The New IELTS Computer Test: Everything you need to know

The New IELTS Computer Test: Everything you need to know

October 20, 2019 100 By Kailee Schamberger


Hi. I’m Rebecca from www.engvid.com. In this video I’m going to explain to you
about the new IELTS test, which is called the IELTS CDT. That stands for “Computer-Delivered Test”. Now, there was and there still is another
IELTS test also available, at least at the time that we’re recording this lesson, which
is called the PBT, which stands for “Paper-Based Test”. Now, if you’re taking the IELTS or if you
are re-taking the IELTS, it’s really important for you to understand the differences between
these two exams, which I’m going to explain to you here. We’re going to talk about how they’re similar,
how they are different, and also which exam you should choose to take based on what those
similarities and differences are, based on your personality, your skills, your preferences,
and so on. And I’m also going to share with you some
of the feedback that I’ve been receiving from my students who have appeared for both the
paper-based test and the computer-delivered test. Okay? So, let’s get started. So, first let’s look at how these two exams
are similar. Okay? So, if you’ve never done the IELTS, then you
need to do some basic homework. Okay? So, the IELTS is an English proficiency exam. All right? And it stands for “International English Language Testing System; the IELTS”. Okay? And it has four sections. Like many English proficiency exams, it has
reading, writing, listening, and speaking. So, in terms of these two tests-okay?-the
paper and the computer one, the content is the same. That means you’re not going to be asked harder
or easier things if you take the paper one or the computer one. The content is the same. The sections are the same, as in the four
sections that I mentioned. Okay? Both tests have four sections. The timing is exactly the same. Okay? So you have 60 minutes for reading, 30 minutes
for listening, 60 minutes for writing, and about 15 to 20 minutes for a speaking interview. Okay? So, the overall length of the exam is the
same. Okay? It’s about two hours and 45 minutes. That part is the same. The scoring is also the same. They are not judging you differently based
on which form of the test that you took. Okay? The scoring rubric, the scoring criteria are
the same. Next, the speaking part of the test is exactly
the same. Why? Because the speaking is not done on paper
or on computer. If you’ve ever appeared for the exam before
or if you’ve read about it, then you will know that the speaking part of the IELTS test
is done with you face-to-face with an examiner. Okay? And so, that part is the same. Okay? So we’re not going to talk very much about
that because that part is exactly the same. That’s the speaking. We are going to talk about the other sections
and how they are different. Okay? So, let’s get to that. Let’s talk about that first. So, here, I’ve talked about the content, the
academic part of the test; and, here, I’m going to explain to you about some of the
administrative differences-okay?-and how that will affect you or may affect you. So, we said the speaking part of the test
is the same; however, reading, listening, and writing, even though the content is the
same, the experience is going to be very different for you, whether you’re doing the paper-based
test or the computer-based test. Why? Because you are different. Okay? Some people are very comfortable using the computer. Okay? And when you do that computer test, you should
be someone who is really computer literate; you should be very comfortable navigating
around a screen, scrolling, clicking on answers, clearing answers, highlighting text, typing
on a keyboard, using the mouse, and so on. Okay? If you are someone like that, if this describes
you, then you would probably be quite comfortable doing that computer test. Okay? However, if you’re someone who gets confused
when you see lots of instructions, and you have to go forward, you have to go back, there
are arrows, and you get confused by computer… By working on computers, then first and foremost
overall, you might be better off taking the paper-based test-okay?-which basically is
just a test on a piece of paper and with a pen and pencil. Okay? So, that’s overall. But that’s not the only thing to think about. So, I’m going to explain to you some… Go into detail and explain to you about some
of the differences in the reading, the listening, and especially in the writing-there’s a big
difference in the writing-and we will look at each of these sections separately. Okay? But now let’s look at some of the administrative
differences, and the differences in terms of experience. Okay? So, what’s similar is that in both cases,
in both tests you would get a test report and you’ll get a certificate from IELTS to
say that you’ve done this exam and these are your scores. Okay? So that part is the same. In terms of the experience, so when you do
the paper-based test… Okay? Sorry. This is not exactly the same; this is a little
bit different. You enter a big hall-okay?-in which everybody
