“As if deciding to take IELTS wasn’t big enough! Now there is the IDP and British Council to choose from!” Thoughts like this hover around almost everyone who is gearing up for IELTS. To make matters worse, a good number of people actually believe that the exam is different at each of these organizations. Is there any difference between the IDP and British council? What is the deal all about? Let’s find out!

Common Misconceptions about IDP and British Council:

A surprising number of people strongly believe that the testing system is widely different in IDP than in the British Council.

For instance, they feel:

  • IDP is more lenient in marking.
  • The people who mark your exam papers are different.
  • You need to register with IDP only if you are planning to go to Australia; while the British Council is for the U.K and U.S.

So What is the Truth?

The truth is very simple. Both the IDP and British Council, along with Cambridge English Language Assessment own IELTS. Cambridge English Language Assessment compiles the test and the IDP and British Council conduct it.

IDP is no more lenient in marking than the British Council because they follow the same marking system.

IDP vs British Council – Which One to Choose?

The first thing to keep in mind is that IDP and British Council are joint owners of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). It does not make any difference whatsoever, whether you choose IDP or British Council to register with.

What is the British Council?

The British Council is an organisation engaged in promoting the English language. In India, the British Council offers IELTS for UKVI, academic, general etc. It is an official IELTS test centre where aspirants can book their IELTS test dates online.

What is IDP?

International Development Program or IDP is an educational organisation engaged in student placements in New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, UK, Australia and the USA.

How to Choose Between IDP IELTS and British Council?

Every year lakhs of people appear for the popular English language test, some with the aim of higher studies abroad, some are interested in immigration. Many of those aspirants go through this dilemma of choosing between the International Development Program and the British Council.

Content-wise there is no difference between IDP and British Council. However, in terms of infrastructure, there is a minor disparity; the International Development Program has more centres all over India than the British Council. As such, it has more test dates and more centres for the computer-delivered tests too.

Keep the Following Points in Mind while Choosing:

You should pick a centre that is not far from your home. Be it the International Development Program or the British Council.  Remember that your reading, listening and writing tests are 2 hours and 40 minutes collectively. You must arrive at your centre on time and in a hassle-free state.

Choose a centre that has the option to use headphones for listening. It is easier to concentrate on the audio clip through headphones rather than speakers.

Pick a test date only when your language skills are at the peak. Do not get carried away by the mass and choose only what feels right to you.

Who Marks the IELTS Papers in IDP and British Council?

Both IDP and British Council employ skilled examiners to mark your popular English language test, IELTS papers. Their credentials are equal and they follow the same marking system. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will be marked differently in both organizations.

Is the Marking System Different?

The marking system in IDP is in no way different than the British Council. Neither is more lenient than the other. 

Your band depends on a lot of factors. Namely:

  • Your preparation level.
  • The guidance you are getting.
  • The day of the exam.
  • How the exam was.
  • The centre you chose.

As you know, your band will speak of the quality of your preparation. If you are thoroughly prepared, you will achieve a good score. There is no doubt over it.

External factors like the type of question, the day of the exam or the ambience of your centre are secondary. Always prepare well before taking the test and choose a convention centre that will not cause any distractions.

It is advisable that to achieve your desired band in the popular English language test, you must work hard and look for personal mentorship programs. With proper guidance, accurate course content and a well-developed study plan, a good band score is easily achievable.

Is the Exam Fee Different?

For both the IDP and British council the fee is the same, 13,250 INR. In fact, it is the same for both the paper-based IELTS test and computer-delivered tests.


The bottom line is, there is no difference between IDP and the British Council. You can choose either according to your convenience and rest assured that there will not be any discrepancies in terms of the quality of the test.

So, how are you gearing up for the exam preparations? You can look for the best IELTS coaching provider and choose from the best of the courses available to take your preparation a step ahead.

About the Author

Indulekha Prabha

My name is Indulekha Prabha. I am an English teacher and a content writer by profession. When I'm not working you can find me writing fiction, reading poetry and painting.

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