IELTS Computer Based Test Guide

The IELTS, known as the International English Language Testing System, is a standardized English language proficiency assessment test widely used and accepted by numerous educational institutions and organizations worldwide. 

It provides an accurate and reliable language proficiency certification for non-native English speakers. And also, this language proficiency certification is commonly used for education, work, and global migration. 

The IELTS is designed to assess English language skills, including writing, speaking, listening, and reading. Consequently, this test also assesses one’s English language effectiveness in different environments, including academic and industrial settings. 

Moreover, the IELTS has more than 1,200 official testing center locations scattered in different countries worldwide. The IELTS is one of the pioneers of English language proficiency exams available in the market. 

And this exam is created to assess the primary language skills and the effectiveness of using the English language in academic and professional settings. 

To make the exam more accessible and user-friendly, IELTS offers a Computer-Based Test option for their test-takers. This article will give you a comprehensive test guide for the IELTS Computer-Based Test. 

What is the Test Structure for the IELTS Computer-based Exam?

The IELTS offers two test types to its test-takers, including the IELTS Academic Test and the IELTS General Training Test. These IELTS test types assess the primary English language skills, including writing, listening, reading, and speaking. 

Read below what are the details for each of the two IELTS test types. 

IELTS Academic Test

The IELTS Academic Test is highly recommended for those individuals who want to pursue higher education in international institutions and prominent universities worldwide. 

These higher educational levels may include doctorate degrees, master’s degrees, and other graduate school programs. Moreover, this type of IELTS assesses your readiness to study English in an advanced academic setting. 

And also, this language proficiency exam features a higher level of English contexts and vocabulary generally used in universities and colleges. In addition, the IELTS Academic Test is also considered for professional registration purposes and the likes. 

IELTS General Test

The IELTS General Test assesses the individual’s English language skills commonly used in a workplace and needed for other employment training programs. 

Consequently, most international companies and educational institutions trust and recognize this test to provide a language proficiency certification for their applicants. 

One of the critical features of the IELTS General Test is that it uses the conversational English language in its test questions and contents. In addition, it measures the individual’s ability to use the English language in any work environment and other social situations.  

It is also one of the migration requirements if you want to move to English-speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and others.

List of Countries Where IELTS Computer-based is Available

Most migration and government offices worldwide choose the IELTS exam to provide migrants with English language proficiency certificates.

The IELTS computer-based test is available in the following countries: 

  1. Argentina
  2. Armenia
  3. Australia
  4. Austria
  5. Azerbaijan
  6. Bahrain
  7. Bangladesh
  8. Brazil
  9. Bulgaria
  10. Cambodia
  11. Canada
  12. Chile
  13. Columbia
  14. Croatia
  15. China
  16. Cyprus
  17. Czech Republic
  18. Egypt
  19. France
  20. Germany
  21. Ghana
  22. Greece
  23. Hong Kong
  24. Hungary
  25. India
  26. Indonesia
  27. Ireland
  28. Israel
  29. Italy
  30. Japan
  31. Jordan
  32. Kazakhstan
  33. Kenya
  34. Kuwait
  35. Laos
  36. Lebanon
  37. Lithuania
  38. Malaysia
  39. Mexico
  40. Myanmar
  41. Nepal
  42. New Zealand
  43. Nigeria
  44. North Macedonia
  45. Oman
  46. Pakistan
  47. Peru
  48. Philippines
  49. Poland
  50. Portugal
  51. Qatar
  52. Romania
  53. Russia
  54. Saudi Arabia
  55. Serbia
  56. Singapore
  57. Slovakia
  58. South Africa
  59. South Korea
  60. Spain
  61. Sri Lanka
  62. Switzerland
  63. Taiwan
  64. Thailand
  65. Turkey
  66. Vietnam
  67. Ukraine
  68. United Arab Emirates
  69. United Kingdom
  70. United States
  71. Uzbekistan

IELTS Computer-based Exam Format and Test Sections

The IELTS exam assesses the English language skills of individuals who wish to work or study in academic institutions where the medium of instruction is the English language. 

Due to the rising demand for the IELTS exam in various countries, the British Council launched the IELTS Computer-Based Test to access more test-takers and deliver fast and reliable language proficiency certification. 

The IELTS Computer-Based Test contains the same IELTS exam format that you take in their testing centers. However, there are no significant differences in the exam content, duration, question types, test sections, band scoring, and speaking test delivery. 

Consequently, it is just the same IELTS exam, but instead of using pencil and paper, you will use the computer to answer it. 

There are four test sections in the IELTS Computer-Based Test, which are the following: 

You will take the Reading, Writing, and Listening test sections on the computer, and these three test sections are scheduled on the same day. 

