IELTS VS PTE Exam Analysis

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When you are planning to go abroad for employment or higher studies, language proficiency is very important. It gives you the scope of academic opportunities as well as career advancements. When you decide to go abroad and want to prove your language proficiency then two major tests you will come across. They are the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Pearson Test of English (PTE).

IELTS and PTE are the most popular language proficiency tests among foreign immigrants. Selection of one test from the two is the first step for many which will help them to achieve their dreams. To determine which one is the best one needs to understand both the exams properly and compare them.

In this article, we aim to help those who are confused between IELTS vs PTE and provide a detailed exploration and analysis of both exams. We will help test takers get the knowledge and insights necessary to choose between the two exams.

IELTS is an exam which is established by the British Council, IDP Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment and it has been recognised as a benchmark for assessment of English proficiency. Whereas PTE is formulated by Pearson PLC and offers a technology-driven alternative to traditional language assessments. If you have plans to appear for either of them then you can take the help of Global Colliance. Global Colliance is one of the best education consultants in Delhi. It can provide the proper guidance needed.

As a test taker one needs to consider several factors which play an important role in the decision-making process. The difficulty level, accessibility to test centres, accuracy and reliability are some of the factors that need to be considered. In this article, we will study in depth about both exams and help test takers choose the best from IELTS and PTE. Before that let’s first understand the difference between IELTS and PTE with the help of its definition.

What is the IELTS Exam?

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is an English Proficiency Exam that evaluates an individual’s proficiency in the English language. It is recognised by the governments of various countries for academic studies and immigration purposes.

At present it is accepted by 10,000+ employers, universities, schools and immigration bodies throughout the world. A good IELTS score can get you entry to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

What is the PTE Exam?

The PTE Exam is one of the widely accepted English language proficiency tests for student applications and immigration visas throughout the world. PTE is the computer-based English Language proficiency test which assesses a candidate’s skill in writing, speaking, reading and listening to the English language.

The exam is administered by Pearson PLC- a leading British multinational publishing company. The test is taken on the computer for 3 hours of single sitting. The test result is declared within 5 business days of the test taken.

IELTS VS PTE: A Brief Comparison

IELTS and PTE both are among the widely accepted English proficiency tests throughout the world. So, it becomes very challenging for students and professionals to decide which test to opt for. There are various parameters that one can consider for deciding which test to opt for. These include test format, scoring system, availability of test centres etc. Let’s compare these basic parameters of both tests to understand this in a better way.

  1. Understanding Test Format 

    Those individuals who are planning to appear for English language proficiency tests need to understand the format of IELTS and PTE. Both exams serve the same purpose but still have a difference in structure and assessment methodologies. Let’s understand each of the exams.

    IELTS is a globally recognised assessment exam which has four main sections i.e. Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. The exam is undertaken for 2 hours and 45 minutes. The listening section has 4 recorded monologues and conversations. Test takers need to answer 40 questions based on audio content. This helps to assess their ability to comprehend spoken English.

    After the listening section candidate needs to proceed to a reading component in which the understanding of written English is assessed. The reading section has three passages which have a certain set of questions that need to be answered.

    After reading comes the writing section which is divided into Task 1 and Task 2. In Task 1 candidate needs to interpret the visual information. Whereas in Task 2 candidate needs to write an essay. Finally comes the speaking section of IELTS in which the candidate needs to face an interview. It is divided into three parts and assesses test takers’ vocabulary, grammar and overall communication.

    Now let’s come to the PTE exam part. PTE is a technology-driven approach to language assessment. The exam has three main sections: Speaking & Writing, Reading and Listening. The exam is concluded within a two-hour timeframe. 

    The speaking & writing section in PTE is a combination of both speaking and writing tasks. The tasks here include summarization of spoken text, answering the prompts and giving written responses. After this comes the reading section where the ability to comprehend written English is tested of an individual.

    The listening part of the PTE exam has an assessment of the candidate’s spoken English. This is done with the help of audio recordings. Test takers need to answer the questions based on the audio content.

