If you wish to study abroad, you must be familiar with the IELTS exam. While IELTS may seem like the only way to study overseas, there are other English Language Assessments that you can take instead of the IELTS to get a study visa abroad. Alternatively, you can also get scholarships from foreign universities to study there.

In this article, you can find a detailed list of alternative tests to IELTS with their requirements, validity, and fees. Read on to find out why IELTS is still considered over other exams and a key to getting your desired band score.

Alternative Exams to the IELTS

Several types of English Language Tests can assess and validate your English language skills for your study abroad. These exams include:


Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL is administered and scored by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). TOEFL is accepted by universities in Canada, UK and Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and the US in over 130 countries. The candidates have the liberty to opt for the Paper-Based Test (PBT) or the Internet-Based Test (IBT). The TOEFL is conducted more than 50 times a year and it is widely accepted in America and Canada. It is also accepted for candidates applying for immigration to countries like Canada, Germany, and Singapore. The exam duration is 4 hours and it consists of multiple-choice questions. A TOEFL assessment costs around $180 in India.

2. IELTS Indicator

During the COVID-19 situation, the IELTS Indicator was introduced in April. The test takes place once a week and uses live questions. Within seven days of appearing for the exam, the results can be collected. Like the paper-based assessment, the listening, reading, and writing tests are conducted in a single setting while the speaking test is conducted a few days before or after these texts.

Several countries accept the IELTS Indicator for their admission process. However, once the situation improves, your university may ask you to take the regular IELTS. The IELTS Indicator can cost around INR 13,250.

3. PTE Academic

The Pearson Academic Test is conducted within three hours. The exam is conducted in three parts: speaking and writing, reading, and listening. The test contains twenty different question formats. PTE is accepted by several universities worldwide. PTE Academic tests are also accepted by Australian and New Zealand governments for visa applications. The PTE Academic can cost around INR 13,300.

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4. Duolingo (DET)

The Duolingo English Tests can be booked at the candidate’s convenience and can be finished in 1 hour. The DET became popular during the COVIID-19 situation and it is now accepted by in the UK and over 2000 institutions. The Duolingo test results can be delivered within two days of taking the examination. While the assessment involves 45 minutes of evaluation of your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills, it is followed by a 10-minute video interview. A DET costs around $49.

5. Password English Language Test

The Password English Language Test is taken in two parts. The first part takes two hours and evaluates the candidate’s reading and writing skills. The second part evaluates the listening and speaking skills of the candidates within 80 minutes. The exam is conducted online and the results for the first part of the test are immediately available.

The results for the second part of the test are made available within the next 48 hours. The tests are unique and randomized for every candidate. The Password Tests are designed by CRELLA (the Center for Research in English Language Learning and Assessment) that is the research group involved in the development and validation of English language assessments like IELTS and Cambridge suite.

6. Cambridge Advanced Exam (CAE)

The Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test is accepted by over 9,000 institutions. The exam is conducted in about 2,800 exam centers every month. The test has four sections: reading and use of English, listening, writing, and speaking. The Cambridge exam scores are valid for the rest of your life. To pass a CAE exam, you need to score at least 60% where the reading section counts for 40%, and the listening, writing, and speaking sections account for 20%.

7. The ACT English Test

The ACT (American College Testing) English test is conducted within 45 minutes. There are five passages with 15 questions each. The test evaluates a candidate’s grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, organization, and style. It is conducted 5 times a year and can cost around $120.

8. SAT English Test

An SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a 3 hour 50 minutes test (including the essay) that is conducted for undergraduate programs by universities. It evaluates a candidate’s writing, critical reading, and mathematics skills. The test is mostly accepted by universities in the US. It is conducted 7 times a year worldwide. The SAT fees for Indian students is around 6200-7000 INR.

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9. AP Programs

The Advanced Placement (AP) tests are taken by students below the age of 21. The exam is valid in the UK, Canada, Singapore, Australia, and several other countries. The exam is available for 23 subjects that can help the student develop their critical thinking, problem-solving, and reasoning skills. For testing their English skills, the candidates can opt for the AP language and composition exam and the AP English Literature and Composition exam. The exam is generally conducted in May and can cost around INR 9,500-10,000.

10. GRE

The GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) are accepted by institutions across various countries for undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs. The exam is conducted year-round for candidates appearing for the computer-based tests and twice a year for candidates appearing for the paper-based tests. The exam is conducted in about 22 cities in India. The candidates are evaluated on skills divided into three sections namely: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. The application fee for a GRE is $205.

11. GMAT

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is a computer-based examination used to assess the candidate’s skills valid for graduate management programs such as MBA. The test assesses analytical, quantitative, writing, verbal, and reading skills in written English of the candidates. The exam is conducted in about 114 countries and the test is valid for 5 years. A GMAT can cost around INR 18,700.

Why IELTS is Considered over Other Alternatives

While there are no major differences between the IELTS and other alternative exams, the exam is chosen by people based on their skill set. The IELTS has a general test as well besides the IELTS Academic exam, which is needed by candidates applying for a UK visa or wanting to go for immigration to countries like Canada. The IELTS exam fee is also similar to that of other exams. It is thus dependent on the requirement of the universities applied for and one’s skills that they choose the IELTS exam.


While several exams can act as alternative exams for IELTS, it might be due to the exam pattern that the IELTS exam is preferred over the others. However, we hope that the article has helped you find the kind of exam that suits your needs and English language proficiency.

Write down in the comments if you would like us to cover more information on these exams. If you have more such queries, you can always rely on us to help you with all your IELTS exam-related needs.

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