IELTS: Should I take the Paper-Based or Computer-Delivered Test?

In 2016, the IELTS Computer-Delivered test rolled out in 20 countries, and now is becoming more and more common in test centers across the globe.  But as the computer-delivered version of the test becomes more common, the question Should I take the Computer-Delivered test or the Paper-Based test becomes more and more frequent among English students.

Both the Paper-Based and Computer-Delivered versions of the test have their pros and cons: The computer-delivered test is offered much more frequently in exam centers, and offers convenience of receiving faster results.  However, the paper-based test offers students a more traditional exam experience.


Exam centers offer the computer-based IELTS several times per week, generally offering flexible schedules (morning/afternoon).  Test takers complete the listening, reading and writing sections using a computer; the speaking exam is still delivered in an interview format.

The paper-based version of the exam is offered once or twice per month, on Saturdays.  Almost always, students will take the speaking exam a different day.

Regardless of whether you register for the paper-based or computer-delivered version of the test, the content and level of difficulty is the same in both tests.  

computer delivered IELTS icon.png

Both exams test your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.  Question types, content, timings and markings are identical.

The true question you need to ask yourself in order to make a decision is: How quickly do I need the exam results? 

If you are under a tight deadline, without doubt the computer-delivered version of the test is your best option.  Apart from having more frequent exams, you’ll receive your results within 5-7 working days.  Students who take the paper-based IELTS generally receive their results within 13 working days.

If you have more time, though, the paper-based version of the exam offers many advantages.  Sure, you’ll have fewer possible test dates, and you’ll have to spend a bit more time waiting for your results, but (in my opinion) you’re avoiding lots of potential problems by taking the exam on paper. 


Can you imagine seeing the blue screen of death during your IELTS exam?!

How many times have you been working on a computer, and it freezes, or crashes, or has a problem?  Imagine that happening during your IELTS exam…  Even though exam centers are expected to keep their computers maintained, there are so many exam centers around the world that there is definitely a problem happening somewhere, somehow at this very moment.

How many times has your book crashed, or have your photocopies frozen?  Never.  By taking the test on paper, you avoid several potential problems: your test won’t freeze, you won’t have to spend time logging on, registering, etc.  Pencil and paper never fail.

writing-exam.jpgLet’s also think in terms of comfort.  Imagine sitting in a room with 30 computers and 30 people.  It’s going to get quite hot.  I wouldn’t want to be taking the IELTS, while also sweating because the room is too warm.

All things considered, the question on whether the paper-based or computer-delivered version of the test is better for you comes down to the question of how much time you have before you need your results.  

Are you taking the IELTS exam in Bogota?  Check out my IELTS preparation course in Bogota.  Feel free to send me an email with any questions you might have.



Where can I take the IELTS Exam in Bogota?

The IELTS exam is offered in several testing centers in Bogota, offering both the paper-based and computer-based versions of the exam.  The paper-based version of the exam is generally offered once or twice per month, while the computer-based version of the exam is offered several times per week.  Exam spaces are always limited, so be sure to register for your exam with plenty of time to spare.  Don’t miss your graduate school or immigration application deadline because you weren’t able to take the IELTS on time!

There are six official exam centers where you can take the IELTS in Bogota.  Exam centers offer both the Academic and the General Training versions of the IELTS, as well as the UKVI.

British Council

Carrera 9 # 76 – 49, 5th floor / Phone: 325.9090 /

  • Offers the Paper Based and Computer-Based Versions of the test.
  • Both versions of the test cost $634.000 COP.
  • Offers the test in three locations in Bogotá: in Downtown Bogotá at the Colombo Americano Institute, at the British Council in the El Lago area, as well as in their branch at Centro Colombo Americano in CC Bulevar Niza Local 356.
  • Tests are most frequently offered at the El Lago location.
  • Visit this page for more information on test availability.
  • Call before you register to confirm whether the test date is for computer-based or paper-based versions of the IELTS.

