You can now take the IELTS exam on a computer in 20 different countries, including Vietnam. Here, in Vietnam, there are more than 1,000 registered IELTS training providers, but only two language schools and one university which provide online lessons as a part of their courses.
If you are planning to take the IELTS exam online (or if you are busy and travel a lot), make sure you join the right course. At Saigon English, all our IELTS courses include 40 hours of online study for Reading and Writing, Listening and Speaking, Language Building plus Grammar and Vocabulary. This is set for homework by our teachers. For level 2 and level 3 students, an additional six hours of online academic study skills are available for students (free of charge) who are getting ready for a university course taught in English.
In the computer-based IELTS exam, you sit the Reading, Listening and Writing tests in front of a computer in an official IELTS test centre. You then submit your answers through the use of a keyboard and a mouse. So, instead of writing your answers on a piece of paper you type them on a keyboard. However, the Speaking test isn’t on a computer, it is still face-to-face with a trained IELTS examiner.
Which test is easier?
Neither! The questions included on the computer-based and paper-based exams are exactly the same. You should choose which test to take based on suitability.
Benefits of taking the computer-based exam
- Easier to edit. Some candidates find that using a computer makes it easier to edit their writing.
- Word count. The computer will automatically count the number of words in your essay. It is not required that candidates should do a word count at the end of their report and essay, but you must make sure you achieve the minimum requirement.
- Less crowded test centres. Computer-based IELTS test centres are typically less crowded and more organised. This does not affect your score, but some students may prefer it and feel less stressed.
- Handwriting isn’t an issue. If you have poor handwriting (and many of my students do!), then the computer-based test is an ideal solution.
- No page turning. In the Reading section, the screen is divided into two parts – the text and the questions.
Disadvantages of taking the computer-based exam
- Drawing, highlighting and making notes on the screen isn’t as easy. You can right-click to highlight the text or make notes on the screen, but for most students this in not as convenient as using paper (and takes more time). Also, you are not always given a pen and paper in a computer-based test.
- Eye strain. Some students find looking at a screen for several hours very tiring.
- Noise. Some candidates may be distracted by the sound of typing.
- Familiarity with typing and using computers. If you type very slowly (slower than you write) and take some time getting used to moving around the screen, this form of test may not be the most suitable option.
- Fewer practice questions for Listening and Reading. There are many Cambridge Practice Tests available for the written test, but since this is a new form of the test, there are fewer (reliable) online practice questions available.
The official video from the British Council
This video gives you an overview of the computer-delivered IELTS.
For more information, see this link: Computer-delivered IELTS