IELTS computer based test

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) computer-based test

(CBT) is a modern alternative to the traditional paper-based test. It offers several advantages and a slightly different experience for test-takers. Here’s a detailed look at the IELTS computer-based test:

Test Sections:

The IELTS CBT consists of the same four sections as the paper-based test:

Listening: In the computer-based test, you will listen to four recorded conversations and monologues. Test-takers wear headphones and answer questions based on what they hear. The Listening section typically lasts around 30 minutes.

Reading: The Reading section includes three long texts, along with a variety of question types, similar to the paper-based version. Test-takers can navigate through the text using the computer. This section has a time limit of 60 minutes.

Writing: In the Writing section, you complete two tasks. The first task involves describing a graph, chart, table, or diagram, and the second task is writing an essay. You’ll use a computer keyboard for this section, with a time limit of 60 minutes.

Speaking: The Speaking section remains a face-to-face interview with an examiner, just like in the paper-based test. It typically takes between 11 to 14 minutes.

Advantages of the IELTS Computer-Based Test:

Faster Results: One significant advantage of the computer-based test is the quicker availability of results. In most cases, you can receive your IELTS results within 5-7 days, compared to the 13 days for the paper-based test.

Multiple Test Dates: The computer-based test is available more frequently throughout the year, with test dates often multiple times a week, offering greater flexibility for test-takers.

Typing Skills: For those comfortable with typing, the Writing section can be more efficient on a computer than writing by hand. This can help with time management during the test.

Navigational Ease: In the Reading section, you can easily navigate through the text and questions, which can be particularly helpful for locating specific information.

Listening Experience: The use of headphones in the Listening section often provides a clearer and more immersive audio experience.

Computer-Based Test Tips:

Familiarize yourself with the test format: It’s important to practice on a computer to get used to the format and navigation tools.

Typing skills: If you’re not accustomed to typing essays or responses on a computer, consider practicing your typing skills.

Noise-cancelling headphones: While the test center provides headphones, bringing noise-cancelling headphones can help block out distractions during the Listening section.

Familiarize yourself with the testing center: Arrive early and acquaint yourself with the computer and the test environment on the day of your test.

Manage your time: With the Writing section done on a computer, time management is crucial. Practice writing essays within the time constraints.

The IELTS computer-based test offers a more flexible and efficient way to take the test, especially for those who are comfortable with technology and typing. However, it’s essential to choose the test format that suits your preferences and the requirements of the institutions or organizations you are applying to.


IELTS computer-based test format, including its sections, time limits, and scoring:

Section Description Time Limit Scoring
Listening Four recorded conversations and monologues Approximately 30 minutes Band score (0-9)
Reading Three long texts with a variety of question types 60 minutes Band score (0-9)
Writing Two tasks: 1) Describe a graph or chart; 2) Write an essay 60 minutes Band score (0-9)
Speaking Face-to-face interview with an examiner 11-14 minutes Band score (0-9)
Overall Band Score An average of the scores in the four sections Overall Band Score (0-9)
The IELTS computer-based test format is similar to the paper-based test, with four main sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. The scores for each section are combined to calculate an Overall Band Score, which ranges from 0 (non-user) to 9 (expert user) in half-band increments. This Overall Band Score is often used for university admissions, immigration, and employment purposes.

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