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PTE vs IELTS
Determining the best standardized English language test for non-native English speakers can be a challenging task. Two of the most popular ones are the Pearson Test of English (PTE) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This article provides an in-depth comparison of PTE and IELTS across different factors, aiming to help you make an informed decision.
What are PTE and IELTS?
The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) is a computer-based English language test designed to evaluate the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers who wish to study abroad or immigrate. The test measures four language skills: Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening, across three main sections.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a globally recognized English language proficiency test. It offers two versions: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training, depending on the purpose of the test-taker. The IELTS assesses candidates in Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
Detailed Comparison of PTE and IELTS
The following sections present a detailed comparison of PTE Academic and IELTS across various factors.
Test Type Details
|Paper-based or computer-based
|Single 3-hour session
|Listening, Reading, Writing: 2 hours 45 minutes; Speaking: 11-14 minutes (up to a week apart)
|0-9 bands in 0.5 increments
Cost for Indians
|Cost in INR (as of 2023)
|Approximately INR 13,300
|Approximately INR 14,000
|Many universities and for immigration purposes
|Most universities, immigration authorities, and professional bodies
|Faster results, unbiased scoring, single session testing
|Wider acceptance, face-to-face Speaking test, paper-based or computer-based option
Declaration of Results
|Within 5 business days
|Within 13 calendar days
|British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English
- Purpose: Both PTE Academic and IELTS are designed to test the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers.
- Skills Tested: Both evaluate the four main language skills: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.
- Acceptance: Both are widely accepted for study, work, and immigration purposes across the world.
- Validity: The test scores of both PTE Academic and IELTS are valid for two years.
5 Key Differences
- Test Format: PTE Academic is entirely computer-based and conducted in a single session, whereas IELTS offers both paper-based and computer-based tests, with the Speaking test possibly conducted on a different day.
- Scoring: PTE Academic uses an automated scoring system, ensuring unbiased results, while IELTS is scored by trained human raters.
- Speaking Test: In PTE Academic, the Speaking test is conducted by a computer, while IELTS offers a face-to-face Speaking test with a trained examiner.
- Result Declaration: PTE Academic typically releases results within five business days, while IELTS declares results within 13 calendar days.
- Cost: As of 2023, PTE Academic (approx. INR 13,300) is slightly cheaper than IELTS (approx. INR 14,000) for test-takers in India.
Here is a comparative table showing the score equivalence between PTE Academic and IELTS:
|IELTS Band Score
|29 or below
|5 or below
Preparation Tips for PTE Academic and IELTS
Preparing for either the PTE Academic or the IELTS test requires a focused and strategic approach. Here are some preparation tips for both exams:
|Understand the format
|Familiarize yourself with the test format and types of questions. Practice using sample questions available on the official PTE website.
|Thoroughly understand the test format. Practice using the free sample questions provided on the official IELTS website.
|Practice your skills
|Develop your skills in speaking, writing, listening, and reading. For speaking, focus on fluency and pronunciation. For writing, learn to write a variety of text types.
|Pay attention to all four skills. For writing, familiarize yourself with different types of essays and letters (for GT). For speaking, practice speaking on a wide range of topics.
|Improve your vocabulary
|Broaden your vocabulary and ensure you can use it correctly. It can help you in all sections of the test.
|Expand your vocabulary. Learn synonyms as IELTS often changes the wording of questions.
|Practice timed tests to improve your speed as PTE is a single session test.
|Work on your time management skills as IELTS requires you to manage your time well, especially in the Reading and Writing sections.
|Regular practice is key. Use online resources, practice tests, and preparatory books.
|Regular practice is crucial. Use preparatory books, online resources, and take practice tests.
|Take full-length mock tests to get a feel for the actual test and to evaluate your readiness.
|Mock tests are important. They help you understand the test under timed conditions.
|Review and learn
|Review your answers and learn from your mistakes. Seek feedback if possible.
|Review your answers, understand your mistakes, and learn from them.
|Keep yourself updated with the latest test tips and strategies from the official PTE website or trusted resources.
|Stay updated with the latest test strategies and tips from the official IELTS website or reliable resources.
|Test day preparation
|On the test day, ensure that you are well-rested and reach the test center ahead of time.
|On the day of the test, make sure to relax, get plenty of sleep, and arrive early at the test center.
Remember, the key to performing well in either of the tests is regular practice, understanding the test format, improving your English skills, and managing your time effectively.
The choice between PTE Academic and IELTS depends largely on your individual needs, comfort with the test format, timeline, and the specific requirements of the university or immigration authority. Both tests offer a robust measure of English language proficiency, each with its unique advantages. Ensure you research the specific requirements of your desired institution or immigration office before making a decision.
Unsure about the right test for immigration purposes?
Reach out to the top-rated Canadian Immigration Consultancy in Delhi/NCR for a complimentary guidance session.