Computer Delivered IELTS: Pros & Cons

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Computer Based IELTS test (CBT). Comments below come from various IELTS candidates. Many of the comments are from Kumar = “thanks, Kumar!” Note, this test is sometimes called the CDT = computer delivered test.

Pros  
  • Easy to write/type your answers
  • Screens provided are a good size which is useful for reading
  • Less crowded
  • Quick results (one candidate got his results in 5 days)
  • Slot availability
Cons – 
  • You need to be very good at typing. If you are not a good typist, you should consider the paper based test instead.
  • Screens will get locked exactly at the mentioned time so we will not be able to make any last minute changes.
  •  The timer will not display seconds in the last one minute. so you don’t know when the screen will get locked.

General Advice:

  • Make sure you practise CBT sample tests before you try the real one. You can find one on the IDP website. Below is feedback on each module.
  • If your typing isn’t good, take the PBT (paper based test).
Listening Pros and Cons:
  1. Con: Even though you are given a pen and paper, you need to type your answer directly into the computer. This means you need to be able to listen and type at the same time.
  2. Con: You will not have 10 mins to transfer your answers from paper to answer sheet which is why your answers must be typed directly into the answer boxes on the screen.. In the paper based test, you have 10 mins to transfer your answers from the question paper to the answer sheet. In the CBT, it is presumed that you have already typed your answers directly into the computer so you are only given 2 mins – just to check spelling.
  3. Con: If you don’t know how to move from one section to the next, you might waste valuable time figuring it out.
  4. Pro: The tab key works to move from one part to another.
  5. Note: One candidate had an example conversation played at the start of the listening test, another did not. So be aware of this.
  6. Advice: Please get familiar with the Page look and feel on CBT exam for each question type. You can get a sample for each question type in IDP website.
Reading Pros and Cons:
  1.  Pro: The best thing with CBT is that you can have passage on left-hand side and questions on the right-hand side. It is really easy and convenient to read and answers the questions.
  2. Pro: You can increase the font size.
  3. Pro: You can highlight the text as needed. Right click and select highlight. In the PBT, it is not easy to highlight because you can’t use a highlighter pen in the test.
  4. Another advantage for the reading exam: you can copy/paste from the text using CTRL+C and CTRL+V which reduces the chances of typos.  CAN ANYONE CONFIRM THIS TIP FOR ME?
  5. Advice: Get used to scrolling up and down long articles to get used to reading passages and navigating passages on a screen.
Writing Pros and Cons:
  1. Pro: You do not need to count your words. The computer will show the word count.
  2. Pro: It is easier to edit your writing. You can cut, copy and paste.
  3. Con: The major disadvantage with CBT is we unintentionally make typo errors. Though we know how to spell a word we make mistakes when we type. It is not always possible to identify all the spelling mistakes when proof reading.
  • Con: There will be a lot of people typing for one hour all at the same time. This means it can be very noisy which some people find distracting.
  • Con: Your typing speed needs to be adequate.
  • Note: You will be given a pen and paper. You can use it to plan your essay.

Speaking Test: This hasn’t changed. It is still a face to face conversation with the examiner.

I would like more feedback on the IELTS CBT.

If you took the CBT, can you post more pros and cons so I can add them to the list above? I would like to make this page as useful as possible. Can you think of more advantages to the CBT writing?

Thanks

Liz

Comments

  1. Hi!
    Does anyone know how many time you have on the Listening part in the CDT? I heard that less than in the PBT. Also, is it possible to write answers on a pice of papper and in the end transfer this in the computer? I have a problem with typing phone number and family name fast (you know, then they spell it…).
    Thanks!

    • The recording will last for 30 mins – that is fixed – it makes no difference which test you take. The format of the test never changes. What does change is that you get only 2 mins (not 10 mins) to check your answers. You do NOT transfer your answers from paper to computer. You type directly to the computer and you have 2 mins at the end to check and alter your answers.

  2. RAJ KUMAR PANDEY says

    Hi Liz,
    Yes, I can confirm that we can copy/paste from the text using CTRL+C and CTRL+V. I also tried CTRL+F for finding some word, but it didn’t work (as expected).

    Thanks
    Raj

  3. Hi,
    I just want to ask if for CBT for writing the checking mechanism is same as manual or they are using some computer based software to check the writing test?

