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PTE vs. IELTS: Know Key Differences of These English Tests

Updated on 16 November, 2023

Pragya Sharma

Pragya Sharma

Sr. Content Editor

While discussing PTE vs. IELTS, it is noteworthy that both these examinations are globally acknowledged for evaluating English proficiency. They have varying levels of use worldwide, along with being helpful for aspirants applying to study abroad at universities in English-speaking nations. Here is a brief guide to the IELTS vs. PTE debate and how these two tests differ. 

PTE vs. IELTS- Exam Pattern and Structure

The major difference between IELTS and PTE lies in the structures and patterns of both these examinations. Here are some pointers worth noting in this regard. 

Both PTE Academic and IELTS are similar in terms of testing aspirants for speaking, reading, listening, and writing. However, the order and organization differ across these two tests. 

  • The PTE Speaking section is done on a computer and evaluated by artificial intelligence, unlike the Speaking section in IELTS, which is evaluated by a human examiner face-to-face. 
  • The PTE Academic Speaking section is computer-based, and you can complete the entire test in one day. The IELTS Speaking section is taken on a different day (up to a week before or after the other sections). 
  • The IELTS Reading section has 40 questions, while the PTE Reading section has 15 to 20 questions. 
  • The IELTS listening section has 40 questions based on four recordings. The PTE examination has a listening section with eight question types and eight sub-sections that test a minimum of two skills. 
  • The IELTS Writing section has 40 questions, while the PTE Writing and Speaking section has eight subsections in total. 
  • The IELTS Speaking section has three subsections with 11-17 questions. The PTE Speaking section is clubbed with the writing section. 
  • The durations are 30 minutes (Listening), 60 minutes (Reading), 60 minutes (Writing), and 11-14 minutes (Speaking) for the IELTS. The durations are 77-93 minutes (Writing and Speaking), 45-57 minutes (Listening), and 32-40 minutes (Reading) for the PTE. 

Hence, in a nutshell, the IELTS is paper-based (there is also a computer-based option), and the PTE is fully computer-based. If you are looking at the IELTS score vs. PTE score debate, then know that both examinations have a scoring scale of 0 to 9. However, the algorithms and final scoring criteria differ. 

PTE vs. IELTS: Score Comparison

Here is a comparison of the IELTS score vs. PTE scores. 

PTE Academic232936465666768489N/A 

IELTS vs. PTE: Exam Cost and Acceptance

Here is an evaluation of the costs of both examinations: 

  • PTE Academic- INR 15,900 
  • IELTS- INR 16,250 

The acceptance levels also vary for both these examinations. The PTE Academic is accepted across more than 3,300 institutions globally, including Harvard Business School, Oxford University, and Yale, along with the Governments of Australia, New Zealand, and the UK for visa purposes. 

The IELTS, on the other hand, is accepted by the top 50 universities in the world, along with more than 11,000 organizations globally. This includes universities, Government departments, training institutions, immigration authorities, professional and industrial entities, and businesses. 

Difference Between IELTS and PTE: Academic Criteria

In most cases, a PTE score of 36-50 is required for foundation scores by institutions, while 51-60 is necessary for undergraduate degrees (minimum). This is also around 57-67 for postgraduate programs, although the final scores may vary depending on the institution’s specific requirements. 

The minimum IELTS score required for entry into academic programs may vary across institutions. However, it may be 6.0 (minimum) for undergraduate and 6.5 (minimum) for postgraduate programs. 

Difference Between IELTS and PTE: Administrative Factors

Administrative aspects are another facet of the PTE vs. IELTS debate. Here are some points worth noting in this regard. 

  • Results are usually available for the PTE within around 48 hours, while they are available for the IELTS within 13 calendar days. 
  • The IELTS is held several times each month throughout numerous test centers globally. The PTE is also available throughout the year on several dates. 

Common Tips for IELTS and PTE Exam 

By following some common tips, you can practice to ace both the IELTS and PTE examinations. These include the following: 

  • Keep practicing your English language skills by communicating regularly with others. 
  • Watch English movies and listen to audio recordings and podcasts, along with reading English newspapers and magazines. 
  • Take sample tests to gain more confidence before the examination. 
  • Make sure that you have a thorough understanding of the examination format and scoring pattern. 
  • Create a smart study plan and stick to it. 
  • Use flashcards to memorize important words and phrases. 

Both the IELTS and PTE have their own merits. They are both widely acknowledged as English language proficiency tests and you should choose the one which suits your needs as per the country and institution you are applying to. 


Is PTE easier than IELTS?

Both examinations test the same sets of skills of aspirants. Hence, one cannot be called easier than the other. Both have varying difficulty levels, depending on the proficiency and skills of the candidate. 

Which is better- IELTS or PTE for PR?

IELTS has a wider reach globally, with more than 11,000 institutions accepting it, including universities, immigration authorities, businesses, and more. The PTE is also gaining ground and is accepted by more than 3,300 institutions worldwide, including the University of Oxford and other prestigious institutions. You should choose as per the country you are applying for. 

Does Canada accept PTE?

Yes, PTE scores are accepted in several Canadian universities. They are regarded as proof of English language proficiency across several institutions during admissions and for visa applications. 

Pragya Sharma

Sr. Content Editor

Pragya Sharma is a content developer and marketer with 6.5+ years of experience in the education industry. She started her career as a social media copywriter for NIELIT, Ministry of Electronics & IT, and has now scaled up as a 360-degree content professional well-versed with the intricacies of digital marketing and different forms of content used to drive and hook the target audience. She is also a co-author of 2 stories in an anthology based on the theme- women empowerment.

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