Pros & Cons of Choosing Computer-Based IELTS

Few years back IELTS computer-based test was introduced in which candidates can give their IELTS exam on the computer instead of on paper. This also raised a question among candidates that-

Which one is better?

However, there is a difference in questions of paper-based and computer-based IELTS but for choosing which one is right for you, one must go through this article.

So, for providing our candidates with the right guidance about which one is easier and for which test they should go we are outlining some of the major points in this article.

Pros of Computer-Based IELTS

▶️ Easy Editing

Computer-based IELTS exam is easier to edit. However, it is very difficult and not possible to structure your answers again and again in a paper-based IELTS exam. So, it is very beneficial for attempting the writing part.

▶️ Automatic Word Count

A number of candidates find the automatic word count very beneficial as it keeps them away from the stress of keeping word count in mind for essay writing in IELTS. The computer will automatically count the number of words in your essay.

▶️ Organized & Less Crowded IELTS Centre

Some candidates like organized and less crowded test centers to stay relieved from the stress of exams. However, this won’t affect your score but just in case you prefer then computer-based IELTS centers are organized ones.

▶️ Handwriting doesn’t matter

Don’t worry about the fact that your handwriting is poor and very difficult to understand. Computer-based IELTS is just perfect for you in that case. Computer-delivered IELTS helps in presenting your ideas more clearly to the examiner.

▶️ No page flipping

In computer-delivered IELTS, the computer screen is divided into two parts- the text on one and the questions on the other. Unlike the paper-based IELTS where you have to flip the page, again and again, looking for the questions.

▶️ Easy to write

If you are good at typing and your typing speed is really fast then it is an advantage for you to give computer-based IELTS exam. So, a good typist must go for computer-based IELTS instead of paper-based IELTS. 

▶️ Quick Results

There is a high possibility of getting quick results in computer-based IELTS exams as compared to a paper-based exam.

Cons of Computer-Based IELTS

▶️ Note Making & Highlighting Points Is Not Easy

Making notes and highlighting important points isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many students prefer pen and paper for doing so but let me tell you that providing pen and paper isn’t mandatory by the IELTS center. So, if you are one of them who has a habit of noting down points on paper then firstly confirm from your IELTS center whether you are getting pen and paper or not in your exam.

▶️ Not able to give screen time

Some candidate finds it difficult to give multiple hours on screen due to severe headache, sore head, tired eyes, and so on. So, the computer-based IELTS exam is not suitable for them. 

▶️ Typing Sounds Might Distract You

If you are one of those who need pin-drop silence while giving your exam, then you might get distracted by the typing sound from multiple computers around you.

▶️The computer might not be comfortable for you

Not everyone is comfortable using computers and if makes you nervous then it is not the right choice for you. The computer-based IELTS exam is more stressful and you have to work on the computer really fast on exam day.

Computer Delivered Reading Test - [Pros/Cons]


▶️Convenience in reading the passage and answering them at the same time and on the same screen is the biggest advantage of the IELTS computer-based reading exam. You can have the passage on the left side of the screen and questions on the right-hand side of the screen. It becomes easy for you to answer.

▶️You can also increase the size of the font to ensure the readability of the text with ease.

▶️It is easy to highlight text in a computer-based IELTS exam however it is quite difficult to highlight points in a paper-based exam as you are not allowed to use a higher pen while attempting the exam.

▶️The candidate can use Copy (CTRL) / Paste (CTRL) option to copy-paste text from the passage which reduces the typing work.


▶️You cannot use the search option in order to look for words.

▶️If you are not used to getting through reading articles and long paragraphs or don’t know how to navigate through the screen then it becomes difficult for you to attempt the exam.

Computer Delivered Listening Test - [Pros/Cons]


▶️Text can be highlighted in the exam.

▶️Tab key is used to move from one section to another.

▶️If you have already made yourself familiar with the computer-based questions and exam type that it becomes quite easy to attempt the exam on the final day.


▶️You have to be very quick while giving answers to the questions, even though you are provided with pen and paper but you need to type your answer on the computer at the same time while listening.

▶️You only get 2 minutes to review your answers, unlike a paper-based listening exam where you get 10 minutes to transfer your answers on the sheet.

▶️If you don’t know how to move from one section to another then you might get in trouble while attempting the exam.

▶️There are various ways to answer questions in IELTS listening. Some questions ask you to type the answer, some questions can be answered by dragging the words from one place to another and some may require you to select boxes. You must get used to it while answering different types of questions.

Also read: How To Keep Yourself Focused In IELTS Listening?

Note: Be alert while listening as one candidate heard an example conversation at the start of the test others may not.

Computer Delivered Writing Test - [Pros/Cons]


▶️Automatic word count will show you a number of words instantly.

▶️Easy editing with instant cut, copy, and paste options.


▶️One of the major drawbacks is candidates often commit minor typos which means small typing mistakes. You may know the correct spelling of the word but unintentionally you attempted it wrong. Also, it is very difficult to identify spelling mistakes while proofreading.

▶️Writing demands concentration and focus, but typing noise around may distract you from concentrating.

▶️Slow typing speed is disadvantageous in computer-based IELTS exams.


  • Use pen and paper to plan your essay.
  • Don’t try to cover excess points that you left with no time to proofread your text.
  • Writing too much on the topic may result in going off-topic.
  • Practice typing on the computer with a time limit.

IELTS Speaking Exam

IELTS speaking exam is the same in both cases whether you choose paper based IELTS exam or a computer-based IELTS exam. It is face to face conversation with the IELTS examiner.

FAQs about Computer Based IELTS

What is the difference between computer-based and paper-based IELTS?

Computer-based and paper-based IELTS is exactly the same with just one difference in the listening part of both exams. In paper-based IELTS listening candidate gets 10 minutes to transfer answers to answer sheets. However, in a computer-based IELTS exam, you need to type your answers directly on the computer and you will get just 2 minutes for just reviewing your answers. Reading, writing, and speaking exams are exactly the same.

Is there any difference in the marking of the exam? 

The marking process of both types of exams is exactly the same. Just a difference in the CBT exam, you type answers on the screen, and in the paper-based exam, you write answers on paper.


After getting you all the pros and cons of exams in different IELTS modules give yourself some time to analyze the facts in which you are good and which type of exam suits you best. If you are a good typist, do not have good handwriting, and are familiar with computer operation, then a computer-based IELTS exam is the preferred option.

For practice, we recommend our a candidate any time, anywhere complete an IELTS preparation course online that includes IELTS material, sample papers, Live classes with Dr. Roma, Mock tests and so many more benefits.

Sign up today!!


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