IDP or British Council: Which is best for IELTS?

Which is best for IELTS, British Council or IDP? Where should you take your IELTS test?

  • There is no difference between the IELTS test at the BC and in IDP.
  • There is also no difference between examiners and marking in the BC and IDP.

Who owns IELTS?

Both IDP and the British Council are part owners of IELTS along with Cambridge English Language Assessment. This means they are all one company. Learn more information about the IELTS Test.

IELTS Test Difficulty Level

IDP and British Council conduct IELTS tests but they do not write them. All tests used at the BC and IDP are compiled by Cambridge English Language Assessment who is one of the joint owners of IELTS.

This means you will get the same tests if you are at BC or IDP.

IELTS Examiners & Marking at IDP & BC

All examiners for IELTS, both IDP and BC examiners, are trained in the same way, following the same guidelines.

Listening and Reading answers are marked clerically. They are based on right or wrong answers. Each right answer gives one point and your score is calculated based on the number of right answers. So, this never differs between test centers.

Writing and Speaking are marked by an examiner. All IELTS examiners, for both IDP and BC, complete the same training course, follow the same marking criteria and also the same band score descriptors. Examiners are also checked regularly to ensure they are not marking too high or too low.


IDP is Australian and BC is British but they both use a range of accents. In the listening test, you will get a range of accents (even American sometimes). In the speaking test, the examiner could come from any country and have any accent. You can use any accent you want in your speaking test: Australian, British or American.

IELTS Band Scores:

How to Choose: British Council or IDP?

  1. Choose a test center close to your home.
    1. The listening, reading and writing test is 2 hours and 40 mins. You will need to arrive at your test center feeling fresh and ready to concentrate. Choosing a test center near your home will help you do this.
  2. Check if the listening test uses speakers or head phones.
    1. Most students prefer to use head phones because they can concentrate better. You might want to check with your test center which they use.
  3. Test Dates in IDP or BC
    1. Decide which center offers you the test date you want. You should always take the test when your IELTS skills and English language is strongest. Also make sure you frequently hit the score you want in practice tests before booking your real test.

Share your Experience

Post a comment with your experience of BC or IDP for an IELTS test. Give some tips to other students.

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  1. Hey Liz! Its great to see you answer each and every question so patiently. You have a kind heart.

    • You’re welcome 🙂

      • Hi Liz , could you be aware whether you would be required to take IELTS test again incase you are in UK and you want to move to US

        • The IELTS test is valid for 2 years regardless of where you are in the world. However, I think you are asking about immigration, in which case you need to check the requirements with the immigration department.

  2. Hey guys, I just had my cbt ielts general (idp) and that was my first time. Ielts is not as hard as feared by most people. You just have to be well prepared and have confidence without any panic during the test….. Thanks Liz, will appreciate you better after receiving my results. All your tips and videos were very useful.

  3. Rakesh Sharma says

    I face hard time to understand Australian accent. Is it true that IDP listening test contains recordings with such accent? Or is it no different from BC listening?
    Please shed light.

    • BC and IDP do not create the tests. The tests are created by Cambridge English who is also an owner of IELTS. All IELTS tests will have a mixture of accents. For this reason, you should get used to different accents before you take your test. The Speaking test is taken locally so accents will more likely be predictable.

  4. suwayne says

    I wrote the the IELTS test about 4 times in Nigeria and I’m pretty sure that the questions in IDP were way easier than British council. Besides the questions being easier, the environment was more relaxed.

    I scored a 7.5 overall in the British council version and 8 overall in IDP.

    My advice is to prepare hard and take the IDP version.

    Thank me later.

    • Thank you for this insight.

    • Moboluwaduro Oshodi says

      I don’t agree with this. They are the same questions on whichever day you write regardless of whether it is IDP or British Council. A friend who took ielts 5 times before he passed once told me that he saw his speaking Examiner for BC also examine him at his MOD 3rd attempt.

      I postulate that people believe MOD is easier usually because they take MOD at their 2nd attempt and by this time they are better prepared and more exposed to the expectations of the exam.

      Bottomline: you will fail if you do not prepare adequately

  5. Navin Putta says

    Hello Liz,
    Hope you’re doing good!
    I have received my IELTS GT scores from IDP India for 3rd attempt from one of the Tier-1 City, as below:
    L – 8
    R – 7
    I was really shattered 🙁 with the speaking score as my 1st and 2nd two attempts I had received 7.5 consistently in speaking.
    My question is whether is it worth going for EOR. ?
    Also, i have given my 4th attempt but not sure of the listening band.

    Kindly help in deciding whether to go for EOR for only speaking for 3rd attempt or not.


    • If you feel the language you used in your speaking test was worth more than 6.5, it is certainly worth considering a remark.

  6. Madhu says

    One main difference I noticed between IDP and BC is the process of application of Enquiry on Result (EOR) in India. IDP has an online way to submit EOR and results are pretty quick. In case of BC, you need to get a Demand Draft from a bank and send the application through snail mail. They also don’t update the status quickly and results are also slow.

  7. Gagandeep says

    I heard that IDP is for Australia and BC Is for Canada. Is it right? Also enlist other countries that accept BC and IDP

    • It makes no difference where you take your test. The certificate from either BC or IDP is an IELTS certificate – 100% the same for both.

      • IDP are sometimes unfair.Many people failed listening in may 2018 because of an inefficient management of the exams.Rain started falling on the day of the listening exam and it was a speaker not individual headphone,so many point were not heard as a result.Hence,I think BC exam will be more professionally handled.

