The IELTS test is offered by two delivery methods:
Both delivery methods cover four English skills: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.
In both cases, the Speaking test is conducted face-to-face with a live examiner.
With almost all details being the same, it’s important to highlight the two key differences between paper-based and computer-delivered IELTS tests.
First, the paper-based test uses paper answer keys for the Listening, Reading and Writing sections of the test. The computer-delivered test uses a headset, keyboard and computer to deliver these three sections to test takers.
Second, a major advantage of the computer-delivered test is that results are available very quickly – within 3-5 business days. Paper-based test results are ready in 13 days. The quick turn-around of computer-delivered test scores is why the CD IELTS test is so popular.
If you are registered to take a computer-delivered IELTS test, we are pleased to help you get ready with a set of technical tips from our Test Day Team.
Lots of IELTS test takers feel more familiar with traditional test formats, where you use a paper, pencil and eraser to complete the exam.
But if you stop to think about it, you’ve probably experienced at least one computer-delivered quiz or test in your lifetime.
Everyday life is full of computers – smart phones, email, online banking, shopping websites, virtual classes, and Zoom meetings.
If you are signed up to take the computer-delivered IELTS test (also called CD IELTS), don’t doubt yourself. You’re probably more tech-savvy than you think.
The CD IELTS test is delivered on a standard desktop computer, with monitor, mouse and Qwerty keyboard with English fonts. Also, typing with a keyboard is different than using our thumbs for text messaging on a mobile phone. If you use a non-Qwerty keyboard or mobile phone a lot in your daily life, do practice with a Qwerty keyboard so you can be as efficient as possible on test day.
When you first sit down at the computer station that’s been assigned to you, take a moment to get comfortable and relax.
Don’t rush to input your exam ID and password. You can wait until the Invigilator finishes giving all their instructions.
Listen carefully. Stay calm. And input your information carefully.
When you type in your password, the test system will hide it behind asterisks to ensure privacy.
If you get the message “Your password is not correct”, you can use this trick to view it in plain text.
First, input your password into username box (instead of the password box). Once you’ve identified that it is correct:
Use Ctrl+X to cut from the username field.
Use Ctrl+V to paste it into password field.
There are separate passwords for the Reading and Listening sections of the CD IELTS test.
Don’t use your Reading password for the Listening section.
All the computers in the IELTS Test Centre labs are carefully maintained and in good working order. Sometimes, though, a keyboard or mouse will stop responding to touch.
If this happens, don’t panic. You can move your mouse around and click, click, click. Then move the mouse back to position, so that you can finish inputting your exam ID and password.
The big arrows on the bottom right of the screen only go to the previous or next question.
If you want to skip several questions, use the question numbers displayed on the bottom of your screen to go directly to the question you want to work on.
Use the question numbers in each module of the test to go directly to the next module. This will give you extra time to get familiar with the context even before that part of the test begins.
While completing the listening questions, you will find that using the “Tab” button is faster than using the mouse to move to the next question.
Don’t be overconfident with your typing speed, especially for questions focused on numbers or postal codes. Write down the numbers with your pencil first, then input the numbers on the computer.
Some CD IELTS questions end with the phrase: ”Move it to the gap.” The word “gap” means “blank space”.
To move an answer to the gap or blank, you need to click-drag-drop answers from right side to the gaps on left side.
Don’t try to click or input the answer as it won’t allow you to do this. Making this mistake can waste time and cause you to potentially miss answers.
Use the right-hand button of the mouse to mark key words in the reading passage and test questions so you can go back and find answers faster and more easily.
If you speak to people who took a CD IELTS test without practicing first:
To successfully complete both parts (Part 1 and Part 2), it is very important to know which time management strategy works best for yourself. The best way to develop your time-management for the writing section is to complete timed practice tests before Test Day.
Time-permitting, you are free to change any of your answers on the computer-delivered IELTS test. If you are someone who feels confident using keyboard shortcuts, you can edit your answers by using keyboard shortcuts:
Ctrl+C – copy
Ctrl+V – paste
Ctrl+Z – reverse your last action
Try avoiding Ctrl +X, which will cut a large portion of highlighted text.
You want to go into the test feeling confident with your English and your test skills.
Like with any exam, though, try not to be over-confident.
Listen to instructions carefully, read instructions carefully and read each question carefully.
Take a look at the short video introduction about CD IELTS to help you understand and prepare for computer-delivered IELTS. Alleviate your stress about computer issues so you can focus on your test as our IELTS team is there for you on test day.