    Regards,

  4. Hi Liz,

    I want to attend computer based, at about 3 week later. I am searching for proper test samples, but I couldnt find anyone. If anybody knows any website or something, please let me know.

  5. YaaAsant says

    Hi all!!
    Below are some observations from my computer delivered IELTS exam.
    Date: 03-June-2019
    Location: Ghana

    At the test center, we had to await a software update from Cambridge. By the way, why would Cambridge want to deploy an update at a scheduled test time? Start time got delayed by an hour.

    You will receive different login credentials for each module of the test, and these are delivered just before the start of a particular module.

    The test center has the ability to pause a candidate’s test in the event of a technical error. During the READING module, my computer decided to take an unsanctioned nap. Upon complaint, the administrator paused my session on his work station and prepared another computer for me. My test continued from where the previous computer shut down. Fortunately for me, I was on the last question and still had about a quarter of an hour to spare. It took about seven minutes to resolve the issue and this meant other test takers had to wait some extra minutes – after they had completed their individual tests – for me to wrap mine up. I am uncertain if this privilege could be extended to the LISTENING module; maybe, maybe not. This brings me to the next observation.

    LISTENING test was not the same for all candidates. The user of the computer next to mine had the volume all the way up, and the audio bled into my headset (Sadly, my test center couldn’t afford noise cancelling headsets. Be grateful if your test center offers one of those). During the pauses in my audio, I could here his and it was completely different from mine. I confirmed this at the end of the test. I can’t confirm nor deny if that was the case for the subsequent modules (Reading and Writing). My fellow test takers were rather reticent, a corollary of their anxieties. Most found the test quite challenging.

    On the whole, my sentiments towards the CBT/CBI/CDT were rather pleasant. I am unable to provide a comparison with the PBT since this was my first ever IELTS test. However, drawing from my partner’s experience of the PBT, I would recommend the CBT if one is comfortable on the computer.

    I hope someone finds this helpful.

    P.S.: Don’t forget to warm up those fingers before the test 🙂

  6. Can we use all capital letters in listening and reading in CBT as well?

  7. prasanna says

    I got 8.5 for listening 8.5 for reading and only 6.0 for writing in the computer-based test. my typing speed was adequate but not that fast as on paper. the most problematic thing is that it is not easy to spot spelling mistakes once you have typed.

    • Umbareen says

      Same with me.
      I have sich good scores in all bands except writing. I took my test on 31st May.
      I am so disheartened.

  8. Arpit chsristian says

    Hello Liz, First of all, thank you for providing such useful information.
    Could you please let me know, in reading section, will it allow me to use (CTRL + F) feature to find a particular word which I want to check.

    Thank you,
    Arpit Christian

  9. Hi Liz,

    Great write up about the IELTS, thank you! About the timing in computer based – if I finish the listening and reading in lesser time (and save some minutes there) can I carry forward that time to writing section? Was hoping to get little bit more time there as I usually complete the first 2 sections before time in practice

    Thank you!

  10. Hello does the computer correct your spelling in the writing test for computer based ?

  11. Hacer Gorbav says

    Hi Liz, First thank you for this great website. I have a question about writing on computer-based IELTS.Do all IELTS Centers use the same standard keyboard layout? I mean I live in Azerbaijan we have a different keyboard layout that’s why it may be a problem for me while writing section. Thanks a lot!!

  12. PROS:
    Listening:
    Navigation is easy
    Un attempted answers will be marked in different colour so that we can verify at the end (listening & reading), it helps when you missed anything while listening.
    In each section, there is 30 seconds – 60 seconds time to check your answers.
    At the end we can verify all the content easily just by selecting the respective answer number.
    CONS:
    There is extra time of only 2 minutes at the end of 4th section but in PBT it is 10 minutes.

    Reading:
    PROS:
    we have passage and related questions in same page side-by-side, easy to answer by verifying the passage.
    You can highlight the key words and topic sentences.
    You can take notes on the passage and small icon will appear at the passage where the notes have been taken.
    Easy to navigate between the sections.
    You can use copy(Ctrl+c) and paste (Ctrl+V) where ever you have answer available in passgage to avoid spelling mistake.
    CONS: I don’t have any

    Writing:
    PROS:
    Same as reading the question and text editor is side by side in the screen so that you can check question easily whenever required.
    Count of words for the passage.
    If we realise that we have written something wrong you can just select and delete the particular part but it ill be tough in PBT.
    CONS: I don’t have any.

