Breaking Down the Differences between IELTS and PTE

Preparing for an English language proficiency exam is a significant milestone for many students. While PTE Academic and IELTS share common ground in assessing language skills, they each have unique structures and assessment methods. Even though there are differences between IELTS and PTE, PTE Academic and IELTS have structures that are largely comparable. Students are assessed on speaking, writing, reading, and listening in both exams. The exercises are timed and organised differently, and the skills are tested in a different order. The talents examined here also have a lot of overlap. Students must: use proper grammar, spelling, and mechanics; organise their sentences and paragraphs logically; synthesise information for writing a summary; support an opinion with specifics, examples, and explanations; and use language appropriate to the context of their writing in order to perform well on either test.

PTE or IELTS which is better?


  1. Accurate Assessment: The IELTS exam is conducted in a monitored, consistent, and secure environment, ensuring that test results provide an accurate reflection of a candidate’s English language proficiency.
  1. Clearly Defined Test Criteria: The criteria for evaluating the test are well-defined, providing transparency for both test takers and examiners.
  1. Certificated Examiners: The exam is evaluated by certified examiners and a panel of language specialists who have substantial teaching experience in relevant fields.
  1. General Testing Topics: The test covers general topics that are easy to understand, providing test takers with a fair opportunity to answer a maximum number of questions.
  1. Practical Focus: The exam places an emphasis on assessing daily communication abilities, ensuring that candidates are evaluated based on their practical language skills.
  1. Two Test Types: There are two types of IELTS tests available: academic and non-academic, allowing candidates to choose the one that aligns with their goals.
  1. Face-to-Face Speaking Test: IELTS offers a one-on-one, face-to-face speaking test that takes into account the human aspect of communication skills, rather than just focusing on grammar or content.
  1. Diversity-Sensitive Test Designs: The exam is designed to be sensitive to candidates from different cultures and backgrounds, ensuring that it provides a fair assessment for all.
  1. Double Marking System: To standardize scores and address significant differences, a double marking system is employed for writing, speaking, reading, and listening sections.
  1. Reassessment Option: Candidates have the option to request a reassessment by a senior examiner if they believe their scores do not accurately reflect their abilities.
  1. Strict Confidentiality: Measures are in place to verify the identity of the test taker and maintain strict confidentiality throughout the testing process.
  1. Unique Test Versions: Test takers can be assured that they will never receive the same test twice, ensuring the integrity and fairness of the assessment.
  1. Security-Enhanced Test Report Forms: Test results are printed on security-enhanced paper, adding an extra layer of protection to the validity of the scores.

These advantages collectively contribute to the reputation and reliability of the IELTS exam as a widely recognized and respected measure of English language proficiency.


Artificial Intelligence-Based Unbiased Evaluation: The PTE exam utilizes artificial intelligence to assess English language skills. This approach aims to eliminate potential biases that may be present in human evaluation.

Fast Results: PTE employs cutting-edge scoring technology, allowing for rapid result processing. Test takers typically receive their scores within just 48 hours of completing the test. This is available in more than 350 test centers across over 70 countries.

Free Unlimited Score Linking: PTE offers the convenience of sending your scores to as many organizations as you need without incurring additional fees. This feature can expedite the acceptance process for study and migration applications on a global scale.

These advantages collectively contribute to the appeal and efficiency of the PTE exam as a measure of English language proficiency for various purposes such as education and migration.

Choosing Between IELTS and PTE

The choice between IELTS and PTE depends on several variables, including individual preferences, test format, accessibility, and particular requirements. Here’s a process to help you choose:

Recognize the Standards: Establish why you are taking the exam. Is it for certification, academic admittance, or immigration? Specific requirements may vary between institutions and nations.

Investigate the Acceptance: Verify which exam is accepted by the organizations or institutions to which you are applying. Others might like one over the other, while some might tolerate both.

Format and content of the test: Think about how familiar you are with the structure and subject matter of each exam. PTE is fully computer-based, whereas IELTS includes a face-to-face speaking component. Learn about the particular topics and assignments for each exam.

Available for testing: Determine the availability

Preferred system of scoring: Make sure you are familiar with the scoring procedures for both tests. One scoring method might be more advantageous or suitable for some test takers’ objectives.

Personal Favourites and Comforts: Think about how at ease you are taking computer-based assessments versus in-person interviews. One format may suit some people more than the other in terms of comfort.

Structure of PTE vs IELTS

The difference between IELTS and PTE Speaking

PTE Format:

PTE Speaking is entirely computer-based, and you’ll speak into a microphone.

It consists of five different tasks.


  • Read Aloud: You read a short text aloud.
  • Repeat Sentence: You listen to a sentence and then repeat it.
  • Describe Image: You are shown an image and have to describe it in detail.
  • Re-tell Lecture: You listen to a lecture or a conversation and then re-tell it in your own words.

IELTS Format:

IELTS Speaking is a face-to-face interview with an examiner. It is a more personal interaction.


  • Part 1: Introduction and Interview: You answer questions about yourself, your family, your studies, and your interests.
  • Part 2: Long Turn: You are given a topic and have one minute to prepare before speaking for up to two minutes.
  • Part 3: Discussion: This is a more in-depth discussion related to the topic in Part 2.


  • PTE: The entire speaking section takes approximately 20 minutes.
  • IELTS: The entire speaking section takes about 11-14 minutes.


  • PTE: Scoring is automated and based on various factors including content, pronunciation, and fluency.
  • IELTS: Your speaking performance is assessed by a trained examiner based on specific criteria including fluency, pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and coherence.

