PTE vs. IELTS Comparison: Which Exam to Take?

PTE vs. IELTS Comparison: Which Exam to Take?

Sometimes having a choice is the hardest thing on Earth. How do you make a decision, especially when it’s your future involved? Choosing between PTE vs. IELTS can be challenging. That’s why we’ve created this guide, and hopefully, it will simplify the issue for you.

In this article, you will see a thorough comparison between PTE and IELTS. So, after careful consideration, every student (or an immigration visa applicant) will be able to decide which test to take. This guide is as unbiased as possible because our team’s goal is to underline every test’s pros and cons.

👆 IELTS & PTE Definitions

Let’s start our comparison by learning some basic information about both tests. In this section, you’ll find out what these exams are and what types are available.

IELTS stands forthe International English Language Test. This test can help you work, study, and migrate to an English-speaking country. The list of these countries includes the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. The IELTS test will assess a person’s ability to speak, read, listen and write.

There are two types of test available:

  1. IELTS Academic
  2. IELTS General
IELTS AcademicIELTS General
SpeakingThe speaking section takes 11-14 minutes of a face-to-face interview.
ReadingIt takes 60 minutes and includes three long texts. The passages are taken from academic sources.It takes 60 minutes and consists of 3 sections with short texts in them. The passages are from newspapers and advertisements.
WritingIt takes 60 minutes. You will be given a chart or a diagram to discuss (around 150 words). Plus, you will have to write an essay (250 words).It will take 60 minutes as well. You will have to write a letter (150 words) and a short essay (around 250 words).
ListeningThe listening part takes around 30 minutes. It consists of 4 sections and ten questions that follow.

PTE stands for Pearson Test of English. Just like IELTS, the PTE exam is an English test for education and immigration. It also considers four aspects of language fluency: speaking, listening, writing, and reading. This test is accepted worldwide and even by such universities as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. The exam takes 3 hours and can be scheduled just 24 hours in advance.

There are two types of tests available depending on your reasons for taking them:

  1. PTE Academic:
    Many foreign universities accept this test. So, if you are thinking of studying abroad, consider taking PTE Academic. It is also acceptable for immigration purposes in countries like the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
  2. PTE General (Home):
    This test will be ideal for those who want to prove their English Level for relocation. If you’re going to work, live, and study in the UK, consider taking this test. Upon its completion, you will be granted a certificate with proof of your English proficiency.
Differences between PTE Academic and PTE General.

Below, we will elaborate on the differences between the exams and the distinction between general and academic. This way, you’ll be able to decide which one to take.

👨💻 PTE vs. IELTS: General

Both tests, PTE Home and IELTS General, test your English comprehension and fluency. You might be required to pass one if you plan to immigrate to an English-speaking country. However, it would help if you considered a lot of aspects before choosing which one to pick.

This table presents a PTE vs. IELTS General comparison:

IELTS GeneralPTE General
What is the duration?2 hours and 45 minutes.The duration depends on the Level. For instance, you have about 80 minutes for the A1 Level and 180 minutes for Level 5.
How much does it cost?Depends on the country. For example, in the United States, the price ranges from $245-$255.You should expect to pay around $60 for level A1 and $115 for level 5.
What are the differences between IELTS and PTE scores?IELTS uses a band scoring system. However, one needs to look at the conversion table to understand the difference between IELTS General and Academic.You get an overall score that reflects your speaking and enabling English skills. The range for the overall score is 10-90 points.
What are the sections?The test is divided into four sections: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.A writing section and an interview. The first part tests reading, writing, and listening.
How often can you take it?IELTS General Computer test is available almost every day of the year. Paper-based tests are only open four times per month on average.May, June, August, November, December.
Accepted byMajority of institutions around the world. Many universities accept levels 4 and 5.
What types of testing are available?Paper-Based and Computer-Based. Computer-Based Testing.

Another thing you need to know about the PTE General Test is that it is designed to reward the learning progress. There are several communication levels (from A1 to C2), which students are welcomed to test. Levels 1, 2, and 3 are used mainly for immigration purposes. Some universities accept levels 4 and 5 as proof of English level proficiency.

👩🎓 PTE vs. IELTS: Academic

Below, you will learn about the two tests required for those wishing to study abroad. Here are the essential facts about IELTS vs. PTE Academic:

IELTS AcademicPTE Academic
What is the duration?2 hours 45 minutesAround 3 hours
How much does it cost?$245 – $255$150-$210
What scoring system is used?0-910-90
What are the sections?1. Listening 2. Reading 3. Writing 4. SpeakingSpeaking and Writing Reading Listening
How often can you take it?Up to 48 times per monthsOver 360 days per year
Accepted byAccepted by the majority of universities around the worldAccepted by thousands of universities around the world
What types of testing are available?Paper-Based and Computer-BasedComputer-Based
Validity of the scoresTwo yearsTwo years

PTE vs. IELTS: Speaking

In essence, the goal of a test-taker is to produce coherent and correct speech on a given topic. Yet, there are numerous differences between the speaking parts of the exams:

  1. Listener: As you already know, the PTE test of English is a computer-based test. Even the speaking section is done via computer. That’s why many people believe that the face-to-face interview for IELTS is much easier. After all, it is better to talk to a human than a computer, especially if you get nervous or anxious. However, it depends on the student.
  2. Length: In IELTS, you only get about 13 minutes to convince the examiner that your English Level is on top. In the Pearson Test of English, you get about 40 minutes to complete the section.
  3. Content: While for IELTS, you need to be ready to speak about daily topics, discuss with the examiner on a given case, and a personal speech. For PTE, you will be asked to make a personal introduction, read aloud, repeat sentences, describe the image, retell the lecture and answer a question.

