When considering the differences between the CBT and PBT IELTS tests, there are some important points to consider:
Transfer time – With the computer based IELTS test, you don’t need to transfer your answers to the answer sheet. Once you select the answer on screen, you don’t need to do anything else (you can go back and change your answer at any time during the test). However, at the end of the listening test with the Paper Based Test, you are given ten minutes to transfer your answers and this gives you one more opportunity to double check what you are writing.
No need to write a separate plan on a piece of paper – With the writing test, you can start with a basic plan, then expand each point out by adding more words or sentences to your main points. You can then add examples to further expand your points, and you can do all of this without having to re-write anything or make notes first. Your written work is simply an expansion of your plan.
Typing accuracy – There is no spellchecker on the Computer Based Test. That means you have to be an accurate typist (and most of us aren’t – we get used to autocorrect helping us and tend to make spelling errors that we wouldn’t make if we were writing by hand). This applies to the writing test, but also to answers in the reading and listening where you have to type a word or phrase.
Staying focused and avoiding distractions – Do you concentrate better looking up at a monitor or down at paper? Generally, we are less distracted by looking down – it can be easy to see something in your peripheral vision (out of the side of your eye) when looking straight ahead, so you might find you can concentrate better on the Paper Based Test.
Hand cramps and fatigue – When’s the last time you wrote 400 or more words by hand in one hour? Although it might sound easy, it’s not something we do very often so if you decide to take the paper based test, make sure that you are physically prepared – you won’t get any extra time or consideration if your hand cramps and you are unable to use a pen for a few minutes.
We hope these tips on the differences between the CBT and PBT IELTS tests helps!