IDP or British Council – Which One should you Go for?

The International English Language Testing System test, better known as IELTS is a highly popular exam that evaluates candidates on the basis of their English proficiency. The test is conducted by two authorized bodies British Council and IDP and choosing which of these two to take the test remains a hot topic of debate still. In this post, we will uncover details on which of these you should go for while appearing for IELTS.

IELTS – A Brief Intro

IELTS is primarily meant for non-native English speaking individuals and serves as a prominent standard for deciding the English communication capabilities of individuals looking to immigrate in a foreign country on account of study, work or stay.

Total 9,000 institutions worldwide recognize the IELTS test – including universities in Canada, US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.  Some of the top universities in the US like Boise State University, Brandeis University, Ball State University, Columbia University, California Institute of Technology etc. also accept IELTS scores.

Taken by more than 2 million people every year, IELTS is conducted across 140 countries at 1,000 test centers. British Council and IDP jointly conduct IELTS and the big question that arises now is whether to go for an IELTS by IDP or by British Council. We will discuss this in detail in the next section.

British Council Vs IDP – What is the Difference?

When you consider applying for IELTS via either IDP or British Council (BC), there are two main areas where you would like to differentiate between the two. Listed below are these areas –

  • Test difficulty level in IDP compared to BC and vice versa
  • Test Marking pattern in IDP and BC

As far as the test difficulty is concerned, it can be known by the authorized body compiling the test. In this case, neither IDP nor British Council compiles the test papers. BC and IDP do conduct the test jointly across 140 countries; however the responsibility of compiling test paper lies with Cambridge English Language Assessment – one of the co-owners of the coveted IELTS test.

So, the first concern gets solved here itself as the test difficulty level would remain the same irrespective of whether you go for IDP or British Council.

Next comes the question of marking pattern by IELTS examiners – whether marking is strict or lenient? You may be overwhelmed to know that the examiners at BC and IDP follow the same guidelines for evaluating the test and are trained uniformly. It should also be made clear here that which of the sub-test of this test is actually marked by an examiner.

Well, the Speaking and Writing sub-tests are marked by an examiner while Listening and Reading (being computer based) are marked clerically. So, your IELTS score can get hit accordingly in Speaking and Writing sub-tests if you don’t prepare appropriately.

Choosing the IELTS Test Center is a Pain for Some Candidates…

Besides having the confusion on IDP and BC, some candidates are even traumatized when it comes to choosing an IELTS test center. Many candidates have the opinion that the difficulty level for the test varies with the test center location. Consequently, they spend a great amount of time in deciding the test center location rather than devoting time in preparing for the test. It is a big mistake to give preference to a test center in an endeavor to find an easy-to-crack IELTS test.

It must be mentioned here that IELTS is conducted by British Council in some countries and by IDP in some other countries. There are some countries though where both of these authorized bodies conduct the test and India is one of them. However, neither IDP nor BC suggests that paper would be simpler if taken from them. The candidates must thus understand that the IELTS test paper complexity/simplicity is independent of the test center location and they will have to take the same test whether they are in city A or city B.

It is thus advised to candidates appearing for IELTS to focus purely in test preparation rather than believing in such nuances. The purpose of IELTS is to assess your English proficiency and communication capabilities. So, Cracking the IELTS Test Successfully only & only requires enhancing your existing English skills to the highest of levels and not indulging in baseless rumors.