    Overall:
    The waiting tie before exam is less than compare to PBT
    The results will be given in max of 7 days (heard few got even in 2 days)
    Less crowd

    Those who are familiar using computer in day to day life for them CBT is the best option and also your typing speed should be at moderate rate.

    Thanks.

    • Thanks for sharing your tips – great 🙂

    • Manivasan G says

      Hi PR,

      Thanks for the detailed information. That really helps.

      Please share the source you have practiced for CBT. I don’t find anything other than the samples given in IDP/BC website. We definitely need more tutorials to practice before appearing for real test.

      Thanks.

    • Manivasan G says

      I have a question on keyboard and mouse size. Do they have the standard size equipment? If they are smaller or in any other non-standard size, it is going to be difficult for the one who practiced with standard size equipment.

      Thanks.

      • Hi,
        The mouse, keyboard was all standard size in the exam that I appeared for. The only issue that you might face is, some of the letters on the keyboard have become harder to print. I think this is because of the constant usage. You need to cross-check what is actually getting typed.

  13. Samih Adel Hassan Abdalazeez says

    Hi Liz,
    By refer to your confirmation request regard the CTRL+C and CTRL+V, I would like to confirm that the option is valid during the CBT. Yesterday only I did my CBT and I used this feature to save time and to avoid any miss-spelling.
    Sincerely,

    Samih

  14. Hi Liz,
    Thanks for such a informative description of the CBT. I appeared on CBT on first day first show in my city.
    Listening: After completion of particular section, they give us some seconds to put the answers in the computer screen. I will suggest that if you get habituate of putting answers while you listen, this 30 seconds you can jump on to next section and read those question. It gives us time to revise questions coming up in the next section so we become mentally be prepared for answer.
    Reading: I think CTRL+C and CTRL+V is not enabled. You need to type it only.

    • Samih Adel Hassan Abdalazeez says

      Hi, Yesterday only I did my CB IELTS exam. The option of CTRL+C and CTRL+V is valid. Even I used this advantage to avoid any miss-spell.

  15. Hi there,

    I did my CBT today and I was much more comfortable with the CBT than the PBT. Being able to see the number of words as I write was a big plus for me.

    With the timer, I realised that you can actually change it to a fuller format in minutes & seconds when you hover your mouse cursor over the timer.

    Hope this helps! 🙂

  16. Raj Panchal says

    Hello everyone,
    I am Raj Panchal, I appeared for the computer-delivered IELTS from BC Mumbai on 21st April at 9 am. Speaking was on the same day 6pm
    I found it less stressful and painstaking from the paper and pen-based exam as the time involved in waiting for question and answer sheets is eliminated, no delays, the audio quality of the listening module is excellent and fewer students which only takes 3 minutes of registration.
    You just need to come 15-20 minutes early even though they suggest to appear 1 hour early for all the modules.
    Listening module: Typing is not an issue, as you are asked to write only 1 word answer
    Rest of the questions are MCQs or drag and drop which is similar to pen-paper based
    Pros – You don’t need to write all the answers again on the separate sheet which is very beneficial as less energy is consumed.
    Cons – Only 2 minutes of time is given which you should utilise just verifying your already written answers. The first-time written answers while listening should be correct
    Reading module: Similar to the pen and paper based exam
    Pros- Again you don’t need to transfer the answer to a separate paper as sometimes people make mistakes while transferring answers. All this helps in the writing module. You can use all your conserved concentration in the final module.
    Writing module: This is the best of all parts.
    Pros- you can the see the word count and time which greatly helps in making sure when to stop a particular part(letter) and how much words to include for each paragraph(essay)
    NOTE: Always check for spacing and spellings of even the simplest words, whether they are accurate or no
    At the end of the test, you won’t be completely drained out which used to happen with me while appearing for the paper-based examination.

  17. Elizabeth says

    Hi,
    I’m wondering if paper and pen will be provided during CBT test for Listening and Writing sections?

