IELTS Indicator: An online, at-home replacement for the IELTS?

What is IELTS Indicator?

On April 22, 2020, IELTS launched an online version of the IELTS test that test-takers could take from the comfort of their homes. This test has the same format as the IELTS computer-based test, and has similar requirements as the online TOEFL test:

A quiet and comfortable space to take your test

  • A laptop or desktop computer (Mac or PC only; you cannot take IELTS Indicator on a mobile or tablet device)
  • A stable internet connection
  • A working microphone and web camera so you can complete your Speaking test 
  • Speakers or headphones connected to your computer (for audio during your Listening test)
  • Your I.D. document you registered with for your speaking test  [1]

Many people were relieved to hear that they could take the IELTS at home. But is this really valid for everybody? The IELTS Indicator can only be taken for the Academic version of the test. This is useful only for college applications. People who wish to take the IELTS for immigration or work purposes must take the IELTS General test, for which the IELTS Indicator is NOT a replacement. Simply put: the IELTS Indicator test results can NOT be used for immigration or work purposes. What’s more, although the traditional IELTS exam enjoys worldwide acceptance by nearly all universities, the IELTS Indicator is NOT currently accepted by all universities, and even amongst those that are accepting IELTS Indicator test results, these are not being accepted for applications, but only as an assessment tool.

It currently costs US$149, which, in many nations, is only slightly less than the actual IELTS test. Despite paying a hefty fee for the test, it enjoys very limited acceptability at the moment and most importantly, it is not a replacement to the actual IELTS test, and is only supposed to be, as the name suggest, an indication of your ability. You WILL have to take the actual IELTS exam once the COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdown is phased out. However, your test will be marked by actual IELTS examiners, and you will receive your score within seven days.


Should I take the IELTS Indicator? Is the IELTS Indicator the right test for me?

If you: 
– are a current or future student aiming to enrol in a university in an English-speaking country
– need to take the Academic version of the IELTS exam
– are interested in a university that has explicitly stated that it will accept IELTS Indicator test results
– understand that you need to take the actual IELTS once it’s available

– want to find out your level before you take the actual IELTS test

then yes, it’s the right test for you!


However, if you:
– aim to apply for immigration
– want to take the test for work purposes
– want to take the General version of the IELTS

then no, the IELTS Indicator is not the right test for you.

What do you think?