IELTS vs.PTE: Exam Format, Scoring Range, Acceptance

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IELTS vs.PTE: Exam Format, Scoring Range, Acceptance

IELTS vs PTE: English proficiency tests are often a prerequisite when you want to study at international universities or migrate to English-speaking countries. While IELTS, or International English Language Testing System, is one of the globally recognized English proficiency tests around the world, PTE, or Pearson Language Tests, is also equally capable of assessing and validating English language usage by non-native English speakers. In this blog, we will explore the differences between IELTS and PTE in depth.

IELTS vs PTE: An Overview

Refer to the table given below to go through the primary differences between the IELTS and PTE exams.

ParticularsPTE Academic testIELTS
Test TypesPTE Academic test – Single test having 3 parts: speaking and writing (together), listening and readingIELTS Academic and IELTS General Training.Includes Listening, Academic Reading, General Training Reading, Academic Writing, General Training, Writing, and Speaking.
Score ReportIncludes overall score (10 to 90 points), a score for each communicative skill (listening, reading, speaking, and writing: 10 to 90 points), and a score for each of the enabling skills.The overall band score (0-9) is the average of the scores assigned to each of the sections: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
Overall ScoreThe overall score is not an average calculation of the communicative scores.Average of the 4 sections scores, rounded to the nearest whole or half band
Scoring AccuracyAutomated scoring against the Global Scale of English (Thermometer-style scale)Human assessment (subject to manual errors)
Test FairnessHighMedium to High
ResultAvailable within five business daysIELTS Paper test: Test Report Form available 13 days after your test
IELTS Computer test: Results available in 3 to 5 days after your test
Speaking TestYou speak into a microphoneFace-to-face speaking test with an examiner
Test AuthorityPearson PLCBritish Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English.
Global AcceptanceSelect universities and governments but popular in many countries around the world.A wider range of acceptance. More universities and governments worldwide enlist this language test on their website.

IELTS Academic vs PTE Academic

The IELTS Academic Training is suitable for those candidates who want to study in English-speaking higher education institutes or universities in countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. It is also applicable to those candidates who are seeking professional registration in English-speaking countries. 

PTE Academic must be taken by the students who wish to seek higher education in English-speaking institutes or universities as well as for immigration purposes. PTE Academic is accepted in countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 

IELTS General vs PTE General

IELTS General Training shall be opted by the students who wish to study at the secondary level or study below degree level at an English-speaking school or institute. It is also applicable for those candidates who plan to pursue vocational training or migrate for work to countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. 

PTE General Test assesses the level of English proficiency and tracks the progress as well as determines any weaknesses while speaking English. While this test is not suitable for immigration purposes, it is applicable for those who wish to learn English or in some cases, for work purposes. PTE General is accepted for higher education and work purposes in countries like Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Switzerland, Greece, Spain and Poland. 

IELTS vs PTE: Exam Format 2024

The next point of distinction in our discussion of IELTS vs PTE is based on the format of both tests. There is a slight differentiation in the format between IELTS and PTE. The format of IELTS consists of 4 sections :

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Speaking

The format of PTE consists of 3 sections :

  • Speaking and Writing ( Together)
  • Listening
  • Reading

IELTS Vs PTE: Reading Section

In the case of the IELTS Exam, the reading section comprises 40 questions. These questions are designed to test the candidate’s aptitude for identifying the main idea and gist of the text, understanding the logical arguments and recognising the author’s attitude and opinions. The total duration for the IELTS Reading Section is 60 minutes. 

In PTE, the reading section consists of a total of 15 to 20 questions which tests the candidate’s independent and integrated skills. Under the reading section, the candidate will attempt a variety of tasks such as MCQs, filling in the blanks and re-ordering the paragraphs. Also, under PTE Academic, one of the tasks assesses writing skills.  The duration for the PTE reading section is 32- 40 minutes.

IELTS Vs PTE: Listening Section

In our debate of IELTS vs PTE, let us now go through various insights of the listening section. The listening section comprises 40 questions which are based on 4 recordings. These recordings are of various types such as a monologue and a dialogue. Essentially there are 4 recordings with 10 questions each. The duration of the IELTS Listening Section is 30 minutes. 

The PTE exam’s listening section comprises 8 question types or 8 subsections that test at least two skills. Each section may comprise 2-3 questions. The subsections of this section include summarization of the text, MCQs, Dictation and Fill in the Blanks. The duration of the PTE Listening Section is 45 – 57 minutes. 

