Sieon Lau reports on a Road to IELTS upgrade that enables IELTS test takers to prepare for the increasingly popular computer-delivered IELTS.
Recent years have seen some dramatic enhancements to Road to IELTS: new practice tests, new activities for the Reading, Listening and Writing modules, and a completely new interface which runs not just on computers and tablets, but also on mobile. The latest innovation is a computer-delivered IELTS simulator. Why is this so important?
The British Council states that computer-delivered IELTS is “exactly the same test as paper-based IELTS, but instead of writing your answers on paper, you will type them on a computer… You will take the Listening, Reading and Writing sections on a computer, but the Speaking test will still be face-to-face with a trained IELTS Examiner.”
And yet, and yet… Doing a test on a computer is not “exactly the same” as doing it on paper any more than reading your newspaper in print is exactly the same as reading it on your phone. Navigating between questions is different: you need to know how to do it beforehand. Most people approach the planning and structuring of their writing differently according to whether they are writing on paper or on a word processor, where it is much easier to rearrange ideas later. And empirical studies suggest that we “overestimate our own reading comprehension when we read on screen compared to on paper.”
Then there are the practicalities. For example, can your students answer these questions:
- How do you start the Listening test?
- Can you make notes on the screen? How do you do it?
- Is there a cut and paste function in the Writing test?
All of this points to the importance of preparation and familiarisation. We know that we can reduce academic stress and improve exam performance with “anxiety-easing techniques” such as familiarising test takers with every aspect of the test beforehand. That’s why it’s so important that Road to IELTS now includes a computer-delivered IELTS simulator.
And that’s why if your students are taking computer-delivered IELTS, they need to click into Road to IELTS and work through the computer-delivered tests until they are really comfortable with all the functions. The computer-delivered IELTS simulator is available free of charge here.