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IDP vs British Council: Which one should I choose while taking IELTS Test?

IDP vs British Council: Which one should I choose while taking IELTS Test?

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There are many such people who don’t know if they are actually different. Also, there is a common belief that certification through IDP is valid only in Australia and certification through BC is valid only in the UK.

So, which is best for IELTS, IDP or British Council? To be honest, there is no difference in writing the exam through British Council or IDP. The marking criteria are exactly the same in both. The test is valid in countries like Canada, Newzealand, UK, USA and many countries irrespective of whether the test is taken through IDP or BC.

History of IELTS

IELTS came into existence in 1980 and was initially known as the English language Testing Service. It was launched by Cambridge English Language Assessment (then known as UCLES) and the British Council. It had new ideas and was focused on the use of English as a communicative language and also ‘English for specific purposes’. The work items in the test were centred around use of English in real-world situations.

Initially, there was less number of test-takers (4,000 in 1981 rising to 10,000 in 1985). There were some practical difficulties in organizing the test. So a revision project was setup for redesigning the test. In order to evoke international participation in the redesign, the International Development Program of Australian Universities and Colleges (IDP), now known as IDP: IELTS Australia, joined Cambridge English Language Assessment and the British Council to form the international IELTS partnership.

Is there any difference between idp and British council ? You will find the answer as you read further.

Nature of the test

The questions in the test are framed by the Cambridge English Language Assessment. So there is absolutely no difference, whether you take the test from the British Council or IDP.

IELTS Examiners

Examiners for both IDP and British Council get trained in the same manner. The Listening and Reading tests are based on correct or wrong answers. You are evaluated based on the number of correct answers.

So, there is no special role for the examiner in these cases.

Whereas, the examiner plays a major role in the Writing and Speaking tests. Examiners for BC and IDP complete the same course and their marking criteria remains the same. Also, they are checked regularly on how they evaluate.

Accents used

Though BC is British and IDP is Australian, they remain indifferent when it comes to IELTS. The examiner could be from any country and use any accent. In the same way, the test taker can use any accent.

How do you decide between BC and IDP?


The test centre which is closer to the home needs to be chosen. You can report well in advance and concentrate on other important things rather than choosing some centre (of your preference) which is far away and end up getting exhausted on reaching the test centre.

Availability of equipment

Most test takers prefer using headphones for the Listening test because they can concentrate more. Check the availability of equipment in the test centre before going for it.

Availability of test date

Choose the centre based on the availability of dates. You must take the test when you are well prepared and confident. You should decide the date based on it. So choose a centre which offers you the date, you want.

Fee and format

The fee for the exam remains the same whether you register via IDP or BC. There is no difference in fee for both IDP and BC, whether it is Academic or General version and if it is pen-and-paper based or computerized.


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