English proficiency Exam

PTE vs IELTS: A Complete Guide

8 min read
Blog Summary Struggling to choose between PTE and IELTS for your English proficiency test? Look no further! This blog breaks down the key differences and helps you find the right fit based on your preferences and needs. From exam patterns to score calculators, eligibility criteria to global acceptance, we've got it all covered. Whether you're aiming for a digital UI or a convenient test center, we'll guide you through the pros and cons of each option, so you can make an informed decision and pave the way to your academic dreams.


To gain admission to an international university, proof of your English proficiency through tests like IELTS or PTE is necessary. However, many students have a dilemma regarding which proficiency exam to choose. PTE vs IELTS; which is better? Which is easy? These are some common questions that most students have. In this blog, we aim to answer these questions to help you determine which test best fits you based on your requirements and skills. 

The IELTS and PTE Academic exams have broadly comparable structures: Speaking, writing, reading, and listening are the four language abilities that are tested in both tests. However, the tasks are timed and organised differently, and the order in which the skills are examined differs. This is just one of the many differences between IELTS and PTE. To know more about PTE vs IELTS, read on. 

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PTE vs IELTS: An Overview 

The following table gives you a comprehensive overview of the differences between the IELTS and PTE exams. 




Exam Type 

Academic Test and General Training Test

Only Academic 

Exam Mode 

Computer-based and Paper-based

Only Computer-based 

Exam Time 

170 minutes 

191 minutes 

Approx. Price (subject to changes with location)

AUD 395 

AUD 410


11,500+ organisations in more than 140 countries 

3000+ institutions worldwide

Navigation through questions 

In the computer-based exam, you can skip and revisit the questions at a later time 

You can only move forward through the questions and will have to fix all errors before moving to the next one. 

Testing method

All skills are tested separately. 

Integrated testing of skills 

Speaking Test

Face-to-face with a human examiner in a quiet room.

Speak in a microphone in an academic setting 


Reading, and Listening tests are auto-marked.

Speaking and Writing tests are evaluated by a human.

All sections are automatically machine scored 


Speaking test alone will take place in a different session 

All skills tested in a single time slot 


IELTS Paper-based test: Available 13 days after your test

IELTS Computer-based test: Available 3-5 days after your test 

Available within 5 business days 

Read more: 

IELTS Examination Dates, Test Centres and Fees

PTE Exam Dates, Centres and Fees

PTE vs IELTS: Exam Pattern

Exam Sections 

IELTS Academic 

PTE Academic


60 minutes 

77-93 minutes


11-14 minutes 


60 minutes 

32-40 minutes 


30-36 minutes

45-57 minutes

Total Time 

170 minutes 

191 minutes 

Read more:

IELTS Exam Syllabus and Pattern

PTE Exam Pattern and Exam Syllabus

PTE vs IELTS Score Calculator 

In a recent report published in December 2020, Pearson compared the PTE-A results to the IELTS' top band score benchmark for English language exams. The report explains that PTE exam takers will need a higher score to be similar to IELTS for an IELTS Band 7 to Band 9 score.

The table below demonstrates how the PTE Academic score compares to the IELTS Academic results:

PTE vs IELTS Score Calculator 

PTE (Original) Scores 

PTE (Updated) Scores 

IELTS Results 































Read more:

PTE Exam Results and Scoring Comparison 

Difference between IELTS and PTE: Eligibility Criteria 

The IELTS administering organisations have not established any particular requirements to sit for the exam, and it is open to people of all genders, races, nationalities, and religions. While there is no upper age limit, the minimum age at which you can apply for the IELTS exam is 16 years. Applicants who intend to immigrate to or seek further education in an English-speaking nation can appear for the exam. However, it is better if candidates review the eligibility requirements established by the academic institution or organisation to which they wish to apply.

In the case of PTE, applicants must be at least 16 years old to appear for the examination. 

Applicants aged 16 to 18 should submit a parental permission form that can be accessed on pearsonpte.com. A letter or certificate from a qualified medical professional, issued when the applicant was 12 years old or older, must be shown by applicants for exceptional requirements.

Who Accepts PTE Scores?

Most nations, including Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore, Canada, and New Zealand, accept PTE scores. PTE results are accepted in these nations for immigration and university admission. Almost 3,000 universities worldwide recognise PTE Academic, including Yale University, Harvard Business School, and Oxford University. PTE results can also be used to apply for permanent residency in Australia and New Zealand.

Who Accepts IELTS Scores?

The IELTS exam is accepted in over 140 countries by more than 11,500 organisations, including educational institutions (universities, colleges, schools, etc.), government departments and immigration authorities, professional and industry associations, and big MNCs ( multinational corporations) and employers. 

PTE vs IELTS, Which is Easy?

Neither examination can be categorised as simple or challenging. Some might find one easier to absorb than the other. While many students found the writing section of the PTE exam less difficult than the IELTS alternative, they also found the reading portion of the IELTS test to be simpler than the PTE equivalent. So ultimately, the level of difficulty of each exam is subjective to each student. 

Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening are the four core language abilities tested in the PTE and IELTS exams. Apart from changes in the structure and examination mode, neither test can be considered to be easier than the other. However, in either case, you must remember that even though the score on the mock exams is rather high, each exam requires students to prepare to ace it extensively. 

PTE vs IELTS, Which is Better?

Here are some points that highlight the differences between IELTS and PTE. Evaluate the differences to understand which proficiency exam is more suitable for you. 

  • IELTS is a better option if you are familiar with the written test format and PTE for those who are comfortable with digital UI.
  • Since the PTE Speaking section evaluates candidates strictly on their pronunciation, IELTS is a more apt exam if you have a thick accent.
  • If you need to take the test within a few days and report the scores to your desired universities, then PTE has the edge over IELTS owing to its super short booking time and results that can be delivered within 2 days.
  • IELTS test is more convenient as you can easily find test centres in your proximity than for PTE. 
  • Since PTE tests are given online, and results are generated online, it eliminates the chances of human bias and errors, making PTE scores more dependable than IELTS scores.

In the blog, we have covered the most crucial elements that will help you select a suitable English proficiency exam. Consider your personal preferences while deciding on which exam to take. Remember that getting high grades and moving closer to your dreams depends on the test you select and the effort and preparation you put into achieving your goal. 

Related Reads:

IELTS Speaking Test and Tips

IELTS Listening Test and Tips 

Tips on How to Prepare for IELTS 

IELTS Reading Question Types and Tips

IELTS Writing Test 

PTE Accepted Colleges in Canada 

PTE Requirements for Canada

PTE Band Scores and PTE Results 

Frequently Asked Questions

PTE vs IELTS: Which test is more popular?

The IELTS exam started in 1989, and PTE in 2009. Since IELTS has been around for a longer time and is more easily accessible owing to the large number of test centres it offers, IELTS is considered to be the more popular choice.