    Both IELTS and PTE differ significantly in their format and structure. Understanding the difference is necessary for the test takers.

  2. Comparing the Scoring System 

    When we speak about the scoring system there is a difference between PTE and IELTS. Both the tests serve the same purpose but still differ in the scoring system. This can influence a lot the candidate’s preference and preparation strategies.

    IELTS has a band score system that ranges from 0 to 9. Each band represents a different level of proficiency. The test assesses 4 language skills which are listening, reading, writing and speaking. Each skill is given individual scoring and the final band score is the average of all.

    Whereas the PTE exam has a point-based scoring method. Here the score can range from 10 to 90. PTE also assess 4 skills like IELTS which is Speaking & Writing, Reading and Listening. The overall score is the some of each section.

    One of the major differences between the IELTS and PTE is the method of assessment. This is seen in the Speaking and Writing section. In the IELTS exam, the speaking section has face-to-face interviews and the writing section has essay writing, letter composition etc. But PTE Speaking and Writing are computer-based. Candidate has to speak into a microphone and type their responses.

  3. Difficulty Level 

    Both PTE and IELTS differ a bit when it comes to difficulty level. Both tests are for assessing your language proficiency at various levels from beginner to advanced. However, for some candidates, certain parts of the test become more challenging due to differences in the format and question types.

    Some candidates who have a fear of interaction can find the IELTS face-to-face speaking test a bit tough. Furthermore, writing test requires essay writing and letter composition. These may be found challenging for those who are not good at writing.

    PTE is an online exam so it may be difficult for those who are still not used to technology. The speaking section of the exam requires a candidate to record the response. This can be challenging for some in terms of pronunciation and fluency assessment.

  4. Global Acceptance 

    There is a widespread acceptance of both IELTS and PTE exams by employers, academic institutions, and immigration authorities. IELTS is a very trusted English proficiency test accepted globally by 11000+ organizations in more than 140 countries.

    PTE, too has widespread global recognition and acceptance since its inception. The test is taken at 300 test centres in more than 50 countries. PTE is accepted by thousands of universities, colleges, governments and employers globally.

    Both exams give test takers flexibility to choose from multiple test dates, locations etc. This helps the candidates to schedule the exam at their convenience.

Which Exam is for You?

Selecting one exam from IELTS and PTE depends on personal preference, test format as well as individual strengths and weaknesses. You shall consider the test format before opting for the test. If you like traditional old-school pen paper and interview format then IELTS is more suitable for you. But if you are tech savvy then you can opt for PTE which is an automated test.

Test content also is a factor that can be taken into consideration when selecting from both IELTS and PTE. If you are good at written communication then IELTS may be better for you. And if you are computer literate and want a variety of questions then PTE can be a good choice.

Both IELTS and PTE tests have multiple test locations and dates worldwide. There is a possibility that the test location may not be available in your area Or dates may not be comfortable for you. So do consider this while deciding which test to opt for.

The choice between both exams depends on your goals and preferences. Conduct a bit of research before making the final decision.


IELTS and PTE are both widely accepted English language proficiency tests. Both exams serve different purposes and cater to the diverse needs of candidates. Through the proper analysis, we conclude that both the tests have their own challenges and advantages and hence make them suitable choices for different individuals.

IELTS has been a very popular exam for a long time and is defined as the gold standard in English proficiency tests. It has a traditional approach where the test is offline pen-paper based and you have to give face-to-face speaking assessments. On the other hand, PTE works in full digital format. PTE is a fully computerised test that is very convenient for new-age tech-savvy people.

The scoring system of both tests also differs. IELTS has a band scoring system whereas PTE evaluates based on a scoring algorithm. Flexibility in tests and the availability of test centres also play a big role in the selection of the right test.

Finally, whether to opt for IELTS or PTE depends on your individual choice. You need to analyse properly before making a final decision. If you are looking for some help with the preparation then Global Colliance can help you. Global Colliance is among the leading study abroad consultants in Delhi

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