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PTE vs IELTS – Comparison and Differences

PTE vs IELTS - Comparison and Differences

PTE vs IELTS - Comparison and Differences

PTE vs IELTS – To pursue graduate programs abroad, it is usually necessary to take an English language proficiency test. Two of the most popular options are the IELTS and PTE Academic tests. The primary difference between these tests is that IELTS offers both paper-based and computer-delivered exams, while PTE only provides a computer-based test that is evaluated by a machine.

The PTE, or Pearson Test of English, evaluates reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills through a computer-based test. It is administered by the PLC Group. On the other hand, the IELTS is a standardized test that measures English language proficiency on a scale of 0-9 for academic and immigration purposes.

This article will provide a detailed comparison of the differences between PTE Academic and IELTS.

We have listed the main differences between PTE Academic and IELTS in the table below.

FactorsPTE Academic testIELTS
Test Types & FormatTwo types: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.It includes Reading (Academic & General training), Listening, Writing (Academic & General training), and Speaking.Two types: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It includes Reading (Academic & General training), Listening, Writing (Academic & General training), and Speaking.
Scoring PatternThe score range of the PTE Academic test is 10 – 90 points. It includes communicative skills and a score for each enabling skill.The band score (0-9) will be assigned to each of the modules: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.
Test FeeINR 15,900 (USD $194)INR 16,250 (USD $198)
Test Results and ValidityAvailable within 5 working days. The validity of PTE scores is for 2 yearsThe results will be available after 13 days. The IELTS score validity is for 2 years.
Assessment criteriaAccepted by over 3,000 institutions, including Harvard Business School, INSEAD.IELTS scores will depend on candidates’ performance on each module – Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. 
Specifically, speaking and writing scores will be measured based on the band descriptors,
Frequency of the testPTE measures communicative skills (Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing) and six enabling skills (Pronunciation, Grammar, Vocabulary, Oral Fluency, Written discourse, and spelling.)IELTS Academic: schedules for 48 days in a year
IELTS General Training: 24 fixed days in a year
Global AcceptancePTE Academic consists of three parts – Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing (combined).Accepted by over 11,500 organizations in 140+ countries, including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Canada.

8 Major Differences Between PTE Academic Test and IELTS

PTE vs IELTS - Comparison and Differences

1. Test type & Format

The IELTS exam evaluates your English language skills in four areas: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. There are two types of IELTS tests: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The total duration of the IELTS exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

On the other hand, the PTE exam assesses your English proficiency through integrated tasks that combine speaking, listening, writing, reading, or writing and reading. There are two types of PTE tests: PTE Academic and PTE General. The PTE exam lasts for 2 hours and 15 minutes.

 PTE Academic TestIELTS
ListeningTwo writing tasks have to be completed in 60 minutes. In task 1, students need to describe a given graph, table diagram, or chart.Candidates will be given four recordings and need to answer 40 questions in 30 minutes.
ReadingStudents need to complete objective exercises such as MCQs, filling up blanks, and sequencing paragraphs of text in 32 to 40 minutes.In this section, candidates will be given three long texts and need to answer 40 questions in 30 minutes.
SpeakingThese two sections are combined in PTE and carried out in 77 to 93 minutes. Test takers need to tackle diverse tasks such as reading aloud, describing images, summarising essays, and essay writing. Speaking consists of three parts: Introduction and Interview, Individual long-turn test, and Discussion. It extends to 15 minutes.
WritingTwo writing tasks have to be completed in 60 minutes. In task 1, students need to describe a given graph, table diagram, or charts.

2. Scoring Pattern

In the IELTS exam, scores are given on a band scale of 0 to 9. The highest possible score is 9, and most universities and institutions require a minimum score of 6.5 to 7.5.

The PTE exam, on the other hand, is scored on a scale of 10 to 90 points, with 90 being the highest possible score. The minimum score range required for admission to most universities is between 65 and 73.


3. Test Fee

The registration fees for both the IELTS and PTE exams vary depending on the location. In Australia, both exams cost AUD$ 410 (equivalent to INR 33,592). In India, the IELTS exam fee is INR 16,250, while the PTE exam fee is INR 15,900.

