The International English language Testing System, commonly known as IELTS, is a standardized test that measures English language proficiency. It is taken by the people who intend to study, work, train or migrate to a country where English is the language of communication. It is accepted in countries like UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA, and various other organizations all over the world.

IELTS test takers often wonder about which test to appear for: IELTS British council or IELTS IDP. Questions are often raised about which test is easier or which test should be preferred or which is best for IELTS.

IELTS was invented collectively by British council, IDP and University of Cambridge. Both IDP and British council are owners of IELTS along with University of Cambridge. The tests used at the British council and IDP are compiled by Cambridge English Language Assessment. Therefore the test one will get same test both in BC and IDP. In certain countries the in charge of IELTS exam is British Council and in some countries the in charge IDP and then in some countries both IDP and British council runs IELTS, that is where the confusion rises.  

Let’s first understand a little about IDP and British Council.

IDP

International Development Program (IDP) is an international education organization that offers students placement in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, UK and Canada. IDP was established in the year 1969 as Australian Asian Universities’ Cooperation Scheme. Later the name was changed to IDP (International Development Program) of Australian Universities and Colleges and School. IDP Education has successfully placed over 4,00,000 international students all over the world. More than 200 test locations in 50 countries are offered by IDP Education’s global network.

British Council

The British Council is an organization specializing in international educational opportunities. It was founded in UK by Her Majesty Government. The British Council centers are located in over 100 countries. The main aim of the organization is to promote a wider knowledge of the UK and the English language. It is a co-owner of IELTS and provides placement all over the world.

Difference between British Council and IDP

There is no difference between IDP and BC. When it comes to content of the test, it is same in both IDP and BC. The marking of the test as well as the examiners are same. The IELTS exam is same worldwide, it doesn’t matter if the test is supervised by the British council or IDP. It is often seen that people from different countries get same questions and topics.

  • Difficulty level:

IELTS is conducted by IDP and BC but they do not make the test. The tests used in IELTS are compiled by Cambridge English Language Assessment. The difficulty level of the test is same in both the tests. Some people say that scoring better score in IDP is easier than British Council but this is not possible as the tests in both are same. It is possible that the examiner who does the grading is different so the marking can be strict at some centers.

  • Marking:

The scoring of Reading and listening section is done clerically, i.e. the answer sheet is checked by following a key of right and wrong answers. Each right answer gives one point and the total score is calculated on the basis of number of right answers. The scoring of Writing and Speaking section is done by the examiner. The examiner follows the same marking criteria and same band score descriptors.

  • Examiners:

Examiners in both IDP and BC are trained in the same way. Same guidelines and criteria are followed by the examiners to score the answer sheets. All the examiners for IELTS undergo same training whether it is IDP or British Council.  

  • Accents:

IDP is Australian and British council is British but the range of accents used by the examiners can be wide. The examiner can be from any country so a wide range of accent is expected. The range of accents used can be: Australian, British or American.

How to choose: British Council or IDP?

  • Location of the test center. It is recommended that the test taker chooses a test centre that is close to their home. The total time for the test 2 hours and 40 minutes which can get exhausting so time and energy should not be wasted on travelling.
  • Test dates in IDP and British Council. The IELTS test is conducted a number of times throughout the year. The test should be taken when the candidate is fully prepared to take the test. IDP and BC centers have different dates. The candidate needs to decide which center offers the date that is more desirable to the candidate.