C.I. OZI International – Universidad de la Sabana

Calle 113 # 11a – 44 / Phone 637.5227 /

  • Offers the Paper Based and Computer-Based Versions of the test.
  • Both versions of the test cost $634.000 COP.
  • Academic and General Training offered.
  • Computer-based versions of the test offered several times per week.
  • Paper-based version of the test are offered once or twice per month.
  • Paper-based version is offered on Saturdays.

International House – Bogotá

Carrera 13 # 72 – 23 / Phone: 774.1993 /

  • Offers the paper-based version and computer based version of the test.
  • Paper-based version costs $634.000; computer-based version costs $666.000
  • The paper-based version is offered one or two times per month on Saturdays, while the computer-delivered version of the IELTS is offered several times per week.

Multilingua Bogotá

Autopista Norte # 82 – 17 / 302.376.9383 /

  • Multilingua only offers the computer-deliverd IELTS
  • The computer-delivered exam costs $666.000
  • The computer-delivered exam is offered several times per week; however, exam dates are only confirmed for the next two months.
  • Exams are at 8:30 am


What is the IELTS?

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an international exam which evaluates your ability to listen, read, write and speak in English.  Two IELTS exams are offered: the Academic IELTS and the General Training IELTS.  In function, the IELTS is very similar to the TOEFL exam. 

Personalized IELTS Classes BogotáThis Cambridge English Exam is accepted by academic institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa.  More than 3,000 academic institutions in the United States accept this exam as well as employers worldwide.  The IELTS exam is a requirement to immigrate to Australia or New Zealand.

If you’re thinking about studying or are looking for work in an English-speaking country, the IELTS exam is just as important as your passport.  

The IELTS exam has an academic version and a general version.  Each version tests your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, but have slightly different writing and reading tasks.  The test is completed during two separate days.  On the first day you complete the listening, reading and writing sections, and then a few days later you complete a 11-14 minute speaking exam.  The speaking exam is a three-part interview in which an examiner will ask you questions about topics familiar to you, ask you to speak at length about a given topic, and evaluate your ability to analyze and speculate about issues.

From start to finish, the test lasts under three hours.  The IELTS is not taken on a computer.


Preparation is key for success on the IELTS exam – What are the sections of the test? How much time is allowed for each section?  How many questions are there?  How long must I speak?  How is my writing evaluated?  

Knowing the answers to these questions can be the difference between being accepted into an academic program, or being rejected.  

My IELTS Preparation Course will ensure that you are prepared to present the IELTS exam on test day.  From registering for the test to preparing for the speaking exam, my course will certainly contribute to your IELTS success.  

Find out where the IELTS exam is accepted here:

Song of the Week: “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega

Suzanne Vega is a singer-songwriter who was born in California in 1959.  Her eclectic style has marked her career as a folk-inspired musician.

vega-suzanne-4fded150b2829One of Vega’s most famous songs is Tom’s Diner.  In this song, she sings about things she sees while sitting in a diner in New York.

Since Vega sings about actions in progress she uses the present continuous (also called present progressive) lots to explain what she sees!

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Understanding the Present Perfect/Present Continuous

The present continuous is formed with the verb to bea present participle.

am/is/are + –ing

There are several reasons why we use the present continuous.  We use the present continuous to talk about temporary actions that are happening in the present moment or around the present moment (that is, immediately before, during or after the present moment).

Why are you smiling?  Did someone make you happy?

Tom is on his way to the party.  He just told me that he is on the bus!

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Song of the Week: “Hey Love” by Charlie Whitten

Charlie Whitten

Charlie Whitten is a Folk-Rock Singer-Songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee (and a good friend of mine!)

Andrew Leahey writes that Charlie, having grown up in a time where grungy rock bands and teen idols ruled the airwaves, started looking back to musicians of the past, specifically the ’60s and ’70s.  Charlie calls this era “the golden age for songwriting… When songs seemed to be the real focus, and people reached outside of the box.”

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