IDP vs British Council IELTS Tests: Is There A Difference?

The IELTS exam is one of the leading and most prestigious English language proficiency tests available. While the IDP and British Council are the two highly recognized and trusted testing centers administering the IELTS tests. 

These two test providers offer the IELTS exam in various countries around the world. However, many test-takers are still confused about the IDP and British Council. Are they the same? 

Which is better between the two? Is it easy to take the IELTS with IDP or with the British Council? Or will I get a higher score if I choose the IDP or British Council? Unfortunately, most people do not know the difference between these two testing centers. 

Some prefer the IDP for specific reasons, while others choose the British Council. In connection, many people argue that the British Council is much better than the IDP when it comes to the IELTS exam and vice versa. They 

To find out more about these trusted testing centers, we will discuss the IDP and British Council in this article if the two have a significant difference and find out if there is a better choice for you. 


What is the IELTS Test?

It is a commonly used language proficiency exam that is trusted and accepted by the most prominent universities and colleges worldwide. The IELTS Test is a language assessment test intended for those individuals who are non-native English speakers. 

Moreover, the IELTS Test was established in 1989 and was created by and jointly owned by the British Council, the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, and IDP: IELTS Australia. In addition, this exam also accepts British and American English vocabulary and other English accents in its test.

In addition, this English language proficiency exam is designed to measure the four English language skills, including listening, speaking, writing, and reading. It also assesses the individual readiness to use the English language in different social and academic settings. 

And also, this exam is focused on the use of the English language as a communicative language and integrating the language for a specific setting and purposes. 

The IELTS exam also offers two exam formats for its test-takers, including the IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Training Test, wherein you can take these two — either paper-based or computer-based

The IELTS language proficiency certification is also commonly used and accepted for university and college admissions. And also, it is recognized and trusted by companies and immigration offices in various countries worldwide. 


What is the British Council?

The British Council is a UK-based organization specializing in international cultural and educational opportunities. It is also one of the prominent and widely recognized English language testing centers worldwide. 

And also, the British Council offers the IELTS exam. This organization helps and assists you in taking the IELTS exam if you plan to expand your career abroad or pursue a degree in any university and college in any English-speaking country.

In addition, this organization fully supports individuals to learn English, achieve high-quality education and provide accurate English language proficiency certification. 

What is IDP?

IDP (International Education Specialists) Education Limited is one of the international English assessment testing centers that provide placement exams in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK, China, and other countries worldwide. 

Moreover, the IDP goal is to help students and non-native English speakers study and have a career in any international English-speaking country. And also, the IDP offers the IELTS exam to different locations and countries across the world.

The IDP also has a different IELTS preparation package to help you gear up for the language proficiency test. Consequently, the IDP also offers free IELTS preparation classes and training courses. 

And also have IELTS official preparation books with practice materials that you can purchase to guide you and help you study for the IELTS exam. 


IELTS Exam Fees: IDP vs. British Council

The IELTS exam fee remains the same for both the IDP and British Council test providers. And also, there is no difference whether you take the IELTS Academic or IELTS General Training Test formats. 

Moreover, the IELTS exam fee is approximately USD 200. However, the exam fee varies in different countries worldwide. To put it simply, what you will be paying in IDP Australia will be different from the IDP IELTS exam fee in the Philippines. 

IELTS Exam Structure and Format

There are two formats for the IELTS exam, the IELTS Academic Test and IELTS General Training Test. Both of these two formats are offered in the IDP and British Council. 

Consequently, the IELTS Academic Test is widely used for an academic setting and features advanced English vocabulary. This format also is intended for those who want to continue any doctorate programs, master’s degrees, and those other graduate school programs. 

The IELTS General Test is intended for industrial settings and features day-to-day communication in a social environment. 

This IELTS format is also commonly used for visa application and is perfect for those individuals who want to apply for a below-a-degree level or programs. It is also used for migration processes in various English-speaking countries worldwide. 

Here is a table showing the IELTS Exam Format offered in IDP and British Council organizations. 

Exam FormatIDP British Council 
IELTS Academic TestAvailableAvailable 
IELTS General Training TestAvailableAvailable 

The IELTS exam has four test sections that assess English language skills, including listening, writing, reading, and speaking. In addition, the duration of this language proficiency exam is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

Note that the speaking test section is scheduled seven days before or after you have taken the other IELTS exam test sections, whichever schedule is provided by your testing center. And it is also done on a one-on-one session with an IELTS examiner. 