IELTS Vs PTE: Writing Section

The writing section comprises 40 questions that have distinctly different types of tasks. The candidates will be required to infer details from a graph or a chart or write an essay in response to an argument or a problem. Furthermore, the candidates may also be required to write a letter requesting information or explaining a situation. The duration of the IELTS Writing Section is 60 minutes. 

In the case of the PTE Exam, the writing and speaking sections are combined. It consists of 8 subsections which may range from personal introduction, essay, read aloud, repetition of sentence and summarization of the written text. The speaking section tests the candidate’s ability to speak proper English in an academic environment. The writing section tests the candidate’s ability to write responses in proper academic English along with proper grammar and spelling. The duration of the PTE Writing and Speaking is 77-93 minutes. 

IELTS Vs PTE: Speaking Section

The speaking section comprises 3 sub-sections with a total of 11-17 questions. Each subsection may take up to 4-5 minutes. While the first section focuses on the personal life and interview of the candidate, the last two sections consist of the candidate speaking about a topic from a task card and being questioned on the same.  The duration of the IELTS Speaking section is 11 – 14 minutes. It is very important to note that in the case of the PTE Exam, the Speaking Section is taken on the same day as the other sections. While in the IELTS exam, the speaking section is taken on the same day.

IELTS vs PTE – Duration

The IELTS Exam is roughly 170 minutes or 2 hours and 45 minutes. The section-wise duration for the IELTS exam is as follows :

  • Listening Section – 30 minutes
  • Reading Section – 60 minutes
  • Writing Section – 60 minutes
  • Speaking Section – 11 – 14 minutes. 

The duration for the PTE exam is 191 minutes or 3 hours whereas the sections wise duration for the PTE exam is as follows :

  • Writing and Speaking Section ( Together ) – 77 to 93 minutes
  • Listening Section – 45 to 57 minutes
  • Reading Section – 32 to 40 minutes 

IELTS vs PTE – Scoring Range

The scoring range is a major pointer to elaborate upon in our discussion of IELTS vs PTE. The scoring range for the IELTS Exam is between band 1 to band 9. It is given for each section and the individual scores are rounded up to calculate the final band score. Based on the scoring, the candidate’s skill level may range from an expert user to a non-user. 

The score range of the PTE Exam is between 10 to 90 and it is automated in nature. It is of two types, i.e., partial credit and correct or incorrect. In the case of partial credit, points will be deducted for wrong answers and in the case of correct or incorrect, wrong answers do not result in loss of points. Based on the scoring, the candidate’s skills level may range from being capable of interaction to being able to speak and comprehend with ease. In the following table, you can find a score comparison between IELTS and PTE :

Very Good83-858.5
Very Good74-848

IELTS Vs PTE: Overall Score

PTE Academic Overall ScoreIELTS Overall Score
The overall score is not an average calculation of the communicative scores.Average of the 4 sections scores, rounded to the nearest whole or half band
10 to 90 points, a score for each communicative skill, and a score for each of the enabling skills.0 to 9, in 0.5 band increments

Test Fairness: IELTS vs PTE

Refer to the data given below to go through the fairness criteria of the IELTS and PTE exams.

IELTS Fairness

  • In the simulated real-world scenario, IELTS test participants are encouraged to respond.
  • Test takers converse with real humans, not computers.
  • You get a task grade from specialized human examiners.

PTE Fairness

  • PTE has created its proprietary automated software for PTE evaluation.
  • Because no one is evaluating their performance as they try to answer, test-takers feel less stressed or uncomfortable.
  • The formats of the questions are typical; therefore, there is no room for human bias in the scoring.

IELTS vs PTE – Results

For the IELTS exam, candidates can expect the results of the computer-based test online 2 to 5 days after the examination. In the case of the paper-based test, the candidate can expect the test results online after 13 calendar days of the test date. Those who will appear for the PTE exam will receive the results online within 5 business days. The candidates will be notified about the arrival of their results and they can be accessed through their online registered account.

Which is Cheaper for Indians: IELTS or PTE?

Both tests are almost the same, however, prices could vary depending on your country.  Here’s what PTE and IELTS cost in India:

PTE CostsIELTS Costs

IELTS vs PTE – Cancellation and Rescheduling

Candidates must cancel or reschedule their exam within 5 weeks of the test date. You will be charged the full fee unless they have a valid medical reason. Also, if the candidate successfully provides a medical certificate within 5 days of the test date, they are eligible to receive a refund after the deduction of the administration cost. 