      • Onele Godwin N. says

        What is the full meaning of IDP?
        THANK YOU

        • As far as I know, it means “International Development Program”, but their full title is not commonly used and I had to look it up to find out.

  8. Nandal says

    Hi Liz
    I believe i forgot to upload passport photo while booking for ielts(BC) . Now i can’t find any option to upload. I have made the payment and all. Also the booking is confirmed. Is it possible or did I just forgot that I have uploaded. There is no method to find that out either. Anyways, i will carry my passport in oroginal on test day. Hope that will suffice. Your expert opinion will be very kind. Thanks.

  9. Ma’am, does IDP test have any special priority in Australia or British council in England?

    • There is no such thing as “the IDP test”. IELTS is IELTS regardless of which test centre you take it at.

  10. Chanchalpreet kaur says

    Hlo mam, I want to ask you,Is band scores are repeated of first exam. Actually,I gave the IELTS exam two times in IDP and I got almost same scores in first and second exam then my teacher told me that they gave scores according to first exams. Is it true?

  11. HI LIZ,







    • This is not about IDP or BC. It makes no difference in IELTS where you take your test. Each test centre has their own facilities. Each country has their own options. All you need to do is talk to test centres in your country and decide which one offers the best options for you – some use headphones for listening, some offer computer IELTS – some do not. The paper based IELTS test is best for people who like to use a pen. The computer based IELTS test is for people who like to type. Just talk to the test centres in your area. The IELTS test is the same regardless of paper or computer, regardless of IDP or BC, regardless of morning or afternoon. Try not to over-think. Relax and just talk to your test centres.

  12. Vikas says

    Idp or bc is having same set of questions in ielts exam or different one’s?

    • On any one day, there are a number of different test papers used around the world.

  13. Hello, I just want to ask something. I’ve heard some rumors that some countries are not accepting ielts taken from Saudi Arabia, especially the UK. Is there any truth about this? I’m taking the exam in September here in Riyadh, KSA and that news made me worried. I hope you can give me some clarity on this issue. Thanks. God bless.

    • This is not something to ask an IELTS teacher. This is something to ask visa consultants etc. I certainly have never heard that IELTS (which has an international standard throughout the world) is invalid because of the test centre location. But I suggest you ask the right people.

      • Hi Liz
        Some friends told me that if the IELTS certificate is stamped by idp won’t be accepted at UK universities only British Council is accepted, is this true?

        Thank you

        • There is NO difference between IELTS in IDP and IELTS in the BC. Contact the Universities and ask them yourself. Contact IDP and ask them yourself. It is important that you don’t listen to gossip and you go straight to the source of the information.

  14. Abbas says

    Hi liz,
    Would you please say that the writing samples and examiner’s comments in Cambridge books (e.g. IELTS generat training 14) are selected from IDP or BC?

    • What differences does that make? None. They are both part of the same company = IELTS. IELTS has three owners – IDP, Cambridge & BC. Cambridge are the people who design the tests. So, taking your test in IDP or BC makes no difference.

  15. Hi Liz

    Just wanted to know if there is any kind of special IELTS which can be taken by student diagnosed with Dyslexia Please guide .

    • Very good question. I don’t know the answer unfortunately. I suggest you contact IELTS Official and ask them. I have often wondered after it myself. Let me know if you get an answer 🙂

      • unknown girl says

        Hello mam , will idp ielts work for british academic /

        • I am not sure what you mean exactly. The IELTS test is the IELTS test regardless of where you take it.

  16. Sanskar says

    Hey Liz! Firstly, thanks for the excellent content on this website. Everything is so streamlined an perfectly organized that I have decided to give the Computer Based Test, through BC (its center is closer) because I am a computer programmer and I definitely prefer typing over writing. However, I need to scribble notes in Listening (to quickly jot down points while the audio is playing), Writing (to plan my essay) and, maybe not as much, in Reading but I would like to have that choice. Am I allowed a pencil during Computer Based Tests and can I scribble notes? If yes, I’m going to book my test right now.

    • The problem is that in the paper based test for listening, you scribble notes and answers, and then you have 10 mins after the recording is finished to transfer your answers from the question paper to the answer sheets. In the computer based test, IELTS presume that you have already typed your answers in the boxes and so they give you only 2 mins to review spelling. This means if you scribble down answers, you won’t have time to put them into the computer after the recording has finished.
      As far as I know, you are given paper and pen for scribbling – but as I said this isn’t going to help you much in the listening test.
      See this page for more details and also contact your test centre to ask direct questions:

  17. Rojin says

    Hi, my name is Rozhin. I’ve took ielts exam 1 month ago and I didn’t receive my considered marks. I am going to take another ielts in another country from my hometown . I wanted to know that if in British Council writings are corrected by examiners in that center? And in IDP centers writings are sent to Australia? Am I right?

  18. Jasjeet singh says

    Hi, I am from India state punjab,I want to share my experience about idp and Bc,they are making lot of money in Punjab by fault rules. There are many agents of these ielts takers offered band scores by bribe like one lakh rupees for one band. Their examiners are also playing a good role in this I think because every student appearing a exam more than 3 to 4 times for his/her respective band scores so please look out on this matter it is a sure shot business for making money in Punjab. Thankyou.

  19. Bhoomika says

    I want you to go through my writing task 2 and let me know where I stand.
    May I post question with its answer here?