sits together at a desk, and they get a paper test, and then they work on the test. All right? Whereas here, you would enter a hall-okay?-a
room, but there are cubicles. Okay? There are different sections with a computer,
and each person is sitting in front of their computer inside a little cubicle. Okay? It’s not completely closed-all right?-so you
can still hear other people, and you can hear their keyboards, and so on – and these are
some of the factors that you have to keep in mind, which I will explain more as we go
along. Some administrative differences. So, because of the computer-based test now
in many locations and in many countries… In fact, there are about… I think currently about more than 25 countries
where the computer-based test is being offered as an option. Okay? You can choose. But usually for the computer test, they have
more test dates available. Okay? That’s how the computer test is different;
really different. And this can be important for you if you need
to do your IELTS very quickly, or you feel you might not make it the first time and you’ll
need to do it again. But if… with the paper-based test there
were very few test dates sometimes or they were all booked because there were such few
dates; and therefore, students had to wait for a long time before they could appear. But now there are more test dates available. Okay? Also, the results are must faster. Previously, you had to wait for even up to
two weeks – 10 to 14 days usually to get your score, but now the results are much faster;
you get them in about five to seven days, and some of my students have told me they
even got their score after two or three days. Okay? So if that’s important to you, that’s a factor. Also because there are more test dates, and
basically people are working on the computer, so the rooms are usually less crowded because
there are not that many people going for a few dates; there are many different dates,
and so it might be less crowded. Now, that experience is still different because
people are working on keyboards and there is noise, but overall it’s less crowded, in
case that matters to you. Okay? And as I said, you will be sitting individually
with your… in a cubicle with a computer in front of you, and you have headphones,
and a keyboard, and a mouse. Okay? So, now let’s look at some of the specific
differences, especially in the writing section, but also in reading and listening, and how
this experience might affect you; and therefore, which exam you might prefer to do. Okay? I’ll be right back with that. Okay, so we’re going to start by looking at
the listening section and how that experience is different in the computer test. So, first of all, because you’re working on
the computer, you will have the computer in front of you, plus you’ll be given headphones,
so you need to put on your headphones and that’s how you will listen to the passages. You will hear them only once, and what’s different
here from the paper-based test, in case you took that one before, is that as you listen,
you need to type the answers directly onto the computer in the right place, so you might
be typing directly into a blank if you need to fill in the blank or you could be typing
directly into a table in the right spot on the computer – on the table-right?-or on the
chart, or you could be typing directly into a diagram to label something as it’s being
described in the listening passage. Okay? Or another option is that sometimes you’re
asked to drag and drop answers into the right place, or into the chart, or into the table. So, as I mentioned before, this is something
that you need to be comfortable doing. You have to… if you have to ask or look
up what it means to drag and drop – that’s a little bit tricky. You should know already what it means to drag
some information, an answer, and drop it into a particular spot on a table or something
else, because otherwise please choose the paper-based test, which is also still available,
at least right now when I’m filming this. Okay? So, again, as I mentioned, computer skills
are important. But what happens because you’re typing the
answers directly? Well, this is the most important point that’s
been reported to me by my students that they are not very happy about. They’re not happy with the fact that they
no longer have 10 minutes at the end of the listening test to transfer their answers. Because when they did that, they had a little
more time to correct any possible spelling mistakes-okay?-so that’s really something
that you have to keep in mind. If you’re worried about your spelling, on
the paper-based test, you know, you write your answers and then you transfer them to
the answer sheet, and they give you 10 minutes to do that, but now you don’t do that. You’re typing your answers in right away,
and you have a little time within each section and a little time between each section, but
not very much, and nothing like this 10 minutes that you once had or that you could have on
the paper-based test. So, if that’s important to you, then keep
that in mind when you’re deciding which test to do. The other thing is, because you don’t have
a paper-based test here, you can’t circle key words – what you can do to help you as
you’re trying to figure out what the right answer is, you can click and select certain
