PTE vs. IELTS: What’s the Difference?

PTE vs. IELTS: What’s the Difference?

PTE (Pearson Test for English) and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) are two English proficiency testing platforms. Registration for both tests is online.



PTE can be registered online, 24 hours prior to the exam time, although there is a late fee incurred if registration is performed less than 48 hours for the test. IELTS registration can be completed in person at a testing center or online.

PTE is given every day of the year at 250 different test centers worldwide. In contrast, IELTS is administered on specific exam dates over many locations worldwide as a paper test, with computer