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Looking to pursue your dream degree in an English speaking country like the UK, Australia or Canada? Then you’ll need to sit for and score well in your IELTS Academic test!

The IELTS Academic test assesses your English-language skills and abilities across four areas where you will be using them in your daily and academic life. These are your listening, reading, writing and speaking skillsets.

The entire duration of the test is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The Listening, Reading and Writing tests will be conducted on the same day while the Speaking test will vary.

While things have progressed technologically and you can opt to take the IELTS on computer test, the traditional IELTS on paper test is available and is chosen by many test-takers.

In this article, we will go through exactly what to expect in your IELTS on paper - Academic test as well as what you must know to perform on test day.

IDP IELTS preparation offer

IDP offers free access to an IELTS preparation course developed by Macquarie University. Prepare better and move towards a high band score!

What to expect from the IELTS on paper test

1. You will be provided with writing materials

For the IELTS on paper test, you will not be allowed to bring your own paper to the test. Everything will be standardised and that means you will be provided with a pencil and paper for your test.

During your Speaking test, you will also be presented with paper or better help you organise your thoughts.

2. You can write notes on your question booklets

An advantage of the paper test is that you will have a physical question booklet that you can use to write notes to help you in the test.

This is helpful as you might want to quickly make annotations, highlight key areas or note down probably answers that you aren’t sure of just yet.

3. You can easily correct any errors with pencil

While you can choose to write your answers in pen, it is not recommended. Your test answers, especially for the multiple-choice questions are scanned and work best with a pencil.

Furthermore, with a pencil, you’ll be able to easily erase and rewrite your words without the need for ink tape which might get messy. You will be provided with a pencil on test day itself so there is no need to worry.

4. You will take the test in a fixed order

For the IELTS on paper test, you will do the test in the order of writing, reading and listening. The test parts will be held directly one after the other on test day itself.

The Speaking test can be done either done on the same day or up to 7 days before or after the main test date.

A modern laptop, a coffee mug, a smartphone, and a notepad with a pen are placed on a wooden desk.

Common questions you might have about the IELTS on paper test

1. Is there any advantage in taking the IELTS on paper test versus the IELTS on computer option?

The IELTS on paper test might seem rather old-fashioned but there is a reason why it is still so popular - because it is familiar!

If you are a slow typist and regularly make typo mistakes plus reading words on a screen exhausts you, the IELTS on paper test is the better option. You’ll be more comfortable as well as write better on test day itself, which can directly translate into a better band score.

In addition, you will have more time to transfer your answers from the question paper to the answer sheet in the Listening part of the test. 10 minutes vs 2 minutes if you opt for the IELTS on computer test.

Plus, if you absolutely hate the sound of multiple people typing, then you’d want to opt for the IELTS on paper test instead!

2. When will I get back my IELTS test results?

While the IELTS on computer test results typically come back in earlier, you’ll still get your results in a timely manner.

Please allow for 13 calendar days for your IELTS on paper IELTS test results. They will be mailed to your address indicated but some test centres allow you to pick up your test report results directly from the centre.

It will be best to check with them if that might be possible if it's your preferred way of getting your results back.

3. How do I better prepare for my IELTS Academic test?

A great way to start is to familiarise yourself with the format of the test, from the Speaking test to the Writing test.

At IDP we have a wealth of free preparatory courses that you can access.

You can access our test preparation materials here.

In addition, you can also attend a free IELTS Masterclassexternal icon presented by IELTS experts who will share tips and tricks, including on the reading section, to help you score better with confidence!

If you prefer a paid option to simulate the exact test you will encounter, without the actual grading, you can take the IELTS Progress Check paid testexternal icon.

Female IELTS test takers attempting IELTS on paper test

Prepare for the IELTS on paper test with IDP today

The IELTS on paper test is an excellent choice if you feel more comfortable writing using paper and pencil.  

You will be more familiar with writing more naturally - that means greater confidence to score your best on test day! 

Take the time to go through our resources and prepare yourself better with our wide range of sample tests at your disposal! 

At IDP, we have a world of resources and IELTS supportexternal icon that you can rely on to help you score better! 

Be sure to check out our IELTS preparation materials here as well as read hand-picked tips on how to prepare and ace the testexternal icon

And once you are ready, you can book your IELTS test hereexternal icon