    Thank you!

  18. Hello Liz,

    Your website is really amazing. I took the CBT month in Perth. I am pretty sure that for writing, the cut and or copy paste option is disabled. If so, I think it is unfair that this is not the case in other countries !

  19. Hi Liz,
    I appeared for CBT on 14th….
    For speaking, it is not only test of English but also testing computer skills 😊
    For some questions we have to type…then for some to drag answers into a box and in case of diagram selecting boxes for options A B C D……
    So multiple ways are used to provide answers while listening and concentrating on the actual conversation…

    For speaking I received a different cue card….

    Describe a job that one of your grandparents did.
    Was this their only job…
    Would you like to do or opt for same type of job…

    • Akash Rastogi says

      topic was the same for all the CBT test takers.

      Mine speaking topic was also the same,
      Describe a job that one of your grandparents did.
      Was this their only job…
      Would you like to do or opt for same type of job…

  20. Hi Liz
    thank you so much for your support
    well for CBT the listening tests are different for every candidate or one module has the same paper
    because when I realized that GT candidate had different questions.
    In listening, I think if one is not used to typing or dragging while listening cbt is not a good idea, I lost my concentration twice as I had to drag answers.
    Listening was difficult for me

    I also met with another candidate who was reappearing because he scored 9 in listening and reading, 8.5 in speaking and 6.5 in writing. what could be the reason. I am worried as I am waiting for my results

  21. I took Computer based Test for Academic IELTS. I find it much easier to fill up answer sheets . It is only during the writing part that i find it irritating and distracting about the noice from keyboards. It echoes even i put back my headphones to minimize the hearing of keyboard ticks. Overall, it was a good experience.

    • HI Cris where did you take your test and were you allowed to put headphones back on during writing session?

      • Yes, the keyboards used are too noisy and the IELTS staff noticed it so they told me to put back my headphones but it doesn’t help so i just continue to do my task. After the test, they asked me some feedback and i suggested to change to keyboards. Btw, we were only two test taker on that day 🙂 I took the test in Saudi Arabia.

        • oh ksa! i’m giving mine there too. which city was yours in?
          do the staff answer any questions you might have? like if we are allowed to write in all caps for listening, reading and writing?

          i’m wondering if i have to give the listening exam with speakers instead of headphones.

  22. Are we allowed to type in all Caps under CBT?

    Thanks!

  23. Hi,
    Does anyone have an idea about the option of highlighting/ marking the text in the listening questions?
    Is this facility available to highlight keys in the passage or available options in the questions?

    • Hi Kami,

      We cannot highlight questions in listening section in fact for reading section too. Yes we can highlight the text in the passage for reading section.

      This could be one drawback in CBT, As Liz mentioned we need to practice multitasking read the question, listen to the conversation and write the answer.

    • Yes, we can highlight the text in both reading and listening section.

  24. Is Capital Letters allowed in Reading/Listening for Computer Delivered Test? Could anyone who has taken computer delivered test and wrote in Capital Letters can confirm?

    Thanks!

  25. J just took the computer-delivered test today, and there was a blackout in the middle of the reading test with just 10 minutes left. When we finally logged back in, some of us lost all answers and have to start over again but some of us just need to continue and ended in 10 minutes. I had to wait another 30 minutes for the reading test to end for everyone as the invigilator allowed those who had to start all over again to end earlier. Overall, I’d say it was a good experience as there was no need to write but the blackout was a minus.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. That certainly is one unfortunately aspect of using technology. Hopefully it is a rare occurrence. Good luck with your results 🙂

  26. Hi Liz,
    Thanks for all your articles and videos. I used them extensively throughout my preparation. I gave my first IELTS in March 2018 (Paper based) and I got L 7.5 W 7 R 7.5 S 7.5. I gave 2nd attempt in April 19 (Computer based) and got my results in 4 days on 10th April 19. This time I scored L 8.5 W 7 R 7.5 S 8.5. I found entire process easier, stress free and less crowded. There were only 3 people in the exam room. Writing part was amazing as I was very comfortable with typing. Also We were allowed to use headphones at all the times (They were damn good quality noise cancellation headphone) I feel computer based IELTS is here to stay and more people should opt for it. It also reduces the exam – results time cycle by at least 10-12 days.
    Note – My IELTS test center allowed me to take a mock/dummy test a week before and it was good exercise to understand how computer based test work out in different sections and how to navigate between sections/questions. It helped me big time as I was familiar with exam room, quality of headphones, keyboard and mouse at least 6 days before my actual test.

