Having been a paper-based English test for almost three decades, we can finally welcome the computer-based IELTS to the digital world.
While the PTE (one of IELTS biggest competitors) has always been a computer-based test, IELTS has started offering its computer-based version a few months ago as well. Even though it’s already been a few months, it still seems as if not many people have heard of this option to take the IELTS. That might also have to do with the fact that so far, you can take the computer-based IELTS only in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney (Perth is “coming soon”).
Computer-based IELTS – What has changed?
#Speaking – Nothing has changed here.
This part of the test is still the same, whether that’s good or bad news. You will still be sitting in a room with an examiner, who will judge your English skills. While IELTS lists some of the benefits of this speaking test component as being “we hear your accent” or “we won’t time out on you”, I am not sure how great of a benefit that is as there is obviously always a time limit on the speaking component. It’s also interesting how “we hear your accent” is listed as a benefit considering that many test takers fear their accent might be an issue.
#Writing – Papers vs Computer
It goes without saying that the writing part will now be done by typing rather than the old-fashioned paper and pen. Sure, there’s a handful of people that still feel more comfortable with using paper and pen over typing on a computer. However, the majority of us isn’t even used to that type of writing anymore and prefers being able to quickly type down our ideas and thoughts onto paper and even better deleting that very same idea by pressing a key. Typing is also a great benefit for those of us worry about whether or not the examiner will be able to decipher our handwriting.
The Writing as well as the Speaking part will still be marked by an IELTS examiner. Again, this is something people will have different opinions about.
While I understand that IELTS believe a human examiner will bring a higher level of accuracy and fairness to the test, I personally believe that as humans we will always have our own opinions and understandings of what is fair and accurate no matter how professional we are.
#Reading – Marked by computer
The content itself remains the same but this part will be marked 100% by a computer. It will still involve the well-known components such as, multiple choice, matching information, matching features, summary completion etc.
#Listening – Headphones
You will hear the listening through your headphones as compared to through loudspeakers. This is not only useful in that you won’t depend on everyone being quiet and the volume being loud enough for you to hear, but it’s also good to have your headphones as you can use them during your reading or writing part too in case you need it perfectly quiet.
#Test Formats: General and Academic
Both test formats can be taken sitting the computer-based IELTS.
#Test Results for Migration
The Test Results will be delivered in 5-7 days. If you’re not sure what English test results you need for the visa you are applying for, then have a look here.