If you need to cancel or reschedule the exam, there will be an additional fee to pay.

4. Test Results and Validity

The results of the IELTS exam will be available online after 13 days, and they will remain accessible for 28 days from the date of release. Regardless of whether you took the Academic or General Training version, PTE vs IELTS your IELTS score will be valid for 2 years. You can take the exam multiple times, but it’s advisable to leave a few months between tests to prepare properly and achieve better results.

Since the PTE exam is computerized, the results are usually released within 5 business days, and sometimes even within 2 days. PTE scores are also valid for 2 years, but they will not be available on the official PTE website after that duration. Both IELTS vs PTE scores are valid for Australian migration purposes.

5. Assessment Criteria

In the IELTS exam, the candidate’s performance is evaluated based on a band score ranging from 0 to 9. Each band score corresponds to a specific skill level. For instance, those who obtain a band score of 9 are considered expert users, while those who score a band 7 are considered good users.

On the other hand, the PTE exam assesses the candidate’s communication skills along with six enabling skills: Pronunciation, Grammar, Vocabulary, Oral Fluency, Written discourse, and Spelling.

6. Frequency of the Test

The IELTS General Training test is offered on 24 fixed dates annually, while the IELTS Academic test is conducted on 48 dates in a year. IELTS test centers can be found in 140 countries worldwide. PTE tests are administered throughout the year in 50 countries, subject to the availability of test centers selected by the candidates.

7. Global Acceptance

The IELTS scores are recognized by more than 11,500 organizations in over 140 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada. It is endorsed by all major immigration authorities for visa applications and migration purposes.

PTE Academic scores are accepted by over 3,000 institutions, including Harvard Business School, INSEAD, Oxford University, and Yale. It is also accepted for visa applications by the Australian, UK, and New Zealand governments.

8. Difficulty Level of the Test

Both IELTS and PTE present their own unique difficulties and challenges that require different approaches to overcome. IELTS offers both paper-based and computer-based testing options, whereas PTE is strictly computer-based. IELTS includes longer tasks, while PTE consists of 20 shorter tasks. However, a solid understanding of the format and a strong foundation in English language skills are crucial to achieving good results in both tests.

PTE vs IELTS – Which one is easier?

The choice between IELTS vs PTE depends on various factors such as the test taker’s personality, English proficiency, and skills. If the candidate is comfortable speaking in front of an examiner, then an IELTS speaking test can be a good option. However, if the candidate is not comfortable with face-to-face speaking, then PTE can be a better choice as the candidate speaks through a microphone and the computer records the audio. Nevertheless, a candidate’s PTE speaking score might get affected if they have a sore throat or a common cold, which is something to consider.

For those who are accustomed to writing with a pen, IELTS could be a good option as they can match their speed and timing to achieve a good band score. Conversely, PTE may be a more comfortable choice for those who prefer typing on a computer over handwriting. To determine which test is more suitable, it is recommended to attempt practice tests in both IELTS vs PTE. However, the key to better performance in either test is to have good English language skills and to practice consistently.


Is PTE easier than IELTS?

Both the PTE and IELTS exams assess fundamental English language skills such as Listening, Writing, Speaking, and Reading. Neither of the exams is easier than the other as they have different exam modes, patterns, and question types.

Which is better IELTS and PTE?

IELTS is recognized by more than 11,500 organizations in over 140 countries for purposes such as university admissions, visa categories, and permanent residency. PTE Academic is accepted by numerous institutions worldwide for study applications and is also required for all Australian student visa and migration applications.

What is IELTS 7 equal to PTE?

A PTE Academic score of 66.3 is equivalent to an IELTS band score of 7.

Is Canada accept PTE?

Most universities and colleges in Canada accept PTE scores. Additionally, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have announced that PTE scores are accepted for Canadian visa applications.

Which topic is hardest in PTE?

Based on the analysis of 100 randomly selected PTE test results, the most challenging section was found to be reading, followed by writing.


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