  27. Nidarshani says

    Hi Liz !

    Is this “highlighting text” option available only in the Reading test ?
    Is “highlighting text” available in Listening test too ?

    Regards

  28. Saad Mustafiz says

    Hi,
    Can anyone tell me, in CBT exam is writing part checked by computer or human personal?

    • No computer can assess language on all four marking criteria. Of course, it is marked by a person – a trained, experienced IELTS examiner.

  29. Hi Liz
    Thank you for taking the time to provide such helpful hints. Such souls are rare in today’s world.

    I just have a question regarding the listening section, can one type in Caps for the CBT as in the PBT?

  30. How long will it take to get results in eor cbt.will it make diifferenxe

  31. GABRIELA V F CASTRO says

    Another advantage for the reading exam: you can copy/paste from the text using CTRL+C and CTRL+V which reduces the chances of typos.

  32. Hi Liz and everyone.
    Does someone know if there is enough time to transfer the spelling (number/letters) from a paper (rough version) to the computer? How many minutes do you have among sections too? Liz, I have taken the mock test on the website od IDP and you can see the seconds if your mouse is on the time. They change the time format when the mouse is on the time, therefore, you can see also the minutes.

    Thanks everyone.

  33. Hi Liz. This is so helpful. However, on CBT, are we allowed to use TAB in the keyboard to proceed to the next blank and can we as well type in Capslock? Thank you.

    • Tasbiha Liaqat says

      Hi. I just gave my test few days back and yes the TAB key works. I used it largely during the Listening test. I wasn’t even using the mouse. Just when I had to go to the next section. So do use the TAB key, helps alot.

  34. I agree with you Geetika, when I did my CBT last Feb 9, 2019, I lost my focus on listening too. by that, it gives me a low score. So this time, I have to retake my CBT next month as I need a desired band for my immigration process.

    This video is very helpful, thanks Mis Liz

  35. Jaskaran Kaur says

    Thank You so much Mam.

  36. Thanks Liz. I have already taken two CBTs (GT), and going to have the third one soon (stuck at 6.5 on writing).
    Listening can be tricky in CBT, especially if map labeling is involved (haven’t got it yet, for me). Unlike the paper-based test, you can’t track the map with the pencil (I do that to keep track of the location), on the computer screen. I don’t know if you can highlight locations you want; that may help if available.
    Writing: It is easy to over-write, especially if your typing is fast. So keep an eye on the words. I forgot to do it, and end up writing 404 for the essay. Got 6.5, though I believe I wrote it well!. Remarking under way. 😀
    Good luck to all takers.

  37. Hi, guys

    First of all, I just wanted to thank Liz for all her useful tips and help. She is really wonderful! And I would like also to express my sincere wishes to all potential test takers here.
    As for whether to take CBT or PBT, it is totally up to the test taker’s level of willingness and capability as well as being comfortable of typing on PC or otherwise. As a matter of fact, I am not 100% sure whether to go for CBT or not even though I have been using the keyboard comfortably for over 20 years now!

    Thanks for you all guys and good luck!

  38. Jamani taiwo says

    Hi Liz,
    Thank you for sharing this information with us, I want to know if one can write the PBT alone in the essay instead of CBT.

    Thanks
    Taiwo jamani.

  39. Hi Liz ,

    I is great to fallow you. Very helpful tips. Thankyou.
    I am planning to give my test next month. Hopefully will do best.

    Thanks again,
    Arati

  40. I FOUND THIS REALLY HELPFULL, THANKYOU LIZ 🙂

  41. Hello all
    Thank you very much Liz for the post, it is exactly what I was looking for. I have a question about writing CBT, and I would appreciate if somebody could share the information. The question is – Can you move between writing task 1 and task 2 during the exam? I mean I prefer to write task 2 first, for example, and then move back to the task 1. Or I have to finish task 1 in 20 minute, and only after 20 min I would be able to start task 2. And would I be able to double check both tasks at the end if I have time. Thank you in advance!

