Prepare for Paper-based and Computer-based IELTS with Experts

2 years ago | Posted By: Dr Venkat Reddy | Category: IELTS

If you've taken a paper test before, you'll notice a few differences between the paper and computer versions. The most evident difference is that the paper tests are written with a pencil, whereas the computer tests are typed.

In addition, the Listening exam on the computer is shorter. The Speaking test has remained unchanged.

On Paper IELTS

If you choose this option, you will fill out a paper with your answers to the Listening, Reading, and Writing parts. The Speaking test is conducted in front of a qualified IELTS Examiner. 

Computer-based IELTS

If you choose this option, you will use a computer to complete the Listening, Reading, and Writing parts. Because we feel it is the most effective way of testing your speaking skills, the Speaking test will be conducted face to face with a qualified IELTS Examiner.

  • Is it better to use a pencil or a keyboard?

We'll provide you with a pencil and an answer sheet for the paper based IELTS test. Before the time runs out, you must write your answers on the answer sheet. You type your answers in the corresponding boxes on your screen with computer-delivered IELTS. Even if you take IELTS on a computer, we'll give you a pencil or pen and paper to take notes with.Are you worried about not being able to type quickly enough? There's no need to be concerned: the computer exam is designed for persons who can type normally. You can take the computer-delivered test if you can write an email.

  • The tests are in the same order

The Computer-delivered IELTS begins with Listening, then Reading, and finally Writing, much like the paper test. The Speaking test takes occur on the same day as your computer test, either before or after it.

  • The Listening test is less time-consuming

If you've taken an IELTS test on paper previously, you'll recall that you must write your answers in the question booklet while listening to the audio. So, at the completion of the Listening portion on the paper test, you have 10 minutes to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. You input your answers in the relevant spots on the screen during the computer test. You have time to check your answers in between portions, but no extra time at the end. You don't need the extra 10 minutes because you've already finished your responses. You won't miss it anyway.

  • Venue of IELTS Test

IELTS tests on paper are frequently held in a larger room. Occasionally, at a university or a conveniently placed hotel. Smaller, custom-built, brand-new rooms are used for computer delivered IELTS testing. Everything in the computer-assisted testing area is designed to make you feel at ease.

  • You get a pair of headphones

Aside from a new test room, everyone doing IELTS online has their own computer, a high-resolution screen, and headphones for the Listening test. IELTS does not need you to speak to a machine, so there is no need for a microphone. Even better, we make certain that our headphones are in good working order. Noise-canceling headphones are available at most computer-delivered test centers, allowing you to concentrate on your own performance.

On the computer IELTS: Myth vs. Reality

There are numerous myths regarding taking the IELTS on a computer. If you're planning to take an IELTS exam via a computer, keep reading to discover more about how the Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking tests are given, as well as popular myths and truths, and what to expect on test day.

  •  The computer-based test is not the same as the paper-based test (This is a Myth)

Your test day experience is the only difference between the computer-delivered and paper-based IELTS tests. Both the computer-delivered and paper-based tests have the same format, question types, time assigned to each exam segment, and material.

If you opt to take your IELTS test on a computer, you will use a computer to complete the Reading, Listening, and Writing sections of the test. All responses will be typed on the computer screen. During the Listening test, you will also be allowed to take notes on a note sheet.

You will complete the Reading, Listening, and Writing sections on paper if you take IELTS on paper. You can finish your Writing test with a pen or an HB pencil, but you must write your Listening and Reading answers on the answer sheet with an HB pencil.

  • On the computer, I can complete all elements of the IELTS test (This is true)

The IELTS test's Reading, Writing, and Listening sections are completed on a computer, while the Speaking section is completed in person with an IELTS examiner.

  • The computer-based test is less difficult than the paper-based test (This is a myth)

Both the computer-delivered and paper-based tests have the same format, question types, the time assigned to each exam segment, and material.

The degree of difficulty for both the paper-based and computer-delivered IELTS tests is the same because the content is the same. The only difference could be your comfort level with taking an IELTS test on a computer. You might want to take IELTS on a computer if you are tech proficient.

  •  To take the computer-based IELTS test, I'll need a computer (This is a myth)

A computer-delivered IELTS test does not require you to have your own computer or laptop.

The test Centre where you scheduled your computer-delivered IELTS test will provide all equipment, including computers and headphones.

  • If I take IELTS on the computer, I will obtain my results faster (This is true)

If you take IELTS on a computer, your results will arrive 3 to 5 days after you take the test. If you take IELTS on paper, however, you will receive your results 13 days after taking the exam.


Whether you take IELTS on paper or computer, you can be confident that you are taking the same trusted English language test.

Computer-based or paper-based IELTS test FAQs:

1. Which IELTS should I take academic or general?

If you are planning to pursue higher education or any professional degree, then you can take an IELTS Academic Test. And if you want to do any secondary education or settle in any English-speaking country, IELTS General training is the right fit for you.

2. Is computer-based IELTS easier?

The content, format as well as difficulty level of both computer and paper-based IELTS is the same. The only difference in both is your confidence while sitting in the exam..

3. Does handwriting matter in IELTS?

Yes, it matters. Your handwriting must be good enough to be easily understood by the examiner.

4. Can we write in cursive in IELTS?

Yes, it is completely your choice which handwriting style you want to choose for the exam.

5. Should I write with pen or pencil in the IELTS exam?

Pencil is preferred for all IELTS exams. You can easily erase and rewrite words. Moreover, scanning tests work best with pencils.