Computer-Based IELTS Exam – Pros and Cons Discussed

May 02,2023

Computer-Based IELTS Exam - Pros and Cons Discussed

The IELTS exam is offered in two modes: computer-based and paper-based. Both modes have the same question types and level of difficulty, but they differ in many other ways. As applicants have two IELTS test mode options, it is obvious that they get baffled while deciding ‘which one is better’ and making the right choice. To help candidates make an informed decision, here, in this blog, we’ve discussed the pros and cons of the computer-based IELTS exam in more detail. Let’s begin by understanding the pros of computer-based IELTS exam.

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Pros of Computer-Based IELTS Exam

1) Easier to Focus

The computer-delivered IELTS Exam is conducted in a small room with only a few other participants. Though it has no direct effect on their IELTS exam score, the organized and less-crowded computer-delivered IELTS exam centers may reduce the stress of candidates and make them feel relaxed while taking the IELTS exam.

2) Reading Convenience

When it comes to the reading section, the computer-delivered IELTS test is quite comfortable.

  • The reading section of the computer-based IELTS test splits the screen into two sections, with the passage on the left and questions on the right. When it comes to reading and answering questions, this makes the process a lot easier.
  • The ability to increase the font size and highlight text makes test takers’ lives a little simpler.
  • The copy-and-paste option allows applicants to copy answers from the text and paste them into the blanks which eliminate the possibility of spelling mistakes.

3) Writing Convenience

When it comes to the writing section, the computer-delivered IELTS exam has several perks to offer.

  • First of all, handwriting is not an issue. There is no need to be worried if your handwriting is poor and hard to understand.
  • Second, thanks to the cut, copy, paste, and other convenient features, it’s fairly simple to edit the text.
  • Structuring the essay is also considerably easy, making the essay more clear to the examiner.
  • The computer automatically counts the number of words, so keeping track of the word count is not a hassle. This saves candidates’ time spent worrying about the word count and makes the exam less stressful.

4) Availability of Results

Where the paper-based IELTS test takes 13-14 days to deliver results, the computer-delivered IELTS exam gives results in 4-5 working days. The computer-based IELTS test is thus a great option when swift results are required.

5) No Need for Page Turning

Unlike the paper-based IELTS exam, which requires frequent page flipping to read the questions, the computer-delivered IELTS exam does not require page flips, which adds to test taker convenience.

Cons of Computer-Based IELTS exam

1) Listening Section is a Cause of Concern

The computer-based IELTS Test listening section is harder to handle than its paper-based version. 

  • As different sorts of questions are involved, the answers have to be given in different ways. For example, in one question, you have to click on an answer, and in another, you must type the answer. This assortment requires hardcore IELTS preparation for the listening section.
  • Unlike the paper-based IELTS listening test, where test-takers have 10 minutes to copy answers to the answer sheet, answers in computer-delivered IELTS listening must be typed straight into the computer while listening. As a result, you must be skilled at managing typing and listening at the same time.
  • There are only two minutes to go over the answers. This restriction in time may cause problems for test takers while attempting the section.

Also Read: IELTS Listening Test:Practice, Tips, and Strategies

2) Good Typing Speed is a Must

The computer-based IELTS exam demands that test takers be very familiar with computers and very adept at typing. The paper-based IELTS test is a better option for persons who have an inadequate understanding of computers and a slow typing speed.

3) Noise Can be a Problem

Multiple candidates type at the same time around you during IELTS writing, making a lot of noise. This loudness might be distracting and can hinder your ability to outline and write your essay. Doing IELTS writing preparation in a noisy environment can help you cope with the issue to an extent.

4) Prone to mistakes

Typing quickly often results in typos. Saving time to double-check spelling is essential when taking a computer-delivered IELTS exam. Otherwise, you may end up losing your valuable IELTS score for minor spelling errors.

5) Switching Between Sections Needs Care

You must understand the specific procedure for moving from one section to another or from one page to another, or you will waste your important time learning to do so during the exam.

6) Making Notes May be Difficult

While doing IELTS Preparation, many students develop the practice of taking brief notes. Though taking notes with a pen and paper is simple, the computer-delivered IELTS test may not always offer you a pen and paper, requiring you to use the computer for writing, which is certainly not an easy chore when you are running out of time.

7) Long Use of Computer May Pose an Issue

For some people, working on a computer for long hours can be exhausting and inconvenient. If you are one of them, the computer-based IELTS exam is likely to be a wrong choice for you.


The IELTS exam is of great importance and plays a role to shape your future. As a result, when doing IELTS preparation and booking the exam, every detail should be carefully considered. The computer-based IELTS exam has numerous advantages, but it also has certain disadvantages. It is up to you to decide if its advantages are more enticing or its disadvantages are more worrisome. I hope the information above will help you decide whether the computer-delivered IELTS test is best for you. Please contact our IELTS exam professionals for expert advice on better IELTS preparation.

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Written By

Kirati Shah

Kirati Shah is a certified IELTS/TOEFL/PTE Trainer with 10 years of experience. She is on a mission to provide good quality lessons about IELTS and PTE through blogs and videos that can help students get their desired score and achieve their dream to migrate/study abroad.


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