Moreover, you can also take the two IELTS exam formats in paper-based or computer-based tests, and these are also offered in IDP and British Council. So whether you take the IELTS exam in paper-based or computer-based in the IDP or the British Council is no different. 

Here is a table showing the different test formats of the IELTS for IDP and British Council organizations. 

IDPBritish Council 
Test Sections
  • Listening Test Section
  • Writing Test Section
  • Reading Test Section
  • Speaking Test Section 
  • Listening Test Section
  • Writing Test Section
  • Reading Test Section
  • Speaking Test Section 
Mode of Delivery
  • IELTS Paper-Based Test
  • IELTS Computer-Based Test 
  • IELTS Paper-Based Test
  • IELTS Computer-Based Test 

Accents Used in the IDP and British Council IELTS Exam

The British Council is UK based while the IDP is an Australian-based organization, and both of these organizations use a wide range of accents. However, this does not affect the language or accent used in administering the IELTS exam. 

Note that the IELTS exam accepts Australian, English, and British accents. Moreover, you may encounter different accents in taking the IELTS speaking test section, but it does not mean that you also need to speak in a British or Australian accent in response. 

You can freely speak your natural accent when taking the IELTS speaking test section. The IELTS examiner may also vary in accent, but remember that the accent used is not the only factor considered in scoring the IELTS listening test section. 

However, most test-takers find the IDP speaking test section challenging because most IELTS examiners have an Australian accent that is sometimes hard to understand. 

Here is a comparison table between the British Council and IDP regarding accent used. 

British Council IDP 
The United Kingdom BasedAustralian Based 
Accepts American, Australian, British, and other English accents Accepts American, Australian, British, and other English accents 

Scoring and Grading System: IDP vs. British Council 

The IELTS exam has a standardized scoring and interpretation of each test score. The IDP and British Council also follow this standardized scoring for each IELTS test section. 

In connection, the IELTS uses the band score of 9 to 0, which is the same scoring system used by the two IELTS exam providers. So it simply means there is no significant difference in the scoring and grading system between the IDP and British Council. 

Moreover, the IELTS speaking examiners are trained equally for the IDP and British Council testing organizations. These are professional IELTS examiners that underwent the same training and used the same materials. 

They are also regularly checked by the IELTS to ensure that they are following the standardized administration of the exam. In connection, the IELTS speaking test is administered correctly and follows the same grading criteria regardless of whether you take it with IDP or in the British Council. 

Here is a table showing the IELTS scoring and grading system used in the IDP and British Council. 

IDPBritish Council 
IELTS
Scoring and Grading
System
Uses the overall band score of 9 to 0 Uses the overall band score of 9 to 0 

IDP and British Council IELTS Exam Frequency

The IELTS exam is conducted by the IDP and British Council across different countries abroad. In addition, the IELTS test dates for IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training Test are available throughout the year for both the IDP and British Council. 

Moreover, the IELTS test dates are pre-scheduled up to four times a month, which equals 48 pre-scheduled test dates. And it is usually held on Thursdays and Saturdays. However, if you prefer to take the computer-based IELTS exam, it is available three times a day and seven days a week. 

These pre-scheduled test dates and the computer-based IELTS test schedules are the same for the IDP and British Council. You can directly visit the British Council official website and IDP official website to register and check the availability of these test schedules in its respective testing centers. 

Here is a table showing the IELTS exam frequency for IDP and British Council. 

IDPBritish Council 
Exam Frequency

Both the IELTS Academic Test
IELTS General Training Test
Paper-Based IELTS Test
  • 48 prescheduled test dates annually 
Computer-based IELTS Test
  • 3 times a day, 7 days a week 
Paper-Based IELTS Test
  • 48 prescheduled test dates annually 
Computer-based IELTS Test
  • 3 times a day, 7 days a week 

Test Requirements: IDP vs. British Council 

The IELTS test requirements are the same for the IDP and British Council. You need to present a valid ID, either a passport or national-issued ID, reflecting the same information you have provided in the IELTS application form. 

Moreover, the IELTS exam also requires test-takers with a minimum age of 16. Anyone can also take the language proficiency exam regardless of race, nationality, and ethnicity. 

Which Is Easier: IDP or British Council?

The IDP and the British Council are different organizations that administer the IELTS exams. They did not create the IELTS exams, meaning the language proficiency test you take in the IDP or British Council is the same test format and difficulty level. 

You should also consider that the IELTS exam is a standardized language proficiency exam, so the IELTS exam contents and structure in the IDP and the British Council are all the same. 


