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As IELTS Online continues to be launched in select countries across the world, test takers now have more flexibility than ever on how, when and where to sit their IELTS test. But with these increasing number of options, it is important that you understand the difference – particularly between IELTS on computer and IELTS Online – before you dive into the test.

What is IELTS on computer?

For more than 30 years, IELTS was an exclusively IELTS on Paper English proficiency test. But that all changed in 2017 when IELTS on computer was launched. With this option, test takers can sit the same IELTS Academic or General Training test at the test centre, but opt for a keyboard to type in their answers instead of writing them on the answer sheet using a pencil. IELTS on computer continues being a popular choice alongside IELTS on paper at our test centres.

What is IELTS Online?

Unlike IELTS on computer where you have to physically go to the test centre to sit your test, IELTS Online gives you the option to take the same test from the comfort of your home or in a private space. Currently, this option is only available for IELTS Academic.


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IELTS on computer vs IELTS Online: Understand the difference

Simply put, IELTS on computer is only available at IELTS test centres whereas IELTS Online can be taken from the convenience of your own home or private space. This means for IELTS on computer you have to book your test and make sure you are present at the test centre on the chosen date and time to take your test.

On the other hand, with IELTS Online you have flexibility to choose where to sit your test. All you need is a well-lit private room, a laptop or desktop computer with the right hardware and software and a stable internet connection. Scroll to the end of the table.

FeatureIELTS OnlineIELTS on computerIELTS on paper
Covers all four English skills: listening, reading, writing and speakingYesYesYes
Face-to-face Speaking test with an official IELTS ExaminerYes (Online)YesYes
Available for IELTS Academic testYesYesYes
Available for IELTS General Training testNoYesYes
Available for UKVI (UK Visa & Immigration) and other migration purposesNo YesYes
Results within6 days after the test3-5 days after the test13 days after the test
Safeguards results with multi-layered test securityYesYesYes
Globally acceptedYes (Academic only - not for migration)YesYes
Includes a Test Report Form for test takersYes (Electronic only)Yes (Secure paper certificate by post)Yes (Secure paper certificate by post)
Listening and Reading tests marked electronicallyYesYesNo
Writing and Speaking tests marked by official IELTS ExaminersYesYesYes
Globally availableYes (in phases)YesYes
Can be taken anywhereYes (in a private room with a stable internet connection)No (must be taken in a test centre)No (must be taken in a test centre)
Headphones allowed?NoYesDepending on test centre
Support during your testChat and virtual supportPersonal supportPersonal support

Is there any difference in the test format?

The test format, scoring, and timing of the IELTS Online test is the same as IELTS Academic on paper and computer taken in a test centre. The Listening, Reading, and Writing tests are delivered in the same way as IELTS on computer. The Speaking test is conducted online via video call with an IELTS Examiner

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IELTS on computer vs IELTS Online: Which one to book?

It all comes down to personal preference and acceptance. Some people thrive in traditional test centre settings where they feel the controlled environment enables them to concentrate and perform better. On the other hand, test takers who choose IELTS Online enjoy the comfort of not having to travel to the test centre and being able to create an environment that is more suitable for them. It is also important to check the acceptance of the test with the organisation you are taking the test for. Make sure you consider all factors before choosing which test to book to maximise your chances of a high band score that will enable you to achieve your goals.

Find out all about the IELTS Online test and get answers to the most frequently asked questions.

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