    • The rules do not change because it is on a computer. The time is not fixed for writing task 1 and writing task 2. The time is only recommended. You manage your own time for the reading and writing tests. The only significant difference in format is in the listening test when you only have 2 mins to check your answers rather than 10 mins to transfer your answers.

  42. I took the CBT in Nov 2018 with IDP in Thailand and I have some comments as follows:

    1. For UKVI, we need to wait about 13 days as we wait for the result from paper-based test;

    2. For listening, it is quite difficult to drag and drop the answers. No 10-min extra time is a huge disadvantage, as we have to type the answer while we must pay attention to the next passages;

    3. For reading, I really like this part. As the passage always appear on the left hand side of the screen, I don’t need to flip the paper again and again;

    4. For writing, the automatic word count is advatageous, and it is very easy to edit your work or move paragraph or sentences;

    5. Overall, even though test takers are good at typing, unfamilarity with the keyboard layout and space can result in earsily typos, which may waste your time to correct the words frequently. Also, it may be relatively easier to make undetected typos which mean you will lost marks as such.

    I hope the above is helpful for all test takers.

    Thank you Liz for your extremely useful website.
    Mazda.

  43. Listening: My typing speed is pretty good so I tried CB test, however couldn’t score as desired in this section. While dragging answers from right to left on big computer screen, I lost my focus as the answers were long enough to interpret.
    In Paper based I scored 8.5 but 7 in computer based. Undoubtedly, writing and readingexperience was awesome.

  44. Nice written Liz, thanks for sharing this

    Have a question for a long time in my mind, is it ok to type all in capital letters as in paper based for reading and listening ?

  45. Hi Liz,
    Is CtrlF option works in reading?
    Thanks
    Neeru

  46. Reading pros:
    We can do highlight by selecting the phrase, you would like to highlight and right click and select highlight. There is instructions in IDP page.

    Advice for Writing
    We can use the ear phone to avoid the noise of typing. So you can only hear your own typing and may not get distracted by others typing.

    • Thanks for sharing 🙂 For your point about using headphones to deaden the noise, people will need to check that their test centre uses headphones for the listening test.

      • Nahawand ali says

        unfortunately, they collect the headphones exactly at the end of the listening section. and you are not allowed to bring your

  47. You can have a look at what the test looks like on the IELTS Youtube channel:
    https://youtu.be/J-CrmHDU4-8 is the welcome video, but they have a playlist of all the sections. I just can retype the whole link here and Liz locks pasting in comments.

  48. Listening: Though I am good in typing, but computer screen was quite big to drag answers from right to left and in that process I lost my focus. In earlier attempt of Pen-paper, I scored 8.5, but in CB it was 7.

    • Interesting. Sounds like the listening test doesn’t work as well being computer based.

      • I tried this before, too, and failed to see the complete diagram in Listening. I had to change my font size to either regular or smaller font. Or as a general rule, look at all the questions first before focusing on the specific questions.

    • Hi There,
      8.5 is a good score. Well done.
      I did not quite understand what is dragging the answers. It does not show in CB practice tests.
      Thankyou
      Arati

  49. Can we move segments of sentences or paragraphs in writing CBT? Does cut-copy-paste work? Is it similar to MS Word usage sans spell or grammar checks?

  50. Khan Sian Muang says

    The major disadvantage of CBT exam is that examiner for the writing section knows exactly the number of words you have typed in and will find the writing quite awkward if you wrote more than what is required. This can trigger an alarm for reducing your score with the judgement that the test taker wrote unnecessary and irrelevant contents that are out of context. I am telling you all about this since I had just gone through such result where I was given only 6 in writing even though I had met the important criteria for scoring high in writing. I took the CBT exam in Bangkok and I scored 8.5 in L, 6 in W, 7 in R, and 7.5 in S, which resulted in overall 7.5 for my IELTS. In fact, I am quite dissatisfied with the writing score which I even speculated that the examiner was quite junior in exam checking experience and was not at all a supporter of lengthy complex writing.

    • The examiner will know the number of words you wrote in the paper based test because the words are counted. So, it makes no difference in this case whether you take CBT or PBT. You should never aim for a lengthy essay. Your essay should be between 270 and 290 words. This comment is not related to the CBT test, this comment is about understanding how the whole IELTS writing test is marked. If you write unnecessary information in your essay, you will get a lower score.

