Most English-speaking nations require a standard, accepted international test result proving that the visa applicant is proficient in English. IELTS vs PTE are two such tests. Many countries accept these tests as standards for testing English proficiency. For instance, IELTS is a mandatory test for a Canada PR visa process, and the express entry Canada immigration process needs specific scores. It is also accepted as proof of English proficiency for immigration visas to Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
On the other hand, PTE scores are accepted for Canada Student visas. Apart from this, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, among many other countries, accept these test results for their visa processing. Essentially, PTE is accepted by more universities when compared to IELTS.
What are IELTS and PTE?
The full form of IELTS is International English Language Proficiency Testing System. It is recognized in 140 countries and is used for general and academic testing. Over 400 universities accept the IELTS score. Moreover, IELTS tests English proficiency in listening, reading, writing, and speaking English.
PTE stands for Pearson Test of English and is equally popular. While Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom accept IELTS for immigrant visas, the United States and Ireland accept these scores for student visas. IELTS is mandatory, especially for the Canada PR visa process and express entry Canada immigration process.
PTE has three formats of tests – academic tests, general tests, and tests for young learners. PTE is a popular English proficiency test for several countries for their visa processing. Examples are Australia, Singapore, Russia, Spain, Germany, France, Japan, etc. PTE, however, is not accepted as valid for Canada immigration services.
IELTS vs PTE: The Easier Exam to Clear
From an academic standpoint, both IELTS and PTE are comparable. Neither is set to be tougher than the other. However, given the different IELTS and PTE test sections, people can find one easier than the other.
Both the exams test writing, reading, listening, and speaking skills. IELTS has a fixed number of questions for each, while PTE takes an adaptive testing approach. This means the number of questions differs from one test taken to another depending on their answer.
Several surveys have shown that the section on written English is the toughest in IELTS. For PTE, the spoken English section is the toughest. So, which of these exams is easier will depend on your English language strengths?
Another aspect to consider when choosing between IELTS and PTE is the type of test you prefer. If you prefer a standard fixed marks test, IELTS is better. If you prefer your understanding to be tested and rewarded, then PTE is easier.
Remember that both IELTS and PTE are demanding. They need the test taker to have a command of the English language and be proficient both in spoken and written aspects. Neither of the tests rewards sub-par English skills.
The Exam Structure of IELTS and PTE
The IELTS exam has four sections and the time to complete the exam is two hours and 45 minutes. In the exam, the listening section is allocated 30 minutes, writing is allocated 60 minutes, reading is allocated 60 minutes, and speaking is allocated between 11-14 minutes. There will be no breaks between these sections.
PTE exam has four sections – Speaking and Writing, Reading, and Listening. The Speaking and Writing section is for 54 to 67 minutes and includes questions the test taker needs to write and read aloud. The Reading section is for 29-30 minutes with multiple-choice questions. The listening section is for 30-43 minutes, and the test taker needs to record their answers with a microphone.
How to Know Which Exam is Easier for you, IELTS or PTE?
To help choose the best test for you, let’s look at the main differences between IELTS and PTE. Which exam is easier depends on how you prefer to be tested, and which test brings out your strengths in the English language?
If you are applying for Canadian immigration, you don’t have a choice as IELTS is the only exam accepted for the Canada immigration service process. However, if you are applying for a student visa, it is key to understand the differences between IELTS and PTE and choose which you will find easier to clear.
Comparison Table for IELTS vs PTE
- Can be a paper-based or computer-delivered test
- IELTS tests English speaking skills through face-to-face interaction with an expert, in person
- IELTS assesses reading, writing, and speaking, listening separately
- IELTS does not have a time limit per question, and the test taker can come back and correct an answer
- IELTS questions are generally long and deep
- IELTS grades a candidate between Extremely Limited to an Expert. The scores for IELTS are between 0.4 and 9
- Is a computer-delivered test
- PTE needs the exam taker to speak into a microphone for the computer and experts to evaluate later
- PTE mixes up reading, writing, listening, and speaking through the exam
- PTE has time limits per question and does not allow the test taker to go back once an answer is submitted
- PTE questions are short and simpler
- PTE also grades a candidate as Extremely Limited to Expert. The scores can be anywhere from 0 to 90
Whatever you choose as the easier option for you, practice is key. There are abundant mock tests online that you can take for both IELTS and PTE exams. Set time aside every day to get familiar with questions and sit through the entire amount of time.
It is also advisable to read relevant books to improve vocabulary before attempting the exam. Since IELTS and PTE have a spoken English component, record yourself speaking in English and analyze your mistakes.
Another tip is to practice with someone who can correct your spoken English. Pairing with another person will give you real-time feedback that you can work on. Watch English movies and documentaries for listening skills, preferably from the country you are seeking an immigration visa.