pte to ielts

You are applying to study overseas, or maybe you are planning a big move to an English speaking country. There are a few English language tests that you can take, but how to choose? 

The IELTS and PTE are two of the most common, and most recognized English language tests in the world.  Let’s get to know more about these tests to ease the decision-making process and get you on your way! 

Related Article: PTE General

What Is The IELTS?

The IELTS lasts just under three hours and is spread out across a day, or two, depending on the assessors’ availability. 

The Academic IELTS is geared towards study abroad. Most universities will accept a 6.5 for an undergraduate program, and a 7 for a post-graduate program. For work and immigration, you will need to take the general IELTS

The scoring system is very broad. You can receive between 1-9, making every mark count. The scoring goes as follows:

9 – Expert User.

8 – Very Good User.

7 – Good User.

6 – Competent User

5 – Modest User.

4 – Limited User.

3 – Extremely Limited User.

2 – Intermittent User.

1 – Non-User.



    • The IELTS has been around for a while and is acknowledged by many countries in the world. Its different packages cater to academic and general English, making it great for a standard English test.
    • Classic handwritten format 
    • Broken up over a couple of days, this might actually appeal to some people. If you are the kind of person who needs a break in the middle, rescheduling for the oral exam might be just what you need.
    • You can take the test as many times as you need to achieve your ideal score



    • Being paper-based for the most part. This means there is also the added skill of handwriting to work on in preparation for the test. 
    • Because it is a manual test, it is often broken up on different days to allow for the speaking part of the exam to be carried out. In an oral speaking exam, there needs to be an assessor present. This means that either you are speaking over everyone in the room, and at other times, asked to come back another day. 
    • Also due to its manual nature, it is marked by people. This means it takes longer to receive your scores. 


What Is The PTE?

The Pearson Test of English is a computer-based English skills test. Relatively new to the market, the PTE has spread like wildfire with testing centers popping up around the globe, and being accepted in more and more countries every year.

The test is split into the standard divisions of writing, reading, speaking and listening, with the entire test taken online. This means that while you can take notes with paper and pen, all your answers will be on the computer interface

Pearson Test of English

Speaking & Writing 

Suggested allocated time: 77-93 minutes

    • Personal Introduction
    • Read Aloud
    • Repeat Sentence
    • Describe Image
    • Re-tell Lecture
    • Answer Short Questions
    • Summarize Written Text
    • Essay (20 minutes)


Suggested allocated time: 40-58 minutes

    • Multiple Choice/Single Answer
    • Multiple Choice/Multiple Answers
    • Re-order Paragraphs
    • Reading/Fill in the Blanks
    • Reading and Writing/Fill in the Blanks


Suggested allocated time: 45-57 minutes

    • Summarise Spoken text
    • Multiple Choice/Single Answer
    • Multiple Choice/Multiple Answers
    • Fill in the Blanks
    • Highlight the Correct Summary
    • Select Missing Word
    • Highlighting Incorrect Words
    • Write from Dictation

Pearson Test of English Pros:

    • The test can be taken as many times as you need to achieve your ideal score. 
    • Thorough break down of your score. If you have not achieved the score you were hoping to achieve, you will be able to assess which areas were holding you back. Unlike the IELTS, the PTE goes through the main sections and assesses them individually.
    • You will receive your score back within 5 days, sometimes within 24 hours. This is achieved because the whole test is done online, allowing it to be instantly graded and without bias. 
    • Being entirely online means that if you suffer from any kind of social or test-oriented anxiety you are able to go at your own pace and not be overwhelmed by outside factors. 
    • Being completely computer-based means you can do it all in one sitting, within 3 hours, and it is over and done with. 

Pearson Test of English Cons:

    • Although it is accepted in all major countries, the PTE  is relatively new and is therefore still becoming accepted in some countries. If you are planning to migrate or study to a more obscure English speaking country, you might want to double-check to be sure it is relevant. 
    • Although there is a three-hour time limit, and a suggested allocated time for each segment, it is really up to you to pace yourself in this test. 


Which Test Is Right For You?

Assess Your Goals

First things first, what do you hope to achieve out of your test? The language does not change but takes into account which countries accept which test.  Are you going to study? Although both tests offer academic options, the PTE Academic is seen as a higher skill level, if only for its attention to detail. 

Are you going to migrate? Different governments require different scores on each test. When you find out what score is required for the country of your choice, you can then decide which learning style works for you. 

Understand Your Learning Style

The IELTS being paper-based might suit the more tactile learners out there. Some people need to hold something in their hand to get a real grasp on the situation. 

On the other hand, handwriting is a whole skill on its own. Instead of just concentrating on your language you have to also make sure that the markers can read your handwriting. 

More visual learners might benefit from the PTE as it is all right there in front of you. 

Whatever your learning style, there is a test there for you! 

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