IS THE COMPUTER DELIVERED VERSION OF IELTS TEST BETTER THAN THE PAPER BASED?

Finally, the computer based IELTS test has arrived and this is certainly a welcoming move especially for aspirants who prefer taking a language based test on a computer. There are many ways in which the newly introduced CDT test offers plenty of convenience to the test takers. Let us take a look atthe features one by one. Alongside, this write-up will also give you a better picture figuring out whether to take a computer based or paper based test for the IELTS examination, in case you have a dilemma. So here we go….

  1. In terms of assessment – Neither test is easier than the other because the scoring for all sections is entirely the same. Both in the PBT AND CDT, the reading and the listening answers are evaluated by a computer whereas the writing section in both is assessed by an examiner. As far as speaking is concerned, in both the test formats the interaction will take place with an examiner. The comfort level of the candidate could be the only difference in deciding which pattern is better to take.
  • In terms of content and scoring–The CDT test will be the same as paper-based IELTS in terms of content, scoring, level of difficulty and question types.  It is still the same test, the only difference is that the Listening, Reading and Writing tests are on computer.The CDT allows you to take all four sections of the exam on a single day, especially you also get to choose a preferred slot for the speaking test at the time of online booking.
  • Results – The paper based test takes 10-13 days to announce the results whereas in the CDT, the result is generally available in 5-7 working days.
  • Dates and test centres – With the new CDT into effect, dates are easily available enabling multiple sessions in a single day.  In CDT, test centres are significantly less crowded in comparison to the paper based where you have over 100 candidates taking the exam in a hall/ venue.
  • Detailed look into listening module – While the PBT allows an extra 10 minutes of transfer time in the Listening component, CBT does away with it completely. A test-taker is given time within and between different sections to check the answers, but there is no extra time allowed at the end. Once you click on ‘Start Test’ on the introductory screen, it takes you to the questions. There’s clock at the top of the screen which shows you how much time you are left with before the other components begin. The clock will turn red and start flashing when you have ten and five minutes left. The timer automatically stops when the test ends. Instructions for each part are in a box at the top of the screen. The navigation bar at the bottom can be used to move from one question to the next. Alternatively, you could click on a number to go directly to that question. You can use the back arrow to navigate to the last question. After one answers, a line appears at the bottom of the question number in the navigation bar at the bottom. In case you have doubts on whether a specific response is correct, you can click on review at the bottom bar, and come back to it later. Answers marked for consideration will have a circle around the question number at the bottom navigation bar for easier accessibility. Responses can be reviewed and changed anytime till the test ends. There is an option to highlight text, and also to hide your screen if one has to leave the test room for some time.
  • Detailed look at the writing section – If you are good with your typing speed, CDT should be a preferred option. Also, as you type, the word count keeps increasing which can help you decide how much to write. A major relief for those candidates who do not have a good or a legible hand-writing.
  • Detailed look at the reading module–The reading section has been tremendously improved in the CDT. You can highlight/copy/past word or sentences easily. The T/F/NG section doesn’t require one to type anything, just select the letter from a menu.The “Summary Completion” part of the reading has also been made much easier and faster! You can copy text or a word and paste it in the blank.
  • Note-making / scribbling – The CDT exam does provide A4 size papers to make notes, if you wish to. However, do not write anything on a paper on the hope to transfer it later.

Remember, the level of the questions and the assessment criteria remains the same in both PBT and CDT. Nothing is easy or difficult. An ample amount of practice in both the patterns of the test will only sail you through. So, think wisely, and choose which version of IELTS is better for you!

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