  20. Ritta says

    Hi Liz, I want to apply for Canadian express entry immigration as a nurse to work and study, and the IELTS is required but I’m confised on which test type to take, is it GT or academic. please i need your advice. Thank you.

  21. Prince Uppal says

    Hello Elizabeth

    I am writing this because I have seen a typing error in the above content. Please check the 3rd point of ” How to choose: British council or IDP” . In the 3rd point “test dates in IDP or BC” should be come but you have written “IDP or BD”. I hope you will correct this. And yes if is it correct in your way , please don’t take it personally.

    I look forward to hearing your reply

    Thank you

  22. IDP examiner gave me an unfair score of 5 in speaking ( Academic module)
    while I had the test 3 times before (General training) in the British Council and I had 7,6.5 and 6 respectively.
    I asked for reassessment for my speaking test and waiting for the results, hope to hear positive feedback from them.

    • Arjun says

      Did you get any feedback from them??

      • Just FYI

        I attempted the test in Jan 2019.
        I scored
        Listening 9
        Reading 8.5
        Speaking 7.5
        Writing 6.5

        I sent my writing score for rechecking however after 15 days I got the response that my band couldn’t be increased it was returned the same as 6.5. I think it’s hopeless to spend the amount on rechecking

        • Remarking only works if your writing is above the score you were given – as decided by a senior examiner. In your case, the senior examiner agreed that your writing was only at band 6.5 level. This means if you take the test again, you will need to review your understanding of the IELTS band score requirements for a higher score and check your techniques.

  23. Aleksandra Milinkovic says

    Hi Liz,
    First, sorry but my English.
    My 16th years old daughter get permanent residence in Canada and she will continue her high scholl in Toronto.
    We are from Serbia, but she is almost fluent in English.
    Can you tell me, if you know, which English test she will have to work, in order to see which grade she belong.
    I hope that you will help me.
    Sincerely thankful
    Aleksandra and my daughter Nina.

    • You need to contact the university. They will tell you which test she should take. IELTS is mostly taken as an entrance test to verify a person’s level of English.

    • I think both TOEFL and IELTS are acceptable but you need to achieve a certain minimum band score.

  24. Manisha says

    which IELTS Test is better under IDP or BC ??
    i am damn so much confused , to appear in which type of exam
    madam Liz may you help me please , i actually need your help for this decision.
    as you explained about both the methods of exam in the above discription
    but, i am not able to select one of the method from these two
    i will be very thankful of you if, you helps me in this desicion making.

    • What do you mean – in which type of exam???? IELTS is IELTS – it doesn’t matter where you sit it. IDP and BC do NOT write the test – Cambridge write all tests so they are the same level and type regardless of where you take the test. I think you didn’t read this page, did you? My pages have been written to help you understand – please read them carefully before posting questions so I don’t have to repeat myself.

      • susmith says


        I am dam confused about whether to go for paper based BC or Idp computer based test.
        I heard that CBT is having it’s own share of advantages over paper based in sections like writing.However in paper based test we can scribble answers on a piece of paper and then transfer it to sheet instead of typing answers on CBT.

        In short which one is easy for listening paperbased or CBT.

        Please reply asap.

  25. Shivani says

    Hi Liz,

    I have booked computer based IDP exam. I just want some insights about listening paper. Is it easy to type on keyboard with the speed by which recording is played? Any special tip. I really trust you and followed almost every video and blog. Please help me understand this better. Also, is there any complete practice test available? I want to practice listening part for computer based test.


    • You can find introductory videos about the computer based IELTS test on the Official Website and Youtube Channel. You should watch them all asap. If you are not excellent at typing, you should not take the computer based test. If you are more comfortable with a pen and paper for making notes or writing essays, you should take the paper based IELTS test.

  26. Hi Liz,
    I have heard that writing n speaking marking given by idp is less strict n marked kindly then bc..bc check strictly.. where I hv watched some viedo which explain Idp is better..

    • This is completely not true. The marking criteria is 100% the same as the BC. The examiner take the same training course. BC and IDP are both owners of IELTS along with Cambridge, who write the test materials.

  27. Hi Liz
    I am planning to appear for CD-IELTS (Computer Delivered), however, I found few articles explaining that there is some difference in listening section when compared with paper based IELTS.

    Per my knowledge:
    In Paper based IELTS listening section, we hear 30 mins of recording and followed by 10 mins for marking and correcting our answers.
    In CD-IELTS after the 30 mins of recordings the system automatically submit the answers without the extra 10 mins for marking or correcting. All answers should be marked at the very initial stage only.

    Is this true?
    Could you please help me understand this?

    Note: I see only IDP is conducting the CD-IELTS at my place.

    • There will be an extra 2 mins at the end of the computer based listening test to check your answers. All your answers will already have been marked on the screen so the 2 mins is just to have a quick review.

      • Thanks for your response, Liz.
        Will the audio be continuous after each section or will I have to play the audio for each section?
        I’m just trying to figure out will there be enough time for me to check the answers of current section and questions of next question in the given time because the extra time has been cut by 8 mins i.e. 10 mins to 2 mins.


        • Yes. There is always a pause between particular groups of questions. It is not just between sections, but also between groups of questions. Get a real IELTS test and do it at home. You can find them in the IELTS Cambridge test books from 1 to 13.