IDP Vs. British Council Available Offices & Testing Centers Worldwide

The British Council has a significant number of offices available in different countries. It means that this test provider is more accessible to test-takers who wish to take the IELTS exam. In comparison, the IDP is only available in a selected number of countries worldwide. 

Here is a table showing the countries where the IDP and British Council offices are located. 

IDPBritish Council
Countries where Offices are Available
  • Australia
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Canada
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Egypt 
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Kenya
  • Korea
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritius 
  • NepalNew Zealand
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • UAE
  • Vietnam
The British Council Offices are available in the various countries that belong in the following continents: 

Americas
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
Asia Pacific
  • Australia
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
European Union
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Poland
  • Spain

The Middle East and North Africa
  • Egypt
  • Bahrain
  • Irag
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Oman
  • Israel
  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates

Indian Subcontinent
  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan

Sub-Sahara Africa
  • Botswana
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Sudan
  • Rwanda
  • Uganda

Wider Europe

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Israel
  • Kosovo
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey

There are many presumptions about the IDP and British Council regarding the IELTS exam. These beliefs are key factors that help the test-takers choose the organization that will administer the IELTS exam. 

Here are some of the common misconceptions about the IDP and British Council. 

  • Many test-takers think that the IDP IELTS exam is easier than the British Council. And this is why many prefer and book the IDP than the British Council. 
  • One of the misconceptions of the IDP is that the organization is more lenient in terms of grading and scoring for the IELTS exam that is why many test-takers choose the IDP. While the British Council is much more strict when it comes to scoring. 
  • Another belief of people regarding the IDP is that they will not be accepted to countries such as the UK or USA if they take the IELTS exam with the IDP. 
  • Only those who take the IDP are accepted easily in Australia compared to those who took the IELTS exam in the British Council. 

Summary Table of IDP and British Council IELTS Exam Comparison 

IELTS Exam Key FeaturesBritish CouncilIDP 
Exam Fee
  • USD 200
  • USD 200 
Exam Format
  • IELTS Academic
  • IELTS General Training Test
  • IELTS Academic
  • IELTS General Training Test
Exam Length
  • Listening – 30 minutes
  • Reading – 60 minutes
  • Writing – 60 minutes
  • Speaking – 11 to 14 minutes 
  • Listening – 30 minutes
  • Reading – 60 minutes
  • Writing – 60 minutes
  • Speaking – 11 to 14 minutes 
Mode of Delivery 
  • IELTS Paper-Based Test
  • IELTS Computer-Based Test 
  • IELTS Paper-Based Test
  • IELTS Computer-Based Test 
Accent Used
  • Accepts American, Australian, British, and other English accents 
  • Accepts American, Australian, British, and other English accents 
Scoring and Grading System
  • Overall Band Score of 9 to 0
  • Overall Band Score of 9 to 0
Minimum Age Requirement
  • 16 years old
  • 16 years old
Exam FrequencyPaper-Based IELTS Test
  • 48 prescheduled test dates annually 
Computer-based IELTS Test
  • 3 times a day, 7 days a week 
Paper-Based IELTS Test
  • 48 prescheduled test dates annually 
Computer-based IELTS Test
  • 3 times a day, 7 days a week 

Additional FAQs

Is the British Council Better than IDP?

Generally, the British Council and the IDP do not have any significant differences in administering the IELTS exam. They both follow the same protocol and guidelines for supervising this language proficiency test. 

So, we cannot consider which one is better or worst. Both of these two organizations are equally reliable in offering the IELTS exam. However, they only slightly differ in test schedules,  test center locations, and availability. 

Is the British Council Easy or IDP?

When it comes to the IELTS exam, both the British Council and the IDP offer it to test-takers worldwide. The IELTS  is a standardized English language proficiency exam whether you take it using the British Council or the IDP, meaning it still has the same level of difficulty, test structure, and exam length. 

Moreover, it is administered identically in the British Council and IDP. And the scoring and grading system is also uniform between these two IELTS testing centers. In addition, note that the IELTS exam remains the same whether you take it in the British Council or the IDP. 

Is the IDP IELTS Valid in Canada?

Yes, the IDP IELTS is valid anywhere in the world. The IELTS exam is the same no matter the location of the testing center where you have taken the exam. So, for example, you have taken it in the US IDP testing center, the IELTS test result will be valid and will still be accepted in Canada. 

Note that the location of the IDP testing center does not affect the validity of the IELTS Exam. And also, the IELTS exam provides reliable and accurate test results and assessment of your English language proficiency level. 

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