In the case of the PTE Exam, the candidate must cancel or reschedule their exam before 14 full calendar days of the test date, in order to avail of free rescheduling. If the candidate reschedules the test 13 to 8  calendar days before the test date, they will be charged 50% of the test fee. If the test is rescheduled 7 calendar days before the test, there will be no refund and the candidate needs to pay a new test fee.

IELTS vs PTE: Acceptance

PTE Academic results are similarly recognized internationally, notably by esteemed organizations like Yale, INSEAD, and Harvard Business School. Additionally, it is accepted for all UK, Australian, and New Zealand immigration and student visa applications.

For study, work, or immigration visas, IELTS scores are accepted in more than 140 nations and with more than 10,000 organizations (including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and Canada).

IELTS Vs PTE: Advantages

Refer below to go through the advantages of the PTE and IELTS exams.


  • Accurate evaluation in a controlled, reliable, and secure setting.
  • Clearly stated test requirements.
  • language experts on the panel who are certified examiners and have a lot of relevant teaching experience
  • General exam themes, an understandable questionnaire structure, and an opportunity to respond to the majority of the questions fairly.
  • A pragmatic approach with a focus on everyday communication skills.
  • Two test options are available: academic and non-academic
  • One-on-one, face-to-face speaking tests are a rare occasion that acknowledges the human component of your communication ability rather than just grammar or answer substance.
  • We investigated diversity-sensitive test designs for applicants with a range of backgrounds and cultures.
  • To standardize considerable variations in writing, speaking, reading, and listening results, use a double marking method.
  • Senior examiner’s option for reevaluating.
  • The identity of test takers is strictly protected.
  • Test takers will never take the same test twice because of unique test versions. Online Results Verification Service for printing Test Report Forms on paper with increased security.

PTE Exam

  • Machine learning-based Unbiased Evaluation: An algorithm evaluates your English language proficiency by examining a large number of prior responses, removing any possibility of human bias.
  • Fast Result: PTE uses industry-leading scoring technology to provide results incredibly quickly—often within 48 hours after the test is taken in more than 350 test centres across more than 70 nations.
  • Unlimited Score Linking for Free: Without charging you more, PTE will gladly transmit your test results to as many organizations as you choose, which facilitates quick approval of study and immigration applications around the world.

Common Tips for the Exam

Before we conclude this blog on IELTS vs PTE, let us quickly go through the below-mentioned tips.

  • Practice multiple mock tests before attempting the final test. You should be familiar with the format and pattern of the test to avoid any confusion or delay. 
  • Keep an eye on the time limit for each section. You must have effective time management while attempting all the sections to avoid missing out on any questions. 
  • In the case of the speaking section, be careful with the pronunciation. Since English is a very tricky language, there are many odd and tricky pronunciations which may trouble you. Practice your pronunciation aloud and check the correct way in which certain words are spoken to ensure no fumbling on the test day.
  • While writing, we may often get confused with American and British English. Learn to differentiate between the two and stick to one English throughout the test. Also, ensure you have proper command over your grammar and spelling. 
  • While attempting the listening and reading section, ensure that you go through a list of English films and recordings to strengthen your listening skills. Read prescribed English books and practice your vocabulary every day. 
  • Lastly, immerse yourself in the English language by reading newspapers, magazines, journals, books and online articles.

So that was all about IELTS vs PTE. Hope the blog has answered your queries regarding the blog.

                                                              Related Blogs 
IELTS Syllabus & Section-Wise Exam PatternIELTS Marking Scheme IELTS Scoring System & GradingIELTS Sample Tests: PDF (Download), Exam Pattern
PTE Exam Pattern for Academic and GeneralWhy Choose the PTE Exam?How To Achieve 90 on PTE Academic Exam?


Is PTE easier than IELTS?

Possibility of scoring. Many test-takers who have taken both exams agree that the PTE Academic is comparatively simpler than the IELTS.

Is PTE more expensive than IELTS?

PTE costs 15,900 INR (194 USD), compared to 16,250 INR (198 USD) for IELTS. Acceptance rates for IELTS and PTE: The IELTS has a higher acceptance rate than PTE because to its early inception in 1989. IELTS scores are accepted by more than 11,000 institutions in 140 countries.

Does Canada accept PTE?

PTE is indeed recognized in Canada. The majority of universities and colleges accept PTE results as proof of English language proficiency. The Pearson Test of English (PTE) will be accepted by IRCC for Canada visa applications starting in 2023.

Visit the Leverage Live page of Leverage edu or contact our study abroad experts at 1800-57-2000 to strengthen your scores and application to secure your spot in your dream college. 

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