  28. Umesh Pradhan says

    I don’t know about IDP or BC marking schemes, but I am certain if I had scored 7+ in Listening, Reading and Speaking, I should I have definitely got 7 in Writing too.
    On the contrary, I just got 6 band score in Writing. I took the test on 18th August, 2018.
    Should I go for reassessment or not is what I am confused about because as per information sought from online sources, the BC or IDP both are reluctant to give more than .5 increment band score.
    Please suggest!

    • U know buddy.. same happened with me… i scored 9 in listening..8.5 in reading… 8 in speaking… but .. ONLY 6.5 in Writing.. whyy????
      Have you seen that sample soultion set they provided us with score 6.5 ? How pathetic is that.. and I am sure we are better than that , if not the best..!

  29. LakumiP says

    Thanks for the great tips you post on this site.Really helped me ace the IELTS exam with a score of 8.5.Will recommend your site to friends & family.

  30. Vikram Shah says

    I am from India, Ahmedabad in Gujarat. My experience is that British Council is much better. People get higher band scores and the test is conducted in a friendly and professional manner

    • Hello,

      I gave my Academic IELTS on 24th feb 2018. Overall my speaking test was good, I took a 3 second pause in part-2 else all answers were answered deliberately. I got only 5.5 in speaking and somehow felt obscure.

      Now I’m re-taking on 24th March 2018 again in British Council.


  31. Hamidullah Usman says

    Hi Liz,
    Thank you very much for your co-operation regarding IELTS,do we have recognized and official BC in our region,because we found so many BC centers ,and don,t know which is right one ?

  32. Jay chudasama says

    Hey liz!
    I wanted to know that do the accents and speed of listening test differ in IDP and BRITISH COUNCIL? Or they are same?

    Thank you!

    • The British Council and IDP do NOT write the tests. All IELTS tests are written by Cambridge English who is one of the owners of IELTS. All tests have a variety of accents. The speed is standard in all test.

  33. Mr.Niko says

    Hello, everyone

    I’m a teacher of English in Kazakhstan and a lot of my students passed this exam. IDP or BC is really tricky question, particularly in KZ. But I’d like to share with my experience.

    For me, writing is better assessed in IDP, but speaking in BC (because only native speakers are examiners of speaking module).

    Firstly, on 26th August two of my students took IELTS, one student with poor knowledge of English got 5.5 (IDP) and another one with a really good knowledge had the same 5.5 (BC) in Writing module.

    Secondly, on 30th September four students passed, two of them got 7.0 (IDP) and other two received only 5.5 (BC) in Writing module. They had the same task1 and task2 and all of them wrote by the same structure and used the same phrases/prompts…I was a bit shocked.

    As for me, I got 8.0 in Writing module in 2015 🙂

    Thus, I think in Kazakhstan IDP is the best choice.

    • Great score in writing – well done 🙂

    • Dear Mr. Niko

      I’m from Kazakhstan and I want to pass IELTS in April and this will be my first IELTS in my life. I don’t know which test center to choose BC or IDP. I would like to kindly ask you to tell me about their Speaking test I mean about your students who already passed IELTS in IDP and BC. Is there a big difference between their Band Scores?

      Many thanks in advance!

  34. can u please suggest how to improve reading and speaking ..i have booked 14th December…so plz rply…

  35. Nagaseshu says

    I am ready. I am seshu from India. this is my mail id. Ping me. Happy to help you.

  36. XANTHIPPI says

    Hello Liz,

    I am not sure whether this question has been answered before. I have booked my IELTS exam for next month and would like to know whether any headphones are provided for the listening section of the exam? If not do you know any test centre that provides headphones rather than speakers?
    Appreciate your help and thanks in advance for your time.

    Kind Regards,
    Xanthippi Tsioutra

    • Each test center is different. You’ll have to contact all your local test centers and ask them. This information is not available to me personally. You have to be proactive and call them. I’m glad you are thinking about this because many students struggle with listening tests done with loud speakers.

  37. nimish kataria says

    me nimish kataria,
    i want to know that some people the checking of BC is very good as compared to IDP is it correct or is it myths .

  38. harwinder says

    speaking time if examiner create some noise and student stop speaking by noise . who is responsible for student’s bad performance ?

  39. I have in chosen in these two
    Becoz i choose one of them who is prefer in Australia ,new Zealand, swedwen in these countries

  40. i have opted for ielts in idp method. does they(idp,bc) have difference in their accents (bc,idp) in listening ? how to choose the accent for exam? does the facility is there in the examination hall?

    • Hi Siva,
      first of all best of luck for your exam.
      As per your question:
      No, there is not any difference in the accents in listening. Whole concept is same in IDP and BC. Accents used in both exam are British, Australian, American etc. There are a few invigilators in examination hall. Also I would like to tell you that I personally feel IDP much better than BC in various terms. So it’s good that you didn’t select BC.

      • BC is worst, I gave test twice, there own result varies both time.
        Now i will try IDP and share the experience with all after result.

        • How was your experience with IDP? Because even I gave the exam twice with BC and got different results. Please help.

        • sanam says

          Even i feel the same for BC, How was your experience in IDP? please share your experience

  41. Hi Liz,
    My doubt is whether there is any influence in the speaking test scores depending on the examiners in a metro city and in other parts. I am from South India working in a metro city. Should I go and take the test in my native to get a better results since the examiner wont get influenced by the speaking tone comparing to other candidates who may be speaking better in a metro city.

