Computer-delivered IELTS: totally worth it

This post is an interview with Liubov Vlasova, who is my first student to have taken the computer-delivered IELTS. In this interview, she shares her impressions and the reasons behind her choice.

1 Tell my readers a bit about yourself.

My name is Liubov Vlasova. I am an ecologist from Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Today I want to share my experience of taking computer-delivered IELTS, which happened on 7th of May.

A couple of months ago I took a very important decision to try to emigrate abroad. I think my professional area is very important today because our environment was totally destroyed the last years, and I hope one day I will do really useful and important job for improving the current situation. According to the media, in foreign countries environmental and particularly ecological engineering are very important and popular branches, which is why I decided to move abroad for achieving my professional and personal goals.

2 Why did you decide to take IELTS?

Initially, I found out that if you are applying for a work visa or permanent residency in foreign country, it is likely that you will be required to present evidence of English language proficiency. Usually, IELTS General Training is the only internationally available English proficiency test accepted, which is why I decided to take the General module.

3 Why did you choose to take the computer-delivered test?

It is very interesting story about my choice to take the computer-delivered test. To be honest, the first thing I was worrying about while preparing for my exam was the Writing task because my handwriting is not perfect, I mean calligraphy. Try to imagine how glad I was to find out that there has recently appeared a computer-delivered test, which is why I made my certain choice immediately.

4 Tell us about your experience.

Generally, the written test is available on weekdays only, so mine was held on Tuesday at 02:00 PM. Check-in on the test day started 30 minutes before the start of the test, after which other candidates and I entered the Test room. This room was small, and although there were 10 computers, the number of people was smaller - only 5 test-takers and 2 members of staff. 

Actually, all aspects of the test are identical to paper-based IELTS. The main differences are the timings because you will take the Listening, Reading and Writing test using a computer. This is why the transferring of the answers to an answer sheet has become redundant.

During the exam I was feeling very comfortable for several reasons. Firstly, using private headphones during the Listening task is beneficial because it is possible to choose a comfort volume level and do not hear other noises. Also there is an opportunity to mark the questions for answering them later or checking your answers if you are not sure about them. Secondly, in the Reading task it is possible to highlight the keywords in text using the cursor, which helps while answer the questions.

The main benefit is the ability to do the Writing task on the computer using the keyboard instead of a pencil, which is very convenient for those who have a terrible handwriting, I mean myself and doctors. Moreover, there is an automatic word count at the bottom of the window which is useful for self-control while writing an essay.

The downside was only the noise which was made by one of the test-takers, who was typing on the keyboard very fast and energetically.

5 Tell us about the speaking test.

Since it was my first experience, I can not compare this Speaking test with another ones. I can only say that the face-to-face conversation with the examiner, who is a native speaker, was very unusual and important for me. In my opinion, the most beneficial aspect is that there are no other people inside the room where your Speaking test is taking place, which helps to alleviate anxiety and concentrate on the tasks.

6 Having taken the computer-delivered test, do you think you made the right choice?

To summarize, I am absolutely sure I made the right choice. Moreover, I will do the same again if it will be necessary. Because it was really convenient, I was calm and felt confident.

7 What advice would you give to someone who is choosing which format to take?

Actually, I am not keen on giving advice to someone, especially in such an important choice. The only thing I can say is that if you struggle with handwriting and do not want to spend the time on the exam for improving your style, it is totally worth it to take the computer-delivered IELTS. 

Thank you for the interview. I'm sure it will be useful for all IELTS test takers. 

My pleasure. 

Image credit: Photo by Lorenzo Herrera on Unsplash


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