The English Language Proficiency Tests are mandatory for students from non-native English speaking countries aspiring to study abroad. IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and the PTE (Pearson Test of English) are widely accepted tests measuring English language ability.

Both tests measure students’ English language proficiency, so they have many aspects in common, but there are some differences as well. The most popular test is the IELTS, which is accepted by maximum institutions worldwide, while the PTE is a relatively new entrant in this field. There are some differences between the scoring systems.9

Let’s have a look at both exam patterns.

IELTS and PTE Exam Pattern Comparison

#1. IELTS Exam Pattern

IELTS tests are of two categories: Academic IELTS and General Training IELTS. The Speaking and Listening segments are identical for both, but the source material for the Reading and Writing segments varies. The IELTS Listening, Reading, and Writing sections are completed on the same test day, without breaks.

#. IELTS Academic Test

Students and professionals who wish to study or work in English speaking countries need to pass the IELTS Academic test.

#. IELTS General Test

IELTS General Testing is for those wishing to relocate to native English-speaking countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

#. IELTS Syllabus and Pattern

Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing are the four sections of the IELTS syllabus. Each section offers different time limits. For Speaking, you will get 11 to 14 minutes, for Listening 30 minutes and for Reading and Writing 60 minutes.

The applicant will receive a score for all four segments and will also receive a total score for IELTS. The test’s duration is two and 45 minutes.

#2. PTE Exam

PTE exams are of two types, i.e., PTE General and PTE Academic. PTE General is not intended to test English language proficiency but to reward achievements in English language learning. In contrast, if you intend to work or study abroad, you must opt for the PTE Academic exam.

Also Read: How many PTE Scores are Required for Australia Student Visa? Minimum Scores

PTE Academic Exam Format and Pattern

The candidate’s speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills are tested during the PTE Academic. All the sections must be completed in three hours.

#. Speaking and Writing

Your English communication skills are evaluated during the Speaking and Writing tests. The time given is 77- 93 minutes.

#. Reading

The time provided is 32-40 minutes. The test assesses comprehension skills. Generally, MCQs, fill in the blanks, reordering paragraph types of questions are asked.

#. Listening

The time provided is 45-57 Minutes. Questions like fill in the blanks, multiple-choice, choose single answers, select missing words etc., are asked. You can also be asked to summarise an audio.

PTE Exam Format for General Test

The PTE General test is only accepted by a few selected countries and is not applicable for visa and immigration purposes. It has two sections: written and oral tests, to measure reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities. Several levels of proficiency are available in the PTE General. Those levels correspond to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) Levels 1 through 5 (A1).

Also Read: PTE Score for Study in Australia: Minimum PTE Score Required for PR in Australia

IELTS vs PTE: Marking


The IELTS score ranges between 1-9 bands. The test is scored according to performance bands for each component. The Listening and Reading sections of the IELTS test are scored differently than the Speaking and Writing sections.


There are two main skill categories in the PTE score report: communicative and enabling skills. Communication skills have four components: Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing. PTE Academic scores are based on the Global Scale of English, a granular score scale ranging from 10 to 90. Based on this scale, students receive an overall score indicating their English proficiency. Overall scores are rounded up and if the average is over 88, the average of the enabling skills will be disregarded and rounded to 90.

Also Read: PTE Band Score Chart 2021: Everything about Ideal PTE Band Scores and Validity

IELTS and PTE Score Comparison

Clearing a language ability test is mandatory for admission of international students in all major English speaking countries. Though both IELTS and PTE are widely accepted, the requirements may vary for different institutions. The applicants should check an institute’s admissions criteria and guidelines before selecting which test they should take.

When finalising which test to take, the students prefer comparing scores from both tests. To check an institute’s admission eligibility, it is sometimes necessary to make a comparison.

EXPERT 9 89 – 90
VERY GOOD 8.5 – 8 85-78
GOOD 7.5 – 7 77 – 64
COMPETENT 6.5 – 6 63 – 50
MODEST 5.5 – 5 49 – 35
LIMITED 4.5 30 – 34

IELTS vs PTE: Which One is Good for Australia?

Generally, people who are more comfortable with pen and paper are more likely to take IELTS than PTE. IELTS may be a good choice if you have poor vision and cannot work on a computer. Meanwhile, PTE is a computer-based assessment appropriate for those who are not confident about human evaluation. In some cases, people get nervous in front of humans and stammer. So, they opt for PTE.

pte and ielts for australia

Also Read: How to Book PTE Academic Test Online? Tips to Clear the Test and Steps to Apply

The IELTS test is tougher to score as manual evaluation always leaves scope for human biases. In contrast, PTE is completely scored digitally with no room for errors or human bias. Therefore, it is ultimately up to you as both are equally acceptable to the Australian Immigration Department.

However, IELTS general training is the only non-academic English ability test accepted for migration in Australia. So if you want to take a non-academic language assessment, PTE general will not get you through Australian migration.

Still Confused?

If you are still confused about which language test to take, get in touch with IELTS Ninja for guidance. Our expert mentors offer cutting edge prep courses and guidance. You will get one-to-one sessions with the mentors on the best and shortest road to clearing the exam. They will track your progress regularly to help you improve on the weak areas.

Also Read: How Long to Prepare for PTE Academic Test? Simple Tips to Stay Exam Ready


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About the Author


Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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