    • All examiners follow the same marking criteria. Although examiners should not differ in their marking of accents, it doesn’t always work that way. If one examiner is more familiar with one type of accent, they may find it easier to understand that therefore give a better score for pronunciation.

      • Thank you Liz. Its not about accent alone. My confusion is , whether it is better to attend the speaking test in a metro city where all candidates are more fluent in English, compared to a small town in my native place. ie whether the examiner will have a tendency to compare the candidates . Please reply

        • I do not have experience of this. You must use your own judgement and knowledge of your country.

          • Hi Elzu,

            I am from India and for the matter of fact I know that it does makes a lot of difference if you give your ielts exam from a non metro.

    • Yes, it really influences whether you are attending speaking test in metro city ot a small town. Invigilators in metro city are tough and their expectations from the candidates are high as the number of candidates speaking good english is high there. Also, one can clearly see the difference between the accent of metro and non metro city invigilator. This is the reason many students prefer to travel to small city test centres rather than selecting the metro cities no matter it is nearby.

    • I had taken test date for IELTS IDP on 14th Oct . Being real tensed 😑😑 …

  42. Rizwan says

    Hi. I am planning to give ielts academia. the problem is, i m applying to various countries like austrailia, newzealand, canada, germany, france, usa, uk, etc.
    I dont know which one to choose. Ielts british council or idp? i want to take the one that is accepted everywhere in the world

  43. Dear Liz,
    Thank you so much for you do a great work. I am from Africa-Nigeria. I did take the IELTS-IDP test on 30th July and now very eager to see my results in few days. You tips were helpful. Sadly, I made a “silly” mistake by writing a wrong test date on the speaking test T2 answer sheet. Does this affect my assessment? Many thanks.

    • What do you mean? Speaking test 2? What test 2? Please try to write more clearly so I can understand. Did you take 2 speaking tests?

      • Oh…I mean to say “I wrote a wrong date (30/7/17 intead of 29/7/17) on the answer sheet for the writing task 2.” Does this mistake matter?

        • You should contact your test centre about this and tell them what happened. I’m sure it will be fine but you need to say something. Also put it in writing in an email so that there is a record of your communication.

          • Thank you for the expedite response. I appreciate your advice and would do so immediately.

  44. Mohsen Abu Abed says

    can anyone help in the General IELTS Exam?in which institute you recommend me to do the exam in BC OR IDP at the end your kind cooperation is highly appreciated

  45. herat shah says

    hey liz. this is herat from india. thank you for clearing the concepts in reading,.
    my exams for acedamic was today 8th july. reading was a bit hard but your tips and tricks helped me a lot.

    writing topic was : some poeople believe that government should pay for education while some believe that student should pay their own for studying. opinion…..

    thatnk you so so so much liz..u r the best

  46. Armaan Khurana says

    Hi Liz,

    I just gave IELTS GT exam and i am expecting 6.5 bands in writing whereas, I need 7 bands in writing. I am satisfied with my performance in other three sections and scoring as well but I am stuck in writing at 6.5 bands. I have watched all your lessons and notes on your website and familiar with the task 1 (letter) and task 2 (essay) structures but still I am not able jump to 7 bands. I generally received feedback related to minute grammatical mistakes and handwriting. Please advise how can improve myself in these two areas.

    I am already short of time and need your kind support.

    • Haytham says

      If I were Cambridge, I will keep giving you 6 and 6.5 and never 7, why to give you 7 while I can give you 6.5 and you will continue taking the exam again and again, and I will take more and more money.
      what is the difference between 2 topics with 6.5 and 7 bands please ? if you give the same essay to 3 or 4 examiners they will have different bands (on the same topics). because writing can’t be assessed the same way.
      it is a huge business dude and it must continue growing.

      • Very true mate. We fall into their trap and our hard earned money goes to these British folks.

  47. Hi ,
    can you please suggest how to improve the speaking and is there any online speaking form where i can practice my Speaking with foreigners ?

  48. Irfan Ahmed says

    IDP or BC (Academic)

    The questions in sections (L,R,W) of both BC and IDP appears exactly same on any particular day. Probably same question paper.

    In my observation, speaking test in IDP is >1-1.5 minutes longer than BC.

    Evaluation of all the sections is conducted in the same way.
    Test results solely depend upon one’s performance.

    4. Availability of Test dates:
    In India, for BC book slot at least 3-5 weeks prior to test date and for IDP 1-2 weeks.

    • Thanks for sharing 🙂 The IELTS speaking test can last between 11 and 14 mins. This means the test can vary in length – it does not relate to the test center.

  49. Jewel Nguyen says

    I took Ielts Acedemic with IDP Saigon on 4 Mar 17 and Ielts GT with BC on 8 Apr 17 in Saigon. I don’t think there is difference of difficulty level of test content but there are a number of differences in the way they organise the test as following in order of test procedures:
    (i) text message: IDP message is to remind the place, and time of the test date, and the ID document you should bring up to the test while BC message appears like a threatening message that if you don’t bring the right ID document, you will be rejected.
    (ii) on the test date: IDP offers to keep your baggage with a receipt, BC offers to keep baggage as well without any receipt and states a disclaimer that they would not responsible for any loss or damage to your baggage. Thus, if your bag is mistakenly misplaced or taken by other test candidate, that’s you bad luck.
    (iii) inside the test place: IDP provides water bottle while BC doesn’t. That’s so mean.
    (iii) feedback form: IDP provides right after the reading/listening/writing test and BC doesn’t. They only provided to me when I insisted twice, one after sitting test and after listening test
    (iv) arrangement of listening test: BC has more corporate client with some priorities to those clients. I registered both tests same 3 weeks before the test date and they couldn’t arrange the listening test on the same day for me as they need to priorities to their corporate client. On the same date I took the test with BC, 2/3 of the candidates are from a school. Well, no complaint here. it’s just your choice.
    (v) test result: IDP provide the option to inform test result by registered phone number. BC doesn’t have that option.