While for the Speaking test section, it is will be taken on the same day before or shortly after you are done with the other three test sections of the IELTS Computer-Based test. 

And it is still done face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner. Note that the IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Training test can be taken in the computer-based test.  

1. IELTS Reading Test Section

There are two formats for the Reading test section intended for the IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Training Test. The time limit of the Reading Test section lasts 60 minutes, and you also need to answer the 40 questions that follow each passage. 

The main tasks for this section are for you to recognize the main ideas, identify the writer’s message, relevant information, and understand the message of the contexts presented. 

There are three long passages presented in this section that contain different academic subjects. It may be a descriptive context, an analytical one, or contexts that discuss factual topics. In addition to that, these texts may contain objective information, analytical, or opinion-based type of information. 

  • Part 1 of Reading Test Section: In part one, you will need to read a 2,150 words selection about a specific academic subject. And also, there will be follow-up questions about the topic that you need to answer. 
  • Part 2 of Reading Test Section: The second passage presented here may come from academic journals, university books, online articles, and other educational reading materials.  The selection comprises 2,500 words with illustrations, flowcharts, graphs, which you need to interpret.  You will also be answering the follow-up questions about the topic given. 
  • Part 3 of Reading Test Section: You need to read a selection in this part with 2,000 to 2,750 words. In addition, this selection may include graphs and charts regarding a topic or data. And answer the following questions about it.

Task Types: In the reading section, there are different task types used. For example, you will encounter answering the multiple-choice type of questions, a  complete sentences type of question, giving short answers to open-ended questions, classifications, matching headings to written text or charts, and more. 

Difference of IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Training Test: Reading Section

The reading context used in the IELTS Academic is long selections and is based on academic topics. While for the IELTS General Training Test presents short passages for you to read, and it is based on industrial and workplace settings. 

2. IELTS Writing Test Section

The Writing test section of the IELTS Computer-Based Test also offers the two test formats, including the IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Training Test. 

Moreover, this section measures a wide range of writing abilities. Consequently, it includes your knowledge and proficiency in writing comprehensive and concise essays.  

The writing test section also considers your skills in organizing your thoughts in writing, presenting your information precisely and cohesively, and how well you use a wide range of vocabulary in writing.  You also need to be careful with your grammar in writing, as it is also graded in this section.

You can also take the IELTS Academic Writing test section if you opt for the computer-based test. In addition, it still contains the same test questions and test format as the IELTS paper-based test. 

Note that the Academic Test format requires a formal type of writing. Moreover, the duration for this whole section is around 60 minutes. 

  • Part 1 of Writing Test Section The objective of your essay is to provide a comprehensive write-up of the topic given. In addition, you are given a limited timeframe of 20 minutes to write this essay. 
  • Part 2 of Writing Test Section The second writing task requires you to compose an essay regarding a specific argument, discuss opinion, and more. The duration for this part is approximately 40 minutes. Consequently, your goal is to discuss the topic clearly and provide relevant examples about the given context. 

Task Types: In this section, there are two essays that you need to write. Note that the first essay must contain 150 words, and for the second essay, it must contain a minimum of 250 words. 

Difference of IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Training Test: Writing Section

The writing context used in the IELTS Academic requires you to write formal essays with topics about statistical data, flowcharts, and other informative topics. 

While for the IELTS General Training Test, you are required to compose two essays using any writing style of your choice, and the topics are of general interest. 

3. IELTS Listening Test Section

The Listening test section assesses your skills in listening, such as how well you can defer judgment, understand main ideas, and how you can synthesize factual information from the audio clip presented. Moreover, it also concerns identifying different opinions of the speakers, their attitudes, and their purpose.

The length of this section is approximately up to 40 minutes, and it also contains 40 test questions that you need to answer about the audio clip you have heard. This test section also has four sets of recordings of various conversations by native English speakers. 

You need to complete four tasks in this listening section, and you will also be given a limited time to accomplish it all. 

Note that all the recordings presented here will only be played once, so it is best to give your full attention once it is played. In this section, you will be using a headset instead of hearing the audio clip through a loudspeaker.

  • Part 1 of Listening Test SectionThe first recording will be about a conversation between two native English speakers wherein they talked about their everyday experiences. 
  • Part 3 of Listening Test Section:The third recording is about a discussion between a group of people in an educational setting or environment. Consequently, the recording presented in this section concerns two main speakers having conversations with other people.
  • Part 4 of Listening Test SectionAnd the fourth audio clip presented here is a monologue that talks about an academic topic or lecture-based in educational institutions. 

Task Types: The listening test section uses different types of test questions. For example, you will encounter multiple-choice questions, matching type of test questions, summary completion, interpretation of graphs or tables, discussion of a flowchart, and the likes. 

