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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second In many countries, you can now take the IELTS test on a computer. The test format, task type and timings are the same as the paper-based test, but of course there are some differences in the actual way that you answer questions, such as the ability to easily edit as you write, use drag and drop for labels and headings, and the ability to highlight text and make notes on screen in the reading test. In this video we’ll take you on a walkthrough of how the computer-delivered IELTS test works and show you some examples. In the links under this video, you’ll find full tutorials on each part, as well as practice tests so you can try it for yourself.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 seconds At the start of the test you’ll check all your details are correct then test the headphones and adjust the volume before starting the Listening test itself. Once you’ve read through the instructions, you click the Start Test button. You’ll then have some time to read through the questions before the audio starts playing. For each part of the Listening test, you’ll hear the recording once only. Some parts of the test have more than one type of question, so make sure you read and listen carefully to all the instructions.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 seconds All the question types are exactly the same as in the paper-based test, but some questions use a different method to record your answers, such as dragging and dropping words to fill gaps or to label diagrams. Remember, for every question you can change your answer at any time.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 seconds In the Reading test, the text appears on the left of the screen and the questions on the right, with scroll bars for each one to allow you to see the full text and all the questions. To answer the questions you’ll choose from a set of options, complete gaps with words or drag and drop headings and labels onto texts or diagrams. While you’re reading, you can highlight parts of the text with key information or places you think the answers to questions are located, and you can also easily add notes to help you when you go back to that section.

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 seconds In the Writing test, you’ll see the question on the left of the screen and the space to write your answer on the right. Your answers are saved automatically, so you don’t need to press any buttons to save or submit them. You can make any changes as you write or after you finish. You can either complete Task 1 then Task 2 in order, or start with Task 2 if you prefer – it’s up to you. At the end of both the Reading and Writing tests, the clock will turn red and flash when you have ten and five minutes left.

Computer-delivered IELTS

In many countries you can now choose to take your IELTS test either on paper or on computer.

Just like in the paper-based test, in the computer-delivered test the Listening, Reading and Writing sections are all completed on the same day. The Speaking test, however, can be completed up to a week before or after the other tests. All other aspects of the test are exactly the same, whether it is taken on paper or on computer, including the test content, the timings of the different sections, the question types and scoring.

So, the content of the computer-delivered test is exactly the same as paper-based IELTS, and the skills you need to complete the tasks are identical. However, typing your answers on computer rather than writing them on paper means that things like making corrections, taking notes, highlighting text and key words etc. are a little different. In this video you will see how the computer-delivered test works from start to finish, how the questions look on screen and what tools that are available to help you navigate the test. You can find full tutorial videos for each part of the test here, practice test questions here, and sign up for a complete free familiarisation test here. In the next step you will have the opportunity to try practice Reading questions in both paper-based and computer-delivered formats.

Watch the video, then tell us what you think in the comments. Do you think you would prefer to take the paper-based or computer-delivered test? Why?

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding IELTS: Reading

British Council