    It’s just trivial things, so you can make up your mind if you don’t mind them.

  50. Hi Liz,

    I am preparing for IELTS General test, following your videos and sample tests on the website.
    I am improving in other sections, but couldn’t when it comes to speaking.
    I am an intermediate level speaker, can speak on a average pace with friends but cannot speak spontaneously. Though the IELTS speaking part 2 topics looks very simple, due to lack to spontaneous answers, not able to frame sentences in short duration and lack of putting taught into sentences, I couldn’t talk more than few seconds when I tried testing myself with a recorder.
    Please suggest me ways to overcome the problem and how do prepare for speaking test ?

    • How many topics and ideas did you prepare for your test? You should have so many ideas in your head that you have plenty to say in your test. Part of your IELTS speaking and writing preparation is to prepare ideas for all common and recent topics.

  51. Gurinder says

    I already give exam from British council and got overall 6
    Now I again decide to give exam from British council
    Am I correct?
    Because students told me that they have previous result of yurs and give marks according to previous one ….
    Plz give me right suggestion….

  52. FrustratedIDPtaker says

    Just took an IELTS test with IDP
    unfortunately the headset went static while I was taking the listening test resulting to me missing 2 items and being not able to regain my focus for a few more items.
    They said they can’t do anything about it.

    I might try british council if I won’t get a good band on listening due to the technical glitch.
    It is so frustrating that IDP didn’t make a way to compensate for what happened.

    • That is a real shame and would make anyone angry. It’s shocking that they are not checking their equipment more carefully and more frequently. You should put in a formal complaint.

      • Sameer Thapa says

        Can we change IDP into BC after we book the exam ?And some people says me that the examiner of IDP checks the paper strictly than BC?

  53. Dear Liz,
    Please provide me your contact details. I need to speak to you about teaching method.

  54. Faye.SM says

    Hi! I will be taking mg IELTS exam this coming January. I am planning to take my exam in Vietnam. Can you suggest w/c test center should I apply for the exam. BC or IDP.
    Thank you in advance.

  55. Abhinav says

    Many people says that writing in BC will get more markks compairing to IDP is it correct because I have attempted 2 times in IDP. Please help me guys

  56. anonymous says

    hi I am planning on taking IELTS again this coming january
    I have already tried twice with BC
    I need 7 all but I only got 6.5 in writing
    I didn’t know that there is another test center which is IDP
    I’m pretty sure that my writing was quite alright and I even score 7 in writing whenever I write an essay and have it checked with my tutor.

    If I take IELTS with IDP will it make a difference. Help pls. God Bless

    • I was pretty sure I had 7 as well. But I only got 6.5. Can you add me up on Skype? shu.lamite is my username

  57. sukhman says

    hii liz,
    i always lose half band score in writing in three attempts
    in first attempt i got 5.5 and in second attempt i got 5 and in last i got 4.5

    what was the main reason behind this
    i am really very upset

    • Farrukh says

      Try your luck with PTE or TOEFL instead of appearing in IELTS again and wasting money.

  58. As the exam is same…idp us way better in terms of service and providing results on time whereas british council will keep on delaying without any further notice..

  59. i gave my ielts speaking exam 1 and 3 part was well performed but in 2 part i speak out off topic of cue card i think i will score low band give some suggestion about result

  60. Hello Liz,

    I received 1 band in Reading …but I had given blank answersheet as I had forgot to enter answers in the same….How come they give 1 band if you have not at all attended single question….

  61. Hi..I read some comments that NMC only accept results from BC and not this true?

  62. Shiva Kumar says


    I am applying for Immigration for Canada, Can someone suggest which is the Best one to choose since I am from India.

  63. Hi Liz. Im also confused with how BC and IDP grades especially in writing. As I attend a review in IELTS, they told us that in BC the pattern of writing especially in Task 1 is: Introduction, body, overview (conclusion/summary). but in IDP it is Introduction, Overview and body. I took the IELTS last 2006 in IDP and again took it twice this year in IDP. My score in writing last 2006 is 7 and I used the format Introduction, body, and overview. This year, I still used the same format but I got only 6.5 on both exams. Im about to take another exam this October and I want to know if this is true. Can you please enlighten me with this one Liz? Thanks so much.

  64. savroop says

    idp or bc result?????

  65. Rushabh C says

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks a lot for your videos and posts, proved quite useful for me. With test material in hand and all the tips and guidelines from your videos, I was able to get a good IELTS score.
    Listening 8.50
    Reading 7.00
    Speaking 8.00
    Writing 7.00
    OverAllBandScore 7.50

    Thanks a lot

  66. Shiva says

    Hi Liz,

    I have a query with related to Writing task in IELTS.

    Can we use words whose origin are other than English in writing task?
    Eg) cliche – from French

    • If you can find it in an English dictionary, you should use it. “cliche” is often used in English.