points or highlight them as you go along, but you must know how to do that and feel
comfortable doing it quickly, while you’re listening, while you’re trying to write the
answers. Okay? And also some students have reported to me
that they have a bit of an issue because they need to scroll down to look at all the questions,
and they don’t sometimes realize that there are more questions, so this is all something
that you have to be comfortable with. Okay? Again, it’s not hard, there are many people
who are doing this successfully; and I’m sure if you choose it, you will learn how to do
that, but learn it beforehand. Okay? Don’t learn it at the time of the test. And, again, as I mention, you need to type
while you’re listening so your spelling is really important. So you also need to check… You’re checking your spelling while you’re
at the same time listening for future answers, and so on. Okay? So, again, these are some of the points you
need to keep in mind in the listening section if you decide to do the computer-delivered
test. Now let’s look at the reading section. Okay, so let’s look at the reading section
now. So, basically, you’ll have your computer screen,
and your screen will be divided in half, more or less in half, with the reading on one side
like you can see here, and the questions on the other side. Okay? Then you have two scroll bars, as indicated
in blue here, so you have a scroll bar for the reading section, so you can scroll up
and down the reading section; and you have a scroll bar for the question and answer section,
so you can scroll up and down there as well. And you have to remember to do that and not
forget when you’re answering a question here and look for the answers just here, and remember
that there is more text below. Okay? So, remember that. And then, of course, you will probably have
to click on some answers, as you know there are different types of questions in the reading
exam; multiple choice, fill in the blank, tables, and so on. All right? So you would have to click in the answer,
the right answer. If you want… If you choose the wrong answer, you have to
know how to unclick that one and choose the right one. Sometimes you’re given a table, let’s say
on this side, you’re asked to find information from the reading and click on the right box
in the table that will be over here, so that’s something else that you need to be able to
navigate and do. Again, if you’re used to using a computer,
this is really nothing; this is part of probably what you do every day, so don’t let it worry
you. But if you’re not comfortable with these things,
then keep that in mind, please. As I mentioned, you also have some questions
where you might have to drag and drop the answers from this section to that section. For example, you know, sometimes you’re asked
for a… The correct way to summarize the content of
a particular paragraph. So maybe they have the options here, and you’re
going to drag and drop them over here. And if you’re wrong, then you need to replace
them, and so on. You also have some fill-in-the-gap answers. Now, one of the features that you have here
is that you can highlight the text, here. Again, you have to know how to highlight it
or unhighlight it… unhighlight it. Okay? And you could also change your answers, of
course, you can do that. And in this section, in the reading you also
have an option where you can kind of, like, open up a small notepad or Post-it note, and
write some notes there if you have time. And there is overall a help section. Again, do you want to be spending the time
during your test checking out that help section? Probably not. But if you need to or you get stuck, then
it’s there. Okay? So, what’s important is that you learn… You do these tutorials that the IELTS has
on their website that… So that you become comfortable in using this
computer-based test, and navigating the different sections. Okay? I’ll tell you a little bit more about that
later. Now let’s look at the really important section:
The writing section. Okay. So now let’s go to writing. So, whether you’re doing the IELTS General
or the IELTS Academic, you have two sections. Right? You always have an essay, which you have to
do on either one of those exams; and then the first task is a little bit different. In the general you have to write a letter;
and in the academic you have a graph, or a chart, or some information that you need to
describe. All right? Now, that’s true in general; it doesn’t matter
whether you’re doing the paper-based test or you’re doing the computer-delivered test. Okay? But let’s see now: What’s different? And how the writing section can actually be
a lot easier in the computer-delivered test. Okay? Let’s see why. So, first of all, because you’re going to
type the answer – you don’t have to write it by hand, and that does create a lot of
advantages for you, in my opinion anyway. So, first of all, there’s no handwriting. So, in case your handwriting’s not very good
or it’s not clear, and it’s possible that the examiner could think that you have a spelling
mistake just because your writing isn’t very good and you’re not used to writing, then