Key Differences:

  1. Delivery: PTE Speaking is done entirely on a computer and you speak into a microphone. IELTS Speaking is a face-to-face interaction with an examiner.
  2. Tasks: PTE Speaking tasks are varied and include reading aloud, repeating sentences, describing images, re-telling lectures, and answering short questions. IELTS Speaking tasks involve more personal interactions, such as discussing your background, experiences, and opinions.
  3. Timing: PTE Speaking is slightly longer, taking around 20 minutes, while IELTS Speaking is shorter, lasting around 11-14 minutes.
  4. Scoring: PTE Speaking is scored by a computer based on automated algorithms, while IELTS Speaking is assessed by a trained human examiner

READING: PTE or IELTS which is better?

IELTS and PTE Academic have different reading sections in terms of scheduling and structure. Students have far less time to complete fewer questions on the PTE Academic. The individual texts are longer but there are more of them. In addition, each sentence only contains one question for test-takers. They can therefore move on to the next text if they are unsure about the meaning of the current one. They won’t be quizzed on a single text with five questions.


  • PTE: In PTE, the reading section is part of the larger “Reading and Writing” module, which also includes writing tasks. It consists of several item types, including multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blanks, and re-order paragraphs.
  • IELTS: In IELTS, the reading section is a standalone module, separate from the other language skills (listening, speaking, and writing). It includes three long texts and a series of tasks based on them.


  • PTE: The total time allocated for the “Reading and Writing” module in PTE is approximately 32-41 minutes.
  • IELTS: The IELTS reading section consists of 40 questions and is designed to be completed in 60 minutes.


  • PTE:PTE uses a computer-based scoring system, which means that the test is entirely taken on a computer. The reading section is graded by an automated scoring system that evaluates your responses.
  • IELTS:IELTS uses a combination of human examiners and automated scoring where applicable. For the reading section, your answers are marked by trained examiners.

PTE Question Types:

  • Multiple Choice Questions: You might be asked to select one correct option out of several choices.
  • Fill in the Blanks: You will fill in the missing words in a given text.
  • Re-order Paragraphs: You’ll be asked to rearrange paragraphs in a logical order.

IELTS Question Types:

  • Multiple Choice Questions
  • True/False/Not Given or Yes/No/Not Given Questions: These require you to determine if statements are true according to the text.
  • Matching Headings/Features/Information: You match headings, features, or information to sections in the text.

Learners will need to focus on the meaning of the text and be able to identify the main theme, purpose, and tone of the text. Skimming and scanning for information are also important skills, as is the ability to infer meaning. The best way to ensure success in this section is to make sure you are reading widely and regularly.

WRITING: Difference between ILETS and PTE

In both PTE Academic and IELTS, the writing tasks are very similar. This means you won’t need to adapt your preparation techniques much at all.

The main point of difference is that PTE Academic asks students to summarize written texts, first in a short paragraph, then in a single sentence:

PTE Writing:

  • PTE Academic has two writing tasks: “Summarize Written Text” and “Write Essay.”
  • In “Summarize Written Text,” you are given a passage and need to condense it into a single sentence within a specific word limit.
  • In “Write Essay,” you are provided with a prompt and are expected to write a well-structured essay on the given topic.

IELTS Writing:

  • IELTS General Training and IELTS Academic have different writing tasks.
  • In IELTS Academic, Task 1 involves interpreting visual data (graphs, charts, diagrams), while Task 2 requires writing an essay on a given topic.
  • In IELTS General Training, Task 1 involves writing a letter, and Task 2 involves writing an essay.


  • In PTE, both tasks are graded based on specific scoring criteria. For instance, in the essay task, you are assessed on aspects like content, coherence, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling.
  • IELTS writing tasks are also scored using specific criteria. In Task 1, for instance, you’re assessed on criteria such as task achievement, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource, and grammatical range and accuracy

Test Duration:

  • The PTE writing section typically takes around 40-45 minutes to complete.
  • The IELTS writing section takes 60 minutes to complete. This includes both Task 1 and Task 2.

LISTENING: The difference between IELTS and PTE

The Listening sections in IELTS and PTE Academic are significantly different.

PTE Format:

  • In PTE, the listening section is part of the larger “Listening, Reading, and Writing” module.
  • It includes various question types such as multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blanks, highlighting incorrect words, and summarising spoken text.
  • The listening tasks in PTE are integrated with other language skills, such as reading and writing.

IELTS Format:

  • In IELTS, the listening section is a standalone module, separate from the other skills (Reading, Writing, and Speaking).
  • It consists of four sections, each with a different type of task (e.g., multiple choice, matching, gap filling).
  • IELTS Listening focuses solely on assessing listening comprehension skills.


  • The PTE listening section typically lasts about 45-57 minutes, including the time for instructions and preparation.
  • The IELTS listening section lasts for approximately 30 minutes. There are four recorded sections, each with a specific set of questions.


  • PTE uses a detailed scoring system where each listening task is scored individually. Scores range from 10 to 90.
  • IELTS uses a band score system, with scores ranging from 0 to 9. Each correct answer contributes to your overall band score.

Whether you’re preparing for PTE or IELTS, it’s important to make sure you are getting plenty of practice at taking detailed, accurate notes. IELTS is often thought of as the easier version of the PTE test. That’s because it has conversations and monologues set in social contexts, while PTE often asks students to complete tasks such as writing explanatory summaries and labelling diagrams. Understanding these differences between the tests will help you decide if one is right for you. It will provide a space for you to develop your listening skills by speaking more naturally while you are using your ears as well as your eyes!

Published On: September 26th, 2023 / Categories: IELTS, PTE /

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