      • Hi Liz, I am a silent follower of your blog. I had my speaking test yesterday. I stammered thrice and paused more than once. I felt really bad especially that i used the idiom “come again”when i did not pick up what the question was, out of instinct. Then, i noticed that the examiner was asking me just one to two follow up questions that i was done with it in less than 9 minutues. Hence, I am not sure if
        it’s because she was tired or my english skills are really bad. By the way, the topic was about garden i visited, stupidly, i described a mangrove conservation park i visited a month ago… and not a traditional backyard garden. I was so nervous then.

        • Sorry I didn;t see your comment before. Contact me again if you still have questions. I hope your results were ok.

  67. Gagandeep kaur chahal says

    hi Liz mam,
    my exam of idp is on 14 july…last tym i score 5 bands in speaking nd listening ..tell me how can i improve these….plzz answer me quickly

    • I think with your current level of English and the way you use short form of words and tenses, Examiner has done a great help by marking you at band 5. We should appreciate him/her for his/her patience and being lenient.

  68. Hi Liz , I want to know benchmark and bc , ukvi are different ilets or both are are same if I want to do benchmark ilets in general where I get materials.

  69. anyone in newzealand having ielts bc exam on 18 june plz contact me its urgent i m from india my contact 9041520221 watsap me if anyone

  70. Sunny Shergill says

    Hlo everyone!
    I booked my ielts test for ukvi on 4 june. Is there any difference between bc and ukvi bc. Is there anyone who have appeared for this test. Please share your views as well as your tips regarding this. Is this test easy or difficult. I am so nervous😰. Please help me….

    • Jazz says

      there is no diffence between BC and UKVI BC bots tests are same and marking pattern is also similar of both centres

  71. Gino Ann kurian says

    I am a beginner, idont know where to start, please guide me…

    • Go to the home page and watch the preparation video. Then start reading the information page. After that, start practicing and learning 🙂

  72. Shazia says

    Where are these IDP centres in England?

  73. Rana atique says

    As you told there is no difference between IDP & IELTS. But some of collegues told me that speaking an writing task is easier in IDP than that of IELTS?? Is this or not

  74. Louxiong SIAKOR says

    Dear Liz,
    I am preparing to IELTS for my test next month. and I faced problems on how to create the introduction paragraph. Could you help me on this topic below:
    Some people believe that environment problems will be increased in the future. To what extend do you agree? Use your onw opinion and include any relevance examples.

  75. Neha says

    hi mam,
    I am from punjab, India.
    i have done my speaking exam. i used a word twice time. Is it affected to my speaking score?. i need 6.5 as i got 6 in last time. This time my examiner was a male and came from south India and last time my examiner was a lady from UK.
    Please suggest me some latest writing topics as my LRW is pending it will be on 28th May.

  76. Kevin says

    I’m going to have an exam on June in Philippine. I heard that Idp’s interviewers are stricker than BC, also Idp’s interviewrs are philippinos,while BC’s are native. Which one do you recommend Idp or BC?Please answer my question quickly.

    • hello kevin. i am from the same country as you are. are you done with your exam. how was it. actually i heard rumors that it is more comfortable to have the exam from bc. looking forward to hear from you. God bless you!

  77. Salah says

    Sorry..but writing and speaking are subjective and depends on the examiner who may give u half point less or more which may make huge u know many students r looking for 7 in each area.

  78. Ruby says

    I took the IELTS test for three times already in the Philippines. Yet, I always got 6 in writing. I need 7 in all the sections. I am planning to take my IELTS in Singapore. Can someone advise me if my decision is right?

    • hello there ruby. i think it really matters to study and focus on your goal. if you are going to take ielts in other countries yet you still study the way you did before, it will just give you same results. i believe that if you really want to have something you got to do everything you havent done yet for you to achieve your goal. you can do it. just study diligently and strengthen your weaknesses.

  79. Paul says

    Hi Liz,

    Done my test with BC and got 7. Speaking test questions were not the same. My examiner was a woman and the questions were all about social media. After i took the test, i asked one of the candidates who was a girl. This time, she was interviewed by a male examiner and she told me that the questions were different from mine.

    Any comment about this? Thanks!

    • There are both male and female examiners and there are many questions that can be asked.

  80. Tran Hoang Thao Nguyen says

    I’ve just taken IELTS at IDP, and they are really helpful and kind. They prepared me a bottle of water, pencils and reminded me to the test carefully. They also served free meals alter The Writing, Listening and Reading Test.

  81. Kumail Hassan says

    Hello Liz,
    I am agree with you. People suggested me to go for IDP. I did the same but unfortunately I did not get my required band. After that I took IELTS test organised by BC and got my band improved. I think, band depend upon your luck and preparation not on the IDP or BC. Both are same. According to my point of view, your Speaking band depends upon the examiner. Go for the head phone side for listening if you think that you will be more comfortable in presence of head phones.
    So don’t worry about selecting IDP or BC. Just be prepared well.

  82. Zaid says

    Hi Liz

    How can o improve listening different accent any source which cover all British English Australian accent .any suggestions for spelling improvements

  83. Barjinder Kaur says

    Well According to me and as per my experience, I feel IDP is best , as there was a lot of uncontrolled environment when I had taken test under BC .

  84. khial jan says

    I like IDP because it is easy and students can solve IELTS overall sections.
    while on the other hand, BC is somehow, difficult as i listen from my teacher.

  85. AKM Mahmudul Haque says

    To me NO difference !! However, it may vary from country to country.