  51. I liked it so much! I work with a computer for 20 years so to write on a laptop is so much easier than paper writing for me.
    My marks increased and the difference between the first test and the second one was just one month. I do think that is because of the method

  52. I found this really helpful.Thank you Liz.

  53. Tasbiha Liaqat says

    Hi Liz. I gave my IELTS Academic CBT on 14th of February and got an overall 8.5 band with 9/8.5/7.5/8 – RLWS.
    I really want to thank you for your amazing tips. Especially regarding the speaking and writing tests. It really helped me to score 8.5 as a non-native speaker.

    As for the advantages of giving the Computer based exam, I believe there are many benefits. Especially with the Reading and Writing sections. As for the listening section, a word of caution, please make sure your headphones are working. I had a slight issue at the start, got my headphones changed and it was all good.

    Know the format for Writing Task 1 and 2 that really boosts up the band.
    Also for the listening test, use the Tab key. Helps to move quickly to answer next questions.

    • Great results – well done 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Did they return the time lost to getting a new pair of headphones in the listening test?

      • Rockstar says

        We are asked to test the headphones if it is working properly and a sample audio plays. Only if you are satisfied with this check stage, you can click on the button to start the exam. So the listening doesn’t begin you agree that that headphones is working good. This is what happened in my case.

  54. Ibtassam Rasheed says

    I got the result in 4 days only for CDT. My experience was very good as I actually enjoyed giving the test on computer. For some people like me, it’s easier and faster to type than write so I felt right at home. There are no cons for CDT compared to PBT in my opinion. In fact, you get to see the number of words on screen while writing, can erase your mistakes while avoiding bad impression on the examiner and give more time developing your ideas as typing can be done way faster than writing for even medium users. I also don’t agree with the notion that a person with bad typing should go for PBT. My wife gave PBT for first three times but due to fewer dates and delayed results, she went for CBT in her fourth attempt and onwards. She didn’t even know where the various letters on the keyboard were as she never typed in her life or used the computer often but she spent around 4-6 weeks on a typing tutor (Mavis Beacon is the one she used). Even though her typing speed is still around 15 WPM, she managed to finish her test (400 words) on all CBTs and get respectable scores. The main motivation behind her decision to learn typing was to be able to give CBT which can be booked just 3 days ahead of test, result always comes on time (5 days average for us) and it’s basically taking place every day for our test center. So, my point is that if you’re motivated enough for your ambitions, you can achieve it even if you have to undertake something that may feel impossible at first. My only CBT attempt yielded (LRSW 9-8.5-8-7.5) and I can say with confidence that there is nothing that should stop you from doing it. One of the invigilators at IDP told me that they don’t have PBT in Australia anymore as IDP believes that CBT is the future and they will be phasing out PBT sooner or later in other countries as well. Furthermore, if anyone feels distracted by the noise in the exam room, they can put on the noise cancelling headphones for the entirety of the test which really helps in focusing better.

  55. Please let test takers know that the Reading passages are different for candidates in the same exam but I think difficulty level is same.

    Another con for writing is that it’s very tempting to write far beyond the word count. I was guilty of this ! I unbelievably wrote about 251 words for Task 1 and I didn’t have time to come back and edit the my work. Anyway the result wasn’t nice, LWRS – 8.5, 6.5, 7, 7.5.

    My reading passage, section 3 to be precise was extremely difficult. I spent 38 minutes on just section 3. The passage was on flavoring of foods.

    • Thanks for sharing 🙂 I think you make a good point. If typing is quick and easy, it will be easy for people to write lengthy essays and reports or letters (task 1). So, it is something to bear in mind. Always make sure you are paying attention to word count. A length essay is not the aim. In task 1, you will be marked down for adding too much insignificant detail in your report for task 1. Good results on the whole 🙂

  56. Emmanuel Pratt says

    Hi Liz thanks for the update. I want to know if the CBT has a spell check function enabled.

  57. Thanks a lot, Liz.
    I will be taking my test March 19 and it is a CBT. I will provide you some feedback from my experience.

    Thanks again,
    David.

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