Taking your language test. Offline vs. Online: Which is better?

Taking your language test. Offline vs. Online: Which is better?

Once you’re in the position where you have completed your lessons, practiced your abilities and discussed it with your tutor/ teacher, you might be confident enough to take an exam, such as the IELTS or the CAE which we discussed in last week’s blog. The question, however, arises:

“Which test should I take?” and “should I do it online or in-person?”

Well, this is a very good question. Deciding which test to take can be impacted by your own preferences – which type of test you might prefer – and which is more accessible with regards to location and COVID-19. Checking your local testing centres or facilities is a great place to start!

Here are a list of pros and cons which might influence your decision of whether to take your exam online or offline.

Offline exams

The offline is generally paper based. It includes all of the same questions but is generally based in an environment where there is an invigilator present, resources available and an allocated location.


  • If you have learned the language in-person, in lessons and with a teacher, doing an offline exam might be more beneficial for you, if it’s what you’re used to.
  • Physical materials, such as books and printed papers, are better for making extra notes and retaining information.
  • You would have access to physical books and materials you wouldn’t otherwise if you were completing it online.
  • It doesn’t require internet access.
  • It could mean you have a more relaxed environment.


  • There are restricted times and locations where the paper version can be done.
  • The exam may not be as comfortable as it might doing it at home.
  • During COVID, it’s not an option.
  • If you’re someone who can’t travel easily, it can be difficult to access this exam.
  • It can be more expensive to accommodate for travel costs and other resources.online/offline exam

Online exams

Doing the online version of the exam can accommodate for a greater number of people, as well as increased accessibility.


  • A great alternative for people who are unable to travel.
  • For some, it can be more comfortable to complete the test at home.
  • There are not so many time restrictions!
  • It is a great option during COVID or if you’re unwell.
  • You have the opportunity to learn more about technology!
  • It can sometimes work out to be cheaper than in-person as you aren’t paying for travel.


  • Those who are accustomed to offline classes will find this very disorienting and harder to focus.
  • Without access to a computer, internet or other online resources, it can be difficult to pursue the online version.
  • Some students don’t understand the required technology and can struggle with accessing materials and the exam.

Understanding which exam is more suitable for you is a personal choice and often depends on the materials you have access to, whether you can travel and what you can afford.

Make sure you do your research and know exactly which exam and whether online vs offline is best for you or even if it’s offered in your area!

Would you like to know more about taking the test online vs offline? Book lessons with one of our lovely tutors here.