PTE vs. IELTS: Writing

Some might say that PTE does not have a writing section because it is united with the reading part. However, students still need to compose an essay at a given period. We will discuss some of the main aspects of both exams’ writing sections in the article.

Here is how the writing section looks like in IELTS and PTE:

  1. Length: In the PTE exam, you will have about 40 minutes for the writing section. In IELTS, you will have a little bit more time: an hour to compose two essays.
  2. Content: In IELTS, first, you will have to describe a graph or a diagram. Later on, you will write an essay on a given topic. In PTE, you will need to summarize a text in one sentence. Then, you should compose an essay.

PTE vs. IELTS: Reading

The sections that test reading are usually very similar. Students’ objective is to analyze texts and answer questions about the texts. Yet, there are some differences as well:

  1. Length: You will have 60 minutes to finish the IELTS reading section. In PTE, you will have 30-40 minutes to complete it.
  2. Content: IELTS reading section will consist of three academic passages and a list of questions regarding them. As for the PTE exam, this part will have five academic passages with questions that will test various skills. You will be asked to fill the gaps, rearrange paragraphs, and answer multiple-choice questions.

PTE vs. IELTS: Listening

As you might have imagined, there are some particularities of the listening areas of both exams:

  1. Length: In IELTS, the listening section is around 60 minutes. In PTE, almost the same as it takes approximately 45-57 minutes.
  2. Content: There are four sections in IELTS Academic devoted to listening. You will receive audio files with dialogues and monologues and a list of 40 questions. In PTE, the section tests listening, writing, and reading skills. A student has to complete a variety of small tasks, from filling in the blanks to multiple-choice questions.

📊 PTE vs. IELTS: Score Comparison

In the IELTS test, your English proficiency is measured against a band score. This score ranges from 0-9. The higher yours is, the better your English proficiency is. The test creators invented this scoring system. That’s why it can be confusing when you try to relate the scores of a different test and compare them.

However, we found a solution. In the table below, see the scores you could get for PTE and IELTS.

LevelIELTS Score EquivalencePTE Score Equivalence
Very Good8-8.578-85

PTE General/Home Scoring

As you already know, PTE General accesses four essential language skills: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Five levels measure the fluency of each test taker (from level 1 to level 5).

The written component of the PTE General test has scored a maximum of 75. The spoken part can be scored up to 25 points. Each of the four sections contributes to 25% of the overall score.

PTE General vs. PTE Academic expiration date.

PTE Academic Scoring

The overall score for PTE Academic demonstrates the performance on all test items and ranges from 10-90 points. The communicative skills that are measured are listening, reading, speaking, and writing.

The enabling skills scores demonstrate the performance in the section of writing and speaking. It shows grammar, oral fluency, spelling, pronunciation, vocabulary, and written words. Also, all scores for PTE Academic are machine scored.

IELTS Scoring

For IELTS, you will receive the overall band score and the score for each section. The final number is an average of the four areas, rounded to the nearest score.

As you know, the four sections are:

  1. Listening. The section consists of 40 questions, and each correct answer gives you one point.
  2. Reading. The section has 40 questions, and each correct answer awards one point to the test-taker as well.
  3. Writing. A band score is awarded for each of the four criteria:
  4. Completion of the tasks;
  5. Coherence;
  6. Vocabulary;
  7. Grammar.
  8. Speaking. A band score is given by the examiners based on:
  9. Vocabulary;
  10. Pronunciation;
  11. Grammar;
  12. Fluency.

PTE vs. IELTS: Which Is Easier?

By this time, you probably have an idea of what test will be more straightforward for you. However, we understand that the abundance of information can confuse anyone. That is why we’ve decided once again to demonstrate all the pros and cons of each test.

Keep reading to see the advantages and disadvantages of both tests!

PTE: Advantages & Disadvantages

Here you can learn all about the advantages and disadvantages of the PTE exam:

PTE AdvantagesPTE Disadvantages
You can get your PTE results within several days. So, if you are in a rush to submit your application, it might be the best solution for you.Not every university accepts this test. You have to check whether your college of choice allows it.
The writing section for PTE is shorter compared to IELTS and requires less knowledge related to the academic format.The listening part in the PTE exam is more challenging because it uses English lessons.
It’s entirely computer-based, which is beneficial when you’re anxious to talk face-to-face to an examiner.A computer conducts the speaking part automatically. If you have a heavy accent, the chances are high you will get a low score.

Overall, PTE is considered easier and faster than IELTS, yet your university of choice may not accept its results. Besides, the computer-based format of the exam can be a problem for you.

IELTS: Advantages & Disadvantages

Here we will tell you about some of the main pros and cons of the IELTS exam:

IELTS AdvantagesIELTS Disadvantages
It is prevalent and widely accepted in the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.The score reports are not detailed. Both you and the person accepting your results (whether an employer or university representative) won’t know any particularities.
It has an actual in-person interview for the speaking section. Even if you have a heavy accent, the examiner from your area will understand you.Some people prefer to speak over a mic because they are not comfortable with in-person interviews, yet it’s not an option. Besides, the speaking test can be organized another day.
There is an option to pass the test in paper format if your computer skills are not excellent.The writing part for the IELTS is much harder than any other test.

Thus, IELTS should be your primary choice for the colleges that don’t accept other test results. Yet, you should be ready to perfect your grammar and expand your vocabulary to pass. A nice way of keeping your language skills in shape would be checking out some free essay examples, as they offer a variety of topics and writing styles.

Thank you for reading till the end. We hope the article was helpful and you have decided which test to take. Share it with your peers and friends if they are facing a similar choice. Good luck with the application and the exam!

🔗 References