IELTS Offline & Online Exam

Know The Difference Between IELTS Offline & Online Exam

October 06, 2021

IELTS is continuously getting revolutionized. It is no wonder that IELTS Paper-based test has advanced to a Computer-based test, which can be called an IELTS online test as well. With the world going bonkers over technology, it is wise to say, IELTS and other related education testing systems need to go online as well. Thus, IELTS took its first steps into the digital world and conducted its first IELTS online test in December 2017, Australia.

With this added option, IELTS online test has shown a promising future, as more and more candidates are opting for the IELTS Computer-based test.

Computer-based Test Vs Paper-based Test: IELTS Online Test Vs Offline Test

ielts offline & online test
  • The Paper-based test takes place at a larger venue encompassing 100+ students while the Computer-based version takes place at a smaller venue with one candidate per computer and comparatively small groups. The only similarity is that no matter whether the test is offline or online, you'll have to appear for the examination at a pre-destined location you have opted for.
  • All the three modules - Listening, Reading. and Writing are given via computer in an IELTS Online Test while, while the same is given on a paper in the Paper-based test. Apart from that, Speaking is still conducted in a face-to-face interview in both, paper-based test and IELTS Online Test. Also, the timing for both tests is the same and the format also doesn't change; the only change is the form of giving the test.
  • In an IELTS Computer-based test, it is easier to answer in the Writing Task as compared to the Paper-based test. The reason it is easier as an individual can conveniently rewrite and edit the sentences on the computer; while in a Paper-based test, you draft the answer first then write the final version. There are a lot of drafts, erasing the sentences or striking the words, which makes the writing task untidy and filled with too many errors.
  • Also, the Writing task on a paper-based test takes up immense time as you need to focus on concept and handwriting, whereas the Computer-based test saves you more time as you just have to worry about forming a concept. Thus, giving more time to proofread it in the end.
  • In a Computer-based test, you have a countdown clock on the computer itself for a Reading and Writing test which will turn red and flash in the final 10 and 5 minutes, while in the Paper-based test, there will be a clock somewhere in the room and the supervisor will warn you about the time.
IELTS Exam Time

  • There is one more advantage to a Computer-based test, and that is, the result of the Computer-based test comes within 3-5 days from the test while the result of the Paper-based test is available after 13 days of the test. One of the reasons this is possible is because, in an IELTS online test, all four modules are conducted on the very same day.
  • How are the answers recorded in the test? Though the assessment methods and scoring criteria in both the test delivery are the same, the difference lies in the way the answers are recorded. The answers in the Computer-based test are saved in the computer automatically and are uploaded directly to the server; while in the Paper-based test, the sheets are collected by the examiner which is then sent to the invigilators and examiners for assessment.
  • In the Listening part of the test, audio is played in the headphones in the Paper-based test but as the centre is heavily crowded, there can be an issue of the clarity of the audio. Though in the Computer-based test, headphones are provided to each candidate, it is more efficient as the classes are smaller and much quiet.
  • The test timing is similar in both, Paper-based test and IELTS online test, the only difference in the additional time given in the Listening test. In a Paper-based test, candidates are given additional 10 minutes to transfer the answers while in the IELTS online test, only 2 minutes are given to a candidate to review the answers. This is because, as the candidates have already noted down the answers on the computer, there is no further requirement of transferring the answers. Thus, only review is required and for which, 2 minutes are provided by the examiner.
  • The Speaking test is similar in both of the exams as it is taken by the examiner personally. The only difference is that in the Paper-based IELTS test, the Speaking module is taken within a week of the test while in IELTS online test, the Speaking test is taken on the same day.

So these were the major differences between the Paper-based test and the Computer-based test, but the context of difficulty is not based on these tests but on your preparation. Both of these tests are entirely similar in the time format and the test format, so you need to be very well prepared in either case.


The Computer-based IELTS test has proved to be a blessing in disguise. When the entire world is fighting with the virus, the only way to secure our dreams and maintain social distancing norms is by going online. Thus, IELTS online test stands more favorable compared to the Paper-based test, given the current scenario. As seen by most of the students, a little practice is needed to get accustomed to the IELTS online test, thus, if you wish to ace the IELTS exam, make sure to visit our website to prepare better for IELTS Test preparation. Also, receive beneficial materials, tips & strategies to score better, 20+ Free IELTS Practice Tests, and much more benefits.

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