this problem is eliminated. Right? Once you type your answer in, of course, if
you have a spelling mistake, it’s still going to be wrong, but it’s not going to be wrong
because it looked wrong-okay?-but only if it is wrong, and yes they will minus marks
for spelling mistakes. But you can type your answer. Now, many people today can type faster, so
it’s faster to type on a keyboard. Okay? For many people. Maybe not for you, but probably. It’s clearer, as I said, than handwriting. Another really important point for many people
is that a word count is available on the computer test, so as you type you will see the word
count, so you will know because you have to write about 250 words, and some people can
judge that even on the paper-based test, and some people find it very difficult to know
that. So, this way you will know exactly, and that
is an important point because if you write a much shorter essay, for example, then you
will lose marks. Okay? So you don’t want to lose marks because it’s
too short or it’s way, way, way too long. All right? Secondly, because you’re typing, editing and
restructuring your essay becomes a lot easier. So, what happened in the paper-based test
is that if you needed to change something, which is quite possible, even if you plan
beforehand, you sometimes need to… You have different ideas and you need to change
something, so it starts to look a little bit messy, and you’re crossing out things and
you’re adding things. But that’s all eliminated with the computer-based
test because you’re just typing directly on the screen into the computer, and basically
you can edit and move things around if you need to. Okay? Again, it’s going to be similar to the reading
section; the screen is divided into two, you’ll see the information or the question on the
left, you’ll have space on the right to write your answer, and that’s basically it. On both the reading and the writing sections,
you have kind of a… You do have a clock and it does sort of flash
usually when you have 10 minutes left and five minutes left. Okay? And in the writing section, because you have
two sections, you can decide which section you do first. All right? That’s up to you. Now, here are a few suggestions. Especially if you want to plan your essay
beforehand or make notes before you actually write it… Type it into the computer, you might want
to ask for some paper and a pen. I know that one of my students had a little
problem getting that paper, but I would find out about that beforehand and make sure. And also some students have told me that they
find it very distracting, however, that they can hear the “clack, clack, clack” noise of
the keyboard from all over the room. So, if that happens to you and you find yourself
getting distracted, you might want to use the headphones which are still there and just,
you know, protect yourself from that noise and that distraction. Okay? On the other hand… And in fact, some people suggest that you
could use those headphones all through your exam just to prevent distraction and to keep
you focused. Okay? So, these are some of the main points that
I’ve discussed today about this new IELTS test which, as I said, is available today
as a choice – the paper-based test or the computer-delivered test. Now, even though there’s a lot to do to prepare
for the IELTS exam, you can do it. There are millions of students who have done
it and are doing it. Okay? But you want to do two things. You want to have this test knowledge like
I’ve given you now. This is test knowledge; information about
the test; the strategies of the test, and so on, that’s a little bit different. So, as you know, go to our website at www.engvid.com;
there you’ll find hundreds of lessons which help you with strategies, and techniques,
and tips to actually do better on and score higher on this exam because it is a challenging
exam; there’s no question about it. Okay? So, make sure that your test knowledge is
good so you know what to expect, and also make sure that your English skills and aptitude
is good. All right? So, the other thing you can do to make sure
that you’ve understood some of these points is to do a test. Okay? Do a quiz at our website at, as I said, www.engvid.com. And that way you can make sure that you understand
this part, and it might help you to decide whether you should do the paper-based test
or the computer-delivered test. And one way or the other, you know that I
wish you the very, very best. I have lots of other IELTS videos which you
might want to check into. And also subscribe, because as I have new
lessons, that way you will know that when you ring the bell that I have a new lesson,
and perhaps that lesson can make all the difference. Lots of people say that watching some of our
engVid IELTS and TOEFL videos have made all the difference in their success, and I wish
you the same. Okay? Bye for now. Take care. By the way, one more point: In addition to
everything that I’ve told you here, don’t forget, of course, to check with the official
IELTS website and also with your local test centre to find out all the necessary details
that you need to do and be aware of before you appear for your IELTS exam. Okay? Bye, and all the best.