Paper-Based vs

IELTS Paper-Based vs Computer-Based

IELTS Paper-Based vs Computer-Based

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is one of the standardised English proficiency tests that all universities in the world accept. It is scored in a 9-band scale, and is one of the oft-chosen tests by international students.

If you have been preparing to get a good score on the IELTS test, this is something you should know about. There are two ways to take the IELTS test; paper-based and computer-based.
The computer-based test was introduced in 2017 in Australia and was later extended to other parts of the world. Now that you know that there are two ways of taking the test, it is essential to know which is better; paper-based or computer-based. Well, it is not an easy question to answer, but we have managed to include everything you need to know to take a wise decision. 

As you are aware, there are several IELTS test centres in India. We at AECC can assist you with everything regarding the IELTS Exam! We represent top universities and educational institutions globally and provide end-to-end advice and application management services to students pursuing international education in fantastic places such as Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
If you are interested in international education, we are here to help!

IELTS Paper-Based vs Computer-Based: Introduction

There is no difference in the questions asked in the paper-based and computer-based tests. The major difference lies in the way the exam is taken. The time allotted, test format, question types etc., remain the same for both; the major difference will be in your test experience. If you take the paper-based test, you will have to attempt the Listening, Reading and Writing parts on the paper. On the other hand, you will be required to type the answers in case of the computer-based test. The Speaking section will be the same for both types. You must attend an in-person interview for it. There are a few advantages and disadvantages for both tests, which will be beneficial for you to know about. 

We have included a few details concerning both paper-based and computer-based IELTS tests for your better understanding.

  1. For a paper-based test, you will be required to write the answers on paper. For a computer-based test, you must type the answers on the screen in a box provided against each question. Additionally, you will be provided paper and a pen/pencil for the computer-based test.
  2. Both tests will start with the Listening section, followed by the Reading and Writing sections. The Speaking test will be held separately on the same day, before or after the others.
  3. In the paper-based test, the candidate can write the answers while they hear the recording in the Listening section. They can also transfer the answers to the answer sheet in the last 10 minutes of the section. For a computer-based test, the candidate can type the answer after each question, and there will be time between the sections, with no extra time after the questions in the Listening section are completed.
  4. A computer-based test will be conducted in offices or other similar setups where each candidate will have a separate small room. A paper-based test will be conducted in larger, open spaces like educational institutions, hotels etc.
  5. The candidates who take the computer-based test will be given a computer in good condition with noise-cancelling headphones, especially for the Listening section.
  6. The computer-based test allows the candidate to get the word count, which is especially helpful in the Writing section. Additionally, the noise-cancellation headphones during the Listening sections ensure clarity.

Difference: IELTS Paper-Based vs Computer-Based

When you take the IELTS General or Academic Test, you can choose whether to take the paper-based test or the computer-based test. There are a few respects in which both paper-based and computer-based IELTS testing differ. We have given a table below in which we have detailed the differences between the two of them on a few parameters.




Test availability

Tests are conducted 48 days per year, on Thursdays and Saturdays

Tests are conducted3 times a day on all 7 days of the week

Mode of booking

Candidate should click on the paper icon while booking for IELTS

Candidate should choose the computer icon while booking for IELTS


Results will be out after 13 days of taking the test

Results will be out after 3-5 days of taking the test

IELTS Paper-Based vs Computer-Based: Which Is Better?

By now, you would have a rough idea about what the paper-based and computer-based tests are about. It is essential to choose the test format you are comfortable with before applying for the IELTS test. There are a few facts that you have to consider before proceeding with it.
They are given below:

If you are comfortable with a computer-based test and have taken other computer-based tests before, you can definitely give it a try. If you are proficient in computer skills, like privacy, are more comfortable with typing, have a good typing speed etc., you can finalise on the computer-based test. On the other hand, if you are more expressive when you write and are not confident about your typing speed and computer skills, you can choose the paper-based test. Also, the paper-based test gives you an additional 10 minutes after completing the test, while the computer-based test gives you time in between each of the sections. So, if you are particular about having extra time after the completion of the test, it is better to choose the paper-based test.

Both the paper-based and computer-based IELTS tests differ only in a few respects, and you can choose the one that best suits you based on the above information. You can also contact AECC’s counsellors for expert guidance. We offer one-to-one assistance to clear all your doubts for free!

IELTS Paper-Based vs Computer-Based

If you have computer-based skills, a moderately good typing speed, and are comfortable typing, it is better to take the IELTS computer-based test. However, several students have regarded computer-based tests to be a better option.

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