IELTS vs. PTE

a successful ielts student in australia
A Happy IELTS Student in Australia

PTE or IELTS Test?

Guest article by Elly Beolchi

What is the difference between Australia’s two English language proficiency tests?

More and more international students have come across the need to take an English proficiency test to be able to pursue their dreams in Australia, be they study or work.

Over the last decade, the language proficiency testing panorama has been dominated by the International English Language Testing System (IELTS.)

However, recently a rival test to IELTS has emerged, conquering a wide number of students under the illusion of being easier that IELTS. But the truth is that the Pearson Test of English (PTE) is far from being easier than IELTS. PTE is simply a different test with different criteria to assess a student’s language level.

It is fundamental that test takers understand the test format for whichever exam they decide to take and prepare for.

There are some clear similarities and differences between the IELTS and PTE language tests. Here is an overview of these two popular tests, so please read it carefully and choose wisely where you should invest your time and energies.

Similarities Between IELTS and PTE Tests:

  • Valid for two years – expires in two years.
  • Both have computer testing options; only IELTS can be done on paper.
  • Need good language skills.
  • Need to use strategies to get a good score.
  • Cost the same.
  • Different test order, but both test Writing, Listening, Reading and Speaking.

Main Differences Between IELTS and PTE Tests:

  • IELTS Speaking is always tested face to face and marked by humans. PTE is only tested by computer.
  • IELTS Writing is marked by humans. PTE is tested by computer.
  • Computer-based IELTS will send your results within 5-7 days after the test. For paper-based IELTS tests, you will receive your results in 13 days after the test (online). For PTE tests, you will receive your results within 1-5 days after the test.
  • IELTS marks individual skills. PTE marks integrated skills, which means these are tested throughout the test. For example, all the skills are added from the different tests to make an overall score. If you do badly for Reading during an item called read aloud, you can bring your score up in other items. So, items can test more than one skill and all items contribute to your points.
  • IELTS score band is from 0-9. The PTE scores points from 0-90.

But how do students know which test is really better for them? We have listed below a few useful questions to help students understand more about their own learning attitude. There is no right or wrong answer, so just be honest to help you find your own preferences, which will help you choose which exam is better for you:

  • Is my speaking stronger?
  • Is my writing stronger?
  • Do I get nervous speaking in front of people?
  • Do I need to see someone’s body language?
  • Can I focus without getting distracted?
  • Do I get nervous working under a strict timer?
  • Am I good at typing quickly, accurately, and with correct punctuation?
  • Is my handwriting readable?
  • Do I need my results quickly?

Now that you know more about these two popular language tests, make sure you choose wisely between them and most importantly according to your own learning preferences. Don’t compare your choices to your friends’! Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Understand yours and you’ll succeed!

Elly Beolchi is Director of Studies at SMEAG English, an English Language school in the heart of Melbourne that specialises in training and developing the English skills of international students. For more information, visit www.smeag.com.au SMEAG is an Industry Alliance of Migration Ways.

Also read this guest article by Elly Beolchi: English Proficiency is the Key to YOUR Success in Australia

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English Proficiency is the Key to YOUR Success in Australia
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