    I took two tests in 4 months difference and got higher mark from BC( latest one). Both exam hold in almost similar conditions. Both BC and IDP allowed me to write on reading and writing qyestion papers.

    My suggestion is , please do not worry so much about the BC or IDP, and get well prepared instead.

    Good luck.

  86. Vusal says

    Hi Dear Liz,

    İ took test on May 21, But İ am not sure about writing part to get acceptable score so I want to book again for June 18. And both centres in my country offer exam on that date. Will tests be same in both centres?
    thank you

  87. Darren says

    I would say there is a difference between BC and IDP. I have been to tests held by these two organizers. I found listening, reading and speaking in IDP are easier to get a higher band than BC.

  88. samah says

    yes I agree.. IDP is bettert than BC , I am currently in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh and from my experience IDP is more organized.

    • Khale says

      SA Samah,
      I’m going to take my exam after ten days in Riyadh as well. I’m still confused on which centre I should choose. Some ppl say that the IDP examiners are more friendly and you can gain more band score there, especially in speaking. What do you think from your experience?

      • samah says

        Thanks a lot dear. I already registered in IDP, my exam on 4th of June hope I can get 7

      • Kevin says

        I’m going to have an exam on June in Philippine. I heard that Idp’s interviewers are stricker than BC, also Idp’s interviewrs are philippinos,while BC’s are native. Which one do you recommend Idp or BC?Please answer my question quickly.

    • Parveen Sultana says

      I am in Riyadh and going to take IELTS. Can you tell me they use headphones or speaker for listening section. Also did you get same listening and reading as in BC or different on your day. Do you feel the evaluation is better in IDP. Please reply. I would really appreciate your help.


    • Hello. I want to ask for help. I’ve been taking IELTS exam 4 times in a row because I desperately want to go to UK as soon as possible before my application expires. But unluckily I always got stuck in band score of 6.5 in Speaking test in which for UK employment you need to get band 7. I already had sessions of one-on-one coaching with teachers from a review center and they said I was improving and I could possibly get at least band 7 in Speaking test. I was happy to hear their feedback on me and they reminded me to stay calm and avoid thinking complex thoughts/ideas during the test so that my fluency will not be affected. I should speak smoothly without much hesitation. And I think I did that during the test. I am confident I did better during my 4th try compared during my 1st, 2nd and 3rd (I actually got band 7 2x when I took IELTS in 2019). But still I got the same result. I believe I did my best. Should I apply for remarking? (Because I’ve learned that foreign senior examiner will do the remarking and I also believe they are more generous in giving scores in Speaking.) I’m hoping after EOR my score will have 0.5 increase and I will get band 7. 😌🙏

      • The senior examiners are definitely not more generous. They are much more accurate which is why they are senior examiners. Band scores can vary between 0.5 on average which is why remarking is an option. Certainly, you should try it if you think you deserve more. However, there is one comment you made which I am concerned about. You said you were avoiding thinking complex thoughts and ideas to focus on fluency. Why were you ever thinking complex thoughts at all for the speaking test? Ideas are not marked in the speaking test. It seems strange that you ever considered them important. Hopefully, you are now fully aware of the marking criteria for speaking. Your confidence in deserving a higher score must be based on those only. I wish you lots of luck in whatever you choose 🙂

  89. I’m terribly sorry it’s a question.
    I registered my exam with the BC in my country Nigeria, exam date was 7th of May 2016. Untill now, I haven’t received my results. I’ve been checking it on IDP and it keeps saying “no candidate result found”. Please can you give me a link to check my result from BC. Thanks Liz

    • I suggest you contact your local test center or ask them on their facebook page. Sometimes results are withheld for checking – it’s quite normal.

      • Dear mam thnx a lot for ur Fantastic Website.i have a problem in my exam of 10 sept.on that day was my speaking exam i gave the answers well but in my cue card i was Speaking of my cue card but examiner stopped me is it okkk??

        • It’s normal for the examiner to stop you when you are speaking in part 1 and part 3. In part 2, the examiner must stop you at the end of 2 minutes.

    • Neha says

      hi unche
      could you tell me about your writing topic of 7th may test?

  90. Patricia says

    Actually there is a difference. Countless students of mine have complained that the BC does NOT allow then to write on their reading papers or their writing papers. This is s general complaint on an international scale.
    I have advised them to stand up for their rights and demand that they be allowed to make notes. ….after all. .we teach them this..underlining key words etc.
    I suspect the BC just want to reuse the papers. ..which I find deplorable.
    Any comments? Has this happened recently to anybody else?
    Please forgive typos….am using my phone.

    • Shruthi says

      Hi Patricia,

      I appeared for IELTS in BC two days ago. I was allowed to write on the question paper.
      There were no restrictions as such.

    • buddhika sandaruwan says

      hi liz,
      please reply regarding above matter. because i am gonna apply exam through BC on next month. i am highly appreciate if someone post a comment about this, who sat to the IELTS recently.

      • Shibs says

        Hello I agree with the difference between BC and IDP but there is a major difference is that some countries and institutions prefer one like for Australia you need to take exam with IDP for UK you need result from BC. So better check before.

      • Dr. Prajyot Sawarkar says

        I’ve taken from BC got 7.5 no <7.
        They allowed me to write on the question paper. No restrictions for that.

      • ALAN WALKER says

        Hello Liz
        I wonder there’s no difference between IDP an BC so why there is two format like this

        • Which two formats? Please explain more so I can understand you? Which two formats of IELTS?

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