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Most English-speaking nations require a standard, accepted international test result proving that the visa applicant is proficient in English. PTE vs IELTS is 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.

An English Proficiency Test is a pre-requisite when planning to study abroad in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, or the UK. PTE and IELTS are the two most common tests aspirants can take before beginning their higher education. Which one should you choose before moving toward your dreams?

In this blog, we talk about the meaning and key differences between these two most popular tests.

PTE vs IELTS – Which Exam Should You Choose?

IELTS is a better choice if you prefer a fixed-marks test. PTE is easier if you prefer to be tested and rewarded for your understanding. PTE and IELTS are both demanding tests. It is important for the test taker to be proficient both in spoken and written English language.

What is the IELTS Exam Test?

What is IELTS Test

The IELTS full form is the 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. 

What is the PTE Exam Test?

What is PTE Exam

The PTE full form is the 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.

Is PTE Easier than IELTS ?

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 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.

A Comparative Study: PTE vs IELTS

Comparative Study on PTE Vs IELTS

Before deciding which test you should go forward with, it is necessary to understand the key differences between the two.

Parameter IELTS


Versions of Test It has two types: IELTS (Academic) and IELTS (General) fit for students and permanent residency, respectively. 

You can also opt for the IELTS Manual Test or IELTS Computer Test.

PTE-A is recommended for student applications and permanent residency visas, and others. 
Parts of the Test It has 4 parts: Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing.  It has 3 parts: Speaking and Writing (together), Reading and Listening.
Scoring The band score is from 0-9, spread across all 4 sections. The score ranges from 10-90 for each communication skill.
Overall Score The average score obtained in the four sections is rounded off to the nearest score at the band score. The overall score obtained is not an average.
Accuracy of Scores It is done both manually and by computers, depending upon your choice. Automated scoring against the Global Scale of English. 
Results The scores of the IELTS Manual are available after 13 days, whereas Computer Test is in 3-5 days business days. The result is available within 5 business days.
Speaking Test Takes place face-to-face in the presence of an examiner.  The audio has to be recorded in a microphone.
Owned by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. Pearson PLC
Universal Acceptance Accepted by 10,000+ universities all over the world. Accepted by 5,000+ universities worldwide by select universities and employers worldwide.

Both tests stand at the same point in terms of their difficulty. The writing section of IELTS is more challenging as compared to PTE. Besides, IELTS is recognized more than PTE worldwide because the same aspirants prefer the former over the latter. 

PTE vs IELTS: Test Types

IELTS (Academic)

The test duration is 2 hours and 45 minutes. Your speaking test can be scheduled within 7 days of you giving your reading, writing, and speaking test. 

Test Format Time Given

Tasks in the Test


(4 recordings)

30 minutes
  • MCQs
  • Sentence completion
  • Short-answer questions
  • Matching information
  • Diagram labelling

(3 passages)

60 minutes
  • MCQs
  • Sentence completion
  • Short-answer questions
  • Matching features and headings
  • Diagram label completion
  • Summary, note, table
  • Flow chart completion

(2 parts)

60 minutes

Part I: Identify information and trends in the graph, chart, table, or diagram, and its explanation.

Part II: Writing an essay on a given topic


(3 parts)

11-14 minutes

Part I: Introduction and interview

Part II: Talk about a particular topic

Part III: Discussion on the given topic in Part II

PTE (Academic)

The test duration is 3 hours and is completed in one go. You can even opt for a 10-minute short break.

Test Format

Time Given

Tasks in the Test

Speaking & Writing 77-93 minutes
  • Short-answer question
  • Text summarization
  • Sentence repetition
  • Describing images and re-telling a lecture
  • Essay writing (20 minutes)
Reading 32-40 minutes
  • Fill in the blanks
  • MCQs
  • Re-ordering paragraphs
  • Choose multiple answers
Listening 45-57 minutes
  • MCQs
  • Summarizing spoken text
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Highlighting incorrect words
  • Writing from dictation
  • Highlighting correct summary
  • Selecting the missed word

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.

The 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.


PTE or IELTS Which is Easy ?

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.  

Difference between IELTS and 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

Score Report: PTE Vs IELTS

How is PTE scored?

The PTE scoring is based on the Global Scale of English, which assigns scores to each answer. There is 1 point for each correct answer, whereas there is 0 for each incorrect answer. When answers are party correct, the partial score is allotted, less than the maximum awarded score. 

The test focuses on communicative skills like listening, reading, speaking, and writing and enabling skills like grammar, oral fluency, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary, and written discourse. 

How is IELTS scored?

Each section of IELTS is scored as per the sections in it.

