How Computer-Delivered IELTS works?

by IDP IELTS — July 21st, 2020

Knowing how to use the Computer Delivered IELTS system helps you to focus on questions rather than the system on the test day. So how Computer-Delivered IELTS works?

IELTS sections

Test sections are the same for both paper based and computer delivered IELTS. Listening, Reading and Writing sections take place on the computer. However, in both paper and computer delivered tests, the Speaking test is still face to face with a real examiner.


Test duration is same in both test formats (paper based & computer delivered). The Listening section takes about 30 minutes, however, no extra time is given to transfer your answers. 60 minutes are given for Reading and Writing sections. Speaking section takes 11 -14 minutes.

In computer delivered IELTS (CDIELTS), there is a stopwatch in the upper middle part of the screen. This chronometer starts to flash in the last 10 minutes and 5 minutes before reading and writing tests end.

Starting and finishing the test and taking a bathroom break in the test is different than paper based IELTS. When starting the test, you will see an information screen. Then, you start the test by clicking the “Start Test” button.

If you wish, you can hide the question on screen by using the ‘Hide’ button in the upper right corner of the screen when you need a bathrom break. Just click on the ‘Resume test’ button to continue.

When the time has run out, your answers are saved and the system automatically shuts down.


You can adjust the font size and background color to be more comfortable during the test with the ‘Settings’ button in the upper right corner of the screen.


With the navigation button at the bottom of the screen, you can see and check all 40 questions. You can also switch between questions with the forward / backward arrows.

If there is a question you want to return to and check again, when you click the ‘Review’ button in the lower left corner, the question number changes from square to circle, so you mark which question you will review. In addition, with the volume control bar in the upper right corner, you can provide full volume control during the test.

You should write the answers to the system as soon as you hear them. No extra time will be given to transfer your answers. You will only have 2 minutes to review your answers at the end of the test.

Check Computer Delivered IELTS Listening samples


The Reading section is also the same for paper based and computer delivered IELTS in terms of question types and evaluation. However, it looks different on the screen than on paper. The texts are in the left corner of the screen, while the questions are on the right. Be sure to read the entire text and answer all the questions by swiping the screen.

If you wish, you can select the part of the text and click right on it to highlight it with a different color and take notes on the screen. You can start from anywhere, like paper based IELTS, change your answer or leave it blank.

Check Computer Delivered IELTS Reading Samples


You can start writing from any task. While there are questions in the left corner of the screen, the right corner is reserved for you to write your answers. Since the answers are saved automatically, you do not need to think about if your answers are saved or not. You can also see the number of words you typed in the lower left corner.

When there is a section you do not understand, you can access the instructions by using the “Help” button on the screen. You can check how you need to answer questions using the Help button.

Note that both tests (paper based & computer delivered) are the same in terms of timing, evaluation and question types. You can see the system in more detail by watching the Computer Delivered IELTS Introduction video.

If you want to experience the system before taking the test, you can register for the CDIELTS Experience Session.

Check Computer Delivered IELTS Writing Samples

Read 6 reasons to choose Computer Delivered IELTS and learn its advantages