What is the Difference between IDP and British Council?

 “As if deciding to take IELTS wasn’t big enough! Now there is IDP and British Council to choose from!” Thoughts like this...

Indulekha Prabha Written by Indulekha Prabha · 2 min read >
Difference between IDP and British Council

 “As if deciding to take IELTS wasn’t big enough! Now there is 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. So what is the real deal? 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 IDC than in the British Council.

For instance, they feel:

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

So what is the truth?

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

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

What to choose: IDP or British Council?

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.

How to choose between IDP or British?

Content-wise there is no difference between IDP and British Council. However, in terms of infrastructure, there is one-minute disparity: IDC has more centers all over India than the British Council. As such, it has more exam days and more centers for the computer-based tests too.

Keep the following points in mind while you are choosing:

  • You should pick a center that is not far from your home. Be it IDC or British Council. 
  • Remember that your Reading, Listening and Writing tests are 2 hours and 40 minutes collectively. You must arrive at your center on time and in a hassle-free state.
  • Choose a center that has the option to use headphone for listening. It is easier to concentrate on the audio clip through headphone rather than speakers.
  • Pick a 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 IDC and British Council employ skilled examiners to mark your IELTS papers. Their credentials are equal and they follow the same marking system. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will be marked differences in both organizations.

Is the marking system different?

The marking system in IDC 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 day of the exam
  • How the exam was
  • The center 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 ambiance of your center are secondary. Always prepare well before taking the test and choose a convention center, that will not cause any distractions.

Is the exam fee different?

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


The bottom line is, there is no difference between IDC 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.

Written by 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. Profile

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