IELTS News Tracker: December 2018

Dec 8, 2018 | IELTS Test


Welcome to the IELTS News Tracker, where we keep an eye on what’s happening in the world of IELTS. Discover how changes to the IELTS test will help or hinder your quest for a Band 8.0.

You will discover the latest developments about where you can emigrate, work or study with an IELTS certificate.

You will also find useful articles connected with IELTS test topics that will inform, entertain, and help you to improve your vocabulary.

This publication will appear monthly. As this issue is the first edition, we will start by looking back at the whole of 2018.

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The Latest IELTS News

Computer-delivered IELTS

The Computer-based version of the IELTS test almost remains a trade secret. Nevertheless, 2018 saw its continued expansion and roll out around the world.

You can take all parts of the test, except Speaking, on a computer. You will get the same types of question, the same content, the same time constraints, and all marked to the same criteria.

Twenty-nine years since its introduction, IELTS remains largely a paper-based test; however, the computer-delivered test does offer many advantages.

For example, you only have to wait 5-7 days for your results, far less than the fortnight of the traditional paper-based test. In addition, some centres run multiple test sessions a day which may better suit your busy schedule.

Unlike PTE, humans still mark IELTS, ensuring fair and accurate marking.

The computer-delivered Writing test offers advantages over paper. The computer counts the words, and you can cut-and-paste your text until you have the perfect essay.

Poor handwriting can affect your IELTS score, so a computer-delivered test offers real advantages in this area. Many exam candidates find that they can type and edit their essay much more quickly.

In the Reading test, you can change the size and colour of the text and also highlight words or whole sections. Having the timer right in front of you also provides a big advantage.

Likewise, the Listening test has advantages and give you complete control over the volume.

90% of candidates report that they find the computer-delivered test easier.

Few centres offer computer-based IELTS on a regular basis. However, you can still use a computer when suffering from a medical condition that prevents you using pencil and paper.

These videos show you in a bit more detail what you can expect …

On-screen Marking

Writing examiners can now also use a computer. In recent months the British Council has recruited what they call OSM Writing Examiners.

Their job adverts explain that UK based examiners will now mark the exams from home over the internet. They refer to this development as a new and ‘innovative approach to marking’. The advert explains that examining will now be considered a full-time job, whereas in the past they worked part-time.

UK based marking means that your examiner will have no experience of your local culture. Something you should bear in mind when using words from your native language or including local detail in your essay.

Will a computer mark my test?

No, humans still mark the test and the IDP report that no further changes have been proposed.

However, we note that the Caroline Clapham IELTS Masters Award for 2017 (announced in 2018) went to Martin Stark for a dissertation on the ‘automated analysis of linguistic features on a writing task’.

This award is overseen by the IELTS partners (British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge English Language Assessment). Their choice indicates that IELTS may move in the direction of automated marking in the future.


International IELTS Job News

IELTS International Job News


Medical professionals complain that the minimum score they must achieve on the IELTS test is too high.

Over the last year, many professionals switched to OET after the BMC added this test as an alternative to IELTS. However, the OET takes place less often than IELTS, and fewer countries offer this exam.

IELTS has fought back, and the UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council have announced that they have lowered the band score requirement.

Nurses must still achieve an overall Band 7.0, but the NMC now accept 6.5 for Writing. The change commences from December 5th, 2018. Anyone with valid IELTS results from the last two years may also submit them for consideration.

Most In-demand Engineering Jobs

Looking for work abroad as an engineer? This article identifies the ten most in-demand tech jobs of 2019.

Lots of useful IELTS vocabulary too!

Looking For Work In The UK?

This BBC article shows you which UK regions created the most jobs opportunities over the past year.

IELTS International Study

Study Abroad With An IELTS Certificate

An Australian study found a high level of satisfaction among international students in Australia.

Read more here.

 Useful Reading for IELTS

Read About IELTS News Topics To Improve Your Vocabulary

In this section, we link you to articles written in the same format and style as the IELTS Reading test.

We have chosen topics areas often covered in the IELTS test. Each article provides you with high-level vocabulary that you could use in the Writing and Speaking sections of the test.


This article talks about a new treatment which could halt the advance of Alzheimer’s disease. You will discover a lot of academic vocabulary that you could use in the Writing test.

Business and Technology

Would you like a robot as a boss? You could use some of the language in this article in both the Writing and the Speaking test.

That’s all for this issue.

We wish you all the best for the remainder of the year, and hope that 2019 brings you the IELTS score you need!

Return to our Blog and search for more IELTS News.

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