4. IELTS Speaking Test Section

The IELTS Speaking test measures the individual’s wide range of listening skills, such as using the English language with precision and consistency. The duration of this section lasts around 11 to 14 minutes.

It also assesses your ability to communicate to others, express your opinions and deliver precise information. Consequently, the listening section considers one’s grammar, vocabulary, intonation, pronunciation, and eloquence in using the English language. 

Moreover, this section also determines how well you can discuss a given topic over a long period and provides relevant examples and information about the matter. You also need to showcase your abilities in analyzing and speculating different situations.  Note that you should speak comfortably and avoid talking fast. 

The speaking section in the IELTS computer-based test is still done face-to-face with an examiner. And also, this section contains three exam parts. Moreover, the examiner will assess your language speaking abilities and comprehension. 

  • Part 1 of Speaking Test Section: The first part is where you engage in an introductory conversation with the examiner. Next, the examiner will ask you to discuss general topics about yourself, your interests, family background, career, studies, and the likes to progress the conversation. This part of the examination is considered a warm-up to build rapport and help you engage with the conversation.
  • Part 2 of Speaking Test Section: The second part of the speaking test involves another type of discussion. In this task, you are asked to choose one of the cue cards presented to you, and it contains different topics and scenarios. Before you answer, you will be given a limited time to prepare and gather your thoughts.  And also, there will be follow-up questions from the examiner about the topic you have discussed.
  • Part 3 or Task 3: The last part of the speaking section is a continuation of the second part, wherein you need to answer the follow-up questions regarding the topic you have talked about.  Consequently, this last part will measure your speaking abilities on how well you can discuss and provide more information regarding a specific topic and how you can deliver your opinions regarding it. 

What is the Difference between IELTS Computer-Based and the IELTS Paper-Based Tests?

There is no significant difference between the IELTS Computer-Based Test and the Paper-Based Test. Consequently, these IELTS exams measure English language skills and provide a reliable language proficiency certification for test-takers. 

In addition, it contains the same test format, length of the exam, types of questions used, and test scoring. The only difference is the mode of delivery; for the IELTS Paper-Based Test, it is accomplished using pencil and paper. 

And while the mode of delivery for the IELTS Computer-Based Test is through the use of a computer. Moreover, you will be using headphones during the Listening test sections.

What are Reasons To Take the IELTS Computer-Based Test?

The IELTS Computer-Based Test was first introduced to the public last 2017. After it was first released in Australia, more and more test-takers worldwide now prefer the computer-based test because of its convenience and availability features. 

Here are some of the reasons why the IELTS Computer-Based Test is the top choice by most test-takers. 

  • Test Schedule Availability: The IELTS Computer-Based Test is available up to seven times a week and is scheduled for three times a day. You can schedule any time and day of the week that is convenient to you. Consequently, it is far more accessible than the Paper-Based Test’s test schedules, only available for 48 pre-scheduled test dates per year. 
  • Fast Release of Test Scores: One of the key features of the computer-based test is the speedy release of test results. The test results are available after three to five days only. Note that the number of days for processing the test scores excludes public holidays where you are located. 
  • Newly Improved Exam Venue: The computer-based test is conducted in a smaller and more comfortable room with individual computers for the test-takers to use. Plus, you have separate chambers to ensure privacy while taking the exam. It is also equipped with the latest CCTV cameras to guarantee a safe environment and avoid cheating. In addition, this newly improved exam venue is more conducive for test-takers. And it also helps you focus more on answering the exam than the paper-based test venue, which is usually conducted in a larger room with a large crowd. 
  • Use of Headphones for the Listening Test Section: Most test-takers prefer the IELTS computer-based test because those testing centers that offer this exam use noise-canceling headphones for the Listening test section. It helps you focus more on the audio clips presented in each task than it will be played via a loudspeaker. 

Additional FAQs on IELTS Computer-based Test

Is the IELTS Computer-based Test Easier?

The IELTS Computer-Based Test is more convenient and accessible to take than the Paper-Based Test.

However, the convenience it gives to its test-takers does not equal its level of difficulty. It simply means that the IELTS Computer-Based Test is equally challenging as the Paper-Based Test. 

Note that these two IELTS test types are just the same exam, so they are made up of the same contents, formats, and level of difficulty. Consequently, you cannot consider this exam is easier. 

Is it Better to Take an IELTS Paper-based or a Computer-based test? 

If you prefer writing to typing on a computer, you can choose the IELTS Paper-Based Test.

However, if you find typing more convenient and more manageable, you can take the IELTS Computer-Based Test. 

These IELTS test types are similar in content and provide reliable test scores to prove your language proficiency level. So you do not have to worry about which one to take or which one is better, it’s all up to you on what you find more comfortable and accessible.