17th Apr 2024
Afia Azmi

PTE vs IELTS: Understanding the Key Differences

PTE or Pearson Test of English is a computer-based exam of English language proficiency intended to evaluate non-native English speakers' speaking, writing, reading, and listening abilities. It is for students in preparation for further education or employment in an English-speaking setting. Governments, universities, and colleges worldwide recognize PTE as evidence of English language competency.

The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, is a standardized test that assesses non-native English speakers' language skills in situations where English is the major language of communication, such as in the workplace or during study. The four language abilities evaluated on the IELTS are speaking, reading, writing, and listening. More than 10,000 entities globally accept it, including companies, universities, colleges, immigration agencies, and professional associations.

Exploring the Formats: PTE vs IELTS

PTE (Pearson Test of English)

The PTE Exam lasts for 3 hours with a 10-minute break that can be taken between reading and listening portions.

Breakdown of the structure:

  1. Speaking & Writing (77 - 93 minutes):

It includes a personal introduction, Reading sentences Aloud, repeating the given sentences, Describing a certain image, Answering short questions, etc.

  1. Reading (32 - 40 minutes):

Multiple-choice Questions, with combinations of choosing a single answer and choosing multiple answers, re-ordering the paragraphs, and filling in the blanks.

  1. Listening (45 - 57 minutes):

Summarizing spoken texts, filling in the blanks, highlighting correct summaries, highlighting incorrect words, selecting missing words, etc.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

The exam lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes in total. There is no break during this exam.

Breakdown of the structure:

  1. Listening (30 minutes): It has 40 questions in total in the form of 4 recorded monologues and conversations, the recordings which are played only once, answering questions as you listen.

  2. Reading (60 minutes): It also has 40 questions in total. You must read 3 long texts from books, journals, magazines and newspapers. Variety of question types, including multiple choice, matching and sentence completion

  3. Writing (60 minutes):

    • Task 1: Describe a graph, table, chart, or diagram (150 words)
    • Task 2: Write an essay in response to a point of view, argument, or problem (250 words)
  4. Speaking (11-14 minutes):

    • Part 1: Introduction and interview (4-5 minutes)
    • Part 2: Long turn – speak for 1-2 minutes on a topic (cue card)
    • Part 3: Discussion (4-5 minutes)
Understanding the Difference

IELTS allows only one skill retake. You can only retake one of the four IELTS test components - speaking, writing, listening, or reading. If you do not pass the PTE exam, you must schedule, pay, and take the entire exam again. In contrast to PTE, IELTS gives you a fair second chance to obtain your required score.

Over 12,000 organizations accept your IELTS scores. However, only a few thousand organizations and academic institutions worldwide accept your PTE results. Put it succinctly, IELTS is recognized by more employers, academic institutions, professional associations, and immigration departments than PTE Academic.

Exam Fees and University Acceptance

The PTE exam fee costs between USD150 and USD250, although the exact amount varies by country of origin and testing facility. Thousands of colleges, universities, and governments worldwide - including those in the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK - accept the exam.

However, the IELTS exam fee varies, often ranging from USD215 to USD250, depending on the country of origin and test centre. More than 10,000 organisations worldwide recognise the IELTS exam, including colleges, universities, governments, and professional associations.

Both tests are commonly accepted for study, employment, and immigration; nonetheless, the decision between them frequently depends on personal preferences and the particular needs of the school or organisation you are applying to.

Which Exam is easier?

This question varies depending on the students and how well they are prepared. The PTE exam is computer-based, while the IELTS exam is taken by a real-life assessor. Students find the PTE exam more user-friendly because of its automated scoring system. However, the face-to-face speaking portion of the IELTS exam might be difficult for certain people who are uncomfortable speaking in public or conversing with an examiner in real-time.

Which Exam should you take?

The decision between PTE and IELTS is based on personal preference. For people who are accustomed to paper exam formats, IELTS might be a better option, whereas PTE is more appropriate for those who are accustomed to digital interfaces. The PTE Speaking portion rigorously grades pronunciation, so if you have a good accent, you should take the IELTS instead. Expert consultation might help you make an informed choice.

Choosing the correct English proficiency test can be difficult for many students and professionals who desire to further their education or careers in English-speaking nations. Several aspects to consider include the test format, scoring system, availability of test centers, and the test's recognition by other institutions.

Both tests provide unique challenges. IELTS can be challenging, especially in writing, where higher literary standards are demanded. The Academic Reading component of IELTS may include more complicated texts than the General Training Reading test. PTE may appear to be slightly more straightforward for students because it focuses on application rather than core concepts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which test is easier will rely on each person's readiness level and personal preferences. Because of its computerised scoring approach, some people believe PTE to be more user-friendly than IELTS, while others can find the face-to-face speaking portion challenging.

Since the PTE and IELTS have different scoring schemes, it is inaccurate to compare test results directly. The minimal scores needed for admission or immigration may vary depending on the institution or organisation.

For immigration-related purposes, including applications for PR (Permanent Residency), both IELTS and PTE are commonly recognised. The decision between the two exams is frequently influenced by individual preferences, test format familiarity, and the particular needs of the nation or immigration office.

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