their test, as well as take notes more spontaneously. These notes are presented alongside the test tasks as a separate split window on the right-hand side. They can be hidden or shown as preferred throughout the entire test.
Each section of the test also has a video tutorial at the beginning, providing a clear explanation about what is required and how to submit responses. These videos are particularly useful if you need visual cues or subtitles to support your understanding of instructions.
These features in the IELTS on computer user interface ensure a more streamlined test process, meaning you can easily navigate questions and have more time to focus on your answers.
2. IELTS on computer test day
The IELTS on computer test day is a fast and straightforward test-taking experience. Taking IELTS on computer requires only one login – you’ll be given a username and password and remain logged in to your account for the duration of the test.
Likewise, computer exams are self-paced. There are no allocated script-reading and uniform breaks between modules. And you can choose when to start the test according to when you are ready. For many people, this flexibility means you’ll enter the test feeling more prepared and less stressed compared to tests with mandatory start times.
3. Access to IELTS Ready Premium
Like IELTS on paper, when you book IELTS on computer you get unlimited access to IELTS Ready Premium until your test day.
IELTS Ready Premium is a free, personalised, digital study pack for test takers. It is one of the most effective tools for IELTS test preparation and has helped many test takers achieve their best score. IELTS Ready Premium includes 40 practice tests, personalised study plan, live and recorded lessons and practice questions tailored to your English proficiency abilities.
The pack has a variety of other preparation materials that span more than 80 hours, and cover listening, reading, speaking, and writing in English at every level. You can also get feedback on every reading and listening question, and view model answers that you can compare with your own responses.
IELTS Ready Premium is available once you book an IELTS test with the British Council.
4. Faster results
One of the benefits of taking IELTS on computer is getting faster results. When you take IELTS on computer at a test centre you should expect to receive your results 3-5 days after your test date as compared to 6-8 days in you take IELTS Online and 13 days if you take IELTS on paper at a test centre.
After you have completed the test and your results are in, you will receive an email notification where you can view your scores in the electronic Test Report Form (eTRF). This form is the official confirmation of your test result that can be shared as proof of your English language proficiency.
The faster results option can be an advantage to many test takers especially if they need to meet a strict deadline to send their proof of English language proficiency to their chosen organisation. This is one of the reasons why some test takers choose to take IELTS on computer over IELTS on paper.
5. One Skill Retake option
If you didn’t achieve your desired IELTS score and wish to improve your score in only one skill, you can now retake only one of the four sections of the test – Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking – within 60 days of the original test, without having to retake the full test, only if you have taken IELTS on computer.
This new feature is called ‘One Skill Retake’ and is available at selected test centres. This gives test takers a second chance to improve their results and save time and money while doing so. One Skill Retake follows the same format and timing as the standard IELTS test, so test takers don’t need to prepare for different instructions or tasks. Test scores from sections that aren’t retaken are not impacted.
Once test results are ready, the test taker receives a new eTRF that includes the original score, updated score, and overall score. The results are valid for two years from the first test date.
This article explains the main points that differentiate IELTS on computer from IELTS on paper to help test takers make an informed decision when they are booking the test.
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