  • Listening: Each question has 1 mark against it 
  • Reading: Each question has 1 mark against it. For incorrect responses, the score is 0.
  • Writing: An assessment criterion is used to give a band score for each of the 4 criteria. All criteria are equal, and an average score is taken out.
    • Task Achievement (for Task 1), Task Response (for Task 2)
    • Coherence and Cohesion
    • Lexical Resource
    • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Speaking: Assessment criteria are used to give a band score for each of the 4 criteria:
    • Fluency and Coherence
    • Lexical Resource
    • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
    • Pronunciation

PTE Vs IELTS Scoring

Skill Level PTE IELTS
Expert 89-90 9
Very Good 83-85 8.5
Very Good 74-84 8
Good 73-77 7.5
Good 64-72 7
Competent 58-63 6.5
Competent 50-57 6
Modest 42-49 5.5

PTE VS IELTS: Overall Scoring

PTE Academic Overall Score

IELTS Overall Score

The overall score in PTE is not the average calculation of communicative scores.  An average of 4 section scores rounded to the nearest whole or half band is considered for IELTS.
10-90 points for each score 0-9 score, in 0.5 band increments.

Accuracy of Scores in PTE and IELTS

The speaking and pronunciation scores of the PTE are not much accurate, whereas it is highly accurate in the case of the writing section. 

On the other hand, for IELTS, the writing section is highly scrutinized by experts. If you are dissatisfied with the scores, you can reapply for reassessment, whereas for PTE, you cannot. 

Test Fairness of PTE and IELTS

For PTE:

  • Automated AI-based assessment.
  • Less stress and anxiety as there is no judgment of one’s performance.
  • Typical question formats leave no room for bias.


  • Communication with people and not computers.
  • Specialized human examiners grade the tasks.
  • The test takes place in a real-life simulated environment.

Declaration of Results: PTE vs IELTS

IELTS & PTE - Declaration of Results

IELTS Paper Test: Test Report Form available 13 days after your test

IELTS Computer Test: Results available in 3 to 5 days after your test

PTE-A Results:  Within just 48 hours of taking the test

PTE Results: Within 2-5 days

Speaking Test: How does PTE differ from IELTS?

In the case of PTE, your voice is recorded in a microphone, whereas for IELTS, it is a face-to-face interview. This is the only key difference. It depends mostly on your comfort level: if you want to go ahead with a microphone or a human. 

Which is cheaper for Indians: PTE or IELTS?

Before making a decision, revisit your requirements first. On seeing the mentioned costs above, PTE seems more friendly to the pocket than IELTS.

TE Costs IELTS Costs
USD $160 USD $185
INR 13,300 INR 14,000

Test Authority

PTE & IELTS - Test Authority

Both the IELTS and PTE are run by credible institutions with many years of assessment expertise and experience.

PTE Academic: Run by Pearson PLC, the world’s leading British MNC for publishing and education.

Headquarters: London

IELTS: Jointly conducted by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English.

What is the Global Acceptance of PTE and IELTS?

PTE & IELTS - Global Acceptance

Both PTE and IELTS are globally recognized. However, you need to check what the university or the employer prefers to make the right decision. IELTS scores are accepted in more than 140 countries, whereas PTE scores are accepted in 5000 countries. Check your criteria and requirement before choosing the one. 

What are the Key Advantages of IELTS Test ?

  • Clear and well-defined test criteria.
  • Accurate assessments and two preferences, academic and non-academic, per your need.
  • Option to reassess if not satisfied with one’s scores.
  • Practical approach as the focus is on practical communication skills.
  • A choice of two test types: academic and nonacademic
  • Reassessment option by a senior examiner
  • Forms for Test Reports should be printed on security-enhanced paper

What are the Key Advantages of PTE Test?

  • Use of AI for an unbiased assessment. 
  • Faster results than IELTS (in 3-5 business days).
  • Shares scores with as many organizations as you want without any additional fee. 

Before choosing out of these English Proficiency Exams, check what your university and employer want and make an informed decision accordingly. Both exams are recognized globally and will act as proof of your proficiency in English. If you are stuck or confused, you can reach out to us. As a leading Canada PR consultancy, we guide you seamlessly through the process and help you make an informed decision. 


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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I move forward, skip questions in the test and come back to them later?

You can navigate to the questions for IELTS and correct your responses. In the case of PTE, you can only go forward with correct answers and respond to your record once in the microphone.

If I want the test scores just for visa purposes, which test should I take?

IELTS would be a better option as it is offered for immigration purposes as well.

What is IELTS 7 equal to PTE?

In PTE, it is a score between 64-72.

Which countries accept IELTS?

Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK accept IELTS.

Which is more complicated, the PTE or the IELTS?

None of the tests is complicated. However, PTE is considered a little easier due to its microphone speaking test compared to the face-to-face IELTS one.

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