IELTS or PTE? Which One is Exactly for You?

4 minutes reading time (818 words)

[:en]Are you planning to move abroad to pursue your higher education? Then you should be aware that you must take up an internationally recognized English language test, as it is a basic requirement to study abroad.  
TOEFL, IELTS , CAE, PTE and CPE are some of the internationally accepted standard English tests for both study and immigration purposes. The objective of these exams is to test if you possess sufficient English skills to study and live in a country, where English is the primary language. 
In this blog, we’ll be taking a closer look at the difference between two of the popularly recognized English language tests: IELTS and PTE Academic

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

The International English Language Testing System  (IELTS) is a standardized and widely recognized English language test for international education and global migration. There are two categories under IELTS: Academic and General.  
The IELTS Academic modules assess if your English language skills meet international academic proficiency. The IELTS General assesses if your language skills are adequate for the workplace and social situations.

PTE (Pearson Tests of English)

Pearson Tests of English (PTE) Academic is an English language test for international study and immigration. This is completely computer-based.
The assessment for PTE Academic includes both everyday and academic English. Therefore, you will be given audio excerpts from lectures and visuals from graphs and charts. To test your listening skills, the excerpts will include British, American and other accents, as well. 

Major differences between IELTS and PTE

Test format

The IELTS test format has four major components:  PTE Academic test format has three components
  • Part 1: Listening
  • Part 2: Reading
  • Part 3: Writing 
  • Part 4: Speaking
  • Part 1: Speaking & Writing
  • Part 2: Reading
  • Part 3: Listening


  • IELTS can be taken both online and on paper. The structure for both these modes is the same.
  • PTE Academic tests can only be taken online.


The total duration provided to complete the IELTS exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes.   The total number of hours given to complete the PTE exam is 3 hours.
  • Writing (60 minutes)
  • Reading (60 minutes)
  • Listening (30-36 minutes)
  • Speaking (11-14 minutes)
  • Part 1: Speaking and writing (77-93 minutes)
  • Part 2: Reading (32-41 minutes)
  • Part 3: Listening (45-57 minutes)


  • Each section in the IELTS test is marked on a  0-9 point scale. 
  • The reading and listening sections are auto-marked. The four sections are graded separately and the average of these four sections is considered as the final score. 
  • While some universities accept a point of 5.0 – 5.5 as the passing grade, most universities take 6.0 or 6.5  or the minimum passing grade. 
  • The grading scale for the PTE Academic exam is between 10-90.
  • All scores are automated and these are graded using PTE Academic’s automated scoring system. 
  • Some universities consider 50 as the passing grade, while others expect a minimum of 60. 


  • IELTS certificates are valid for two years from the day results are issued. Any student who wishes to validate his eligibility after two years will have to retake the exam.
  • PTE Academic certificates are valid for two years from the day results are issued. If a student wishes to prove their eligibility after two years, they will have to retake the exam.


  • The IELTS certificate is accepted globally by more than 10,000 organizations, including institutions in over 140 countries, professional bodies,  employers, and Australian student visa and migration applications. 
  • This certificate is accepted in the UK, Australia, Ireland, and South Africa.
  • The PTE Academic certificates are accepted for study applications by several universities across the globe. This is approved for all Australian student visa and migration applications. 
  • This is recognized in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.


The cost of IELTS exams is not fixed. The fee varies from country to country and sometimes even based on the centre you choose. Listed below are the approximate costs for each country:
  • 215 – 240 USD in the USA
  • 162 – 180 GBP (210 – 234 USD) in the UK
  • 2,950 – 3,000 NOK (331 – 337 USD) in Norway
  • 229 (255 USD) in Germany
  • 340 AUD (236 USD) in Australia
Similarly, the cost of PTE exams also differs depending on the country. Listed below are the costs for the PTE exam in different countries:
  • 200 USD in the USA
  • 155 GBP (201 USD) in the UK
  • 255 USD in Spain
  • 231 USD in Germany
  • 357 AUD (246 USD) in Australia

Okay, now you're one step closing to studying abroad. We recommend that you carefully understand what each test offers and choose what best fits your needs and budget. Make sure that the English language test you take up is accepted by the university and country you choose to go to.

If you need guidance to help you with the process of enrolling for an English language test, contact our academic counsellors at AECC today.


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