IELTS on computer

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Advantages of taking the IELTS on computer

  • You get the results sooner
  • Tests available almost every day
  • Great for fast typers
  • Easier to make corrections (copying and pasting is not allowed)
  • Timer to help you manage the time
  • Word counter in the writing part
  • Headphones for the listening (less distractions?)
  • A lot of centres have the speaking test on the same date as the rest of the exam
  • For the Reading part, you can highlight segments of text, you can also make text notes too, see image below.

In the online course we ask students to only send in computer typed essays.


  • More expensive (around 100$ usd more)
  • You can't write or draw on the question sheet, potentially bad for the listening and reading
  • Writing task 1 - might be harder because you can’t take notes on the question paper
  • Highlighting text takes much more effort and wastes time, following maps is more difficult, etc.

Advantages of paper based IELTS (traditional)

  • Cheaper (around $100 usd less)
  • Works better for slow typers
  • Possible to make notes on the question sheet, helpful for tasks including maps and highlighting key words
  • You may make mistakes, but you certainly won't make a typo


  • Most younger people, myself included, do type faster than they write, so the writing part will be slower for the majority
  • Students with poor handwriting could lose points (more info here).
  • Have to transfer answers to the answer sheet, increased chances of making mistakes
  • Fewer tests, longer wait for the results
  • Speaking could be arranged for another day

Dmitry, a student from Russia, told me that he was at a 6.5 previously. He took the computer-based test and managed to get 7. He was convinced it was because it was computer-based.

He said he suffered from writing slowly, and his handwriting was poor.

I think this is quite common among students nowadays, especially those who don’t use the Latin alphabet daily (Chinese / Russians etc).

Nowadays almost everyone is typing on computers, for work, school etc.

Listen to the entire podcast with Dmitry here:

|Direct Download Here | Stitcher | iTunes | Spotify | Soundcloud | Transcript |

Did you take the IELTS test on a computer?
How was it?
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For IELTS reading on the computer check out this video from IELTS IDP:

It’s a mixture of normal buttons you would expect to choose your answer (multiple choice).

ielts on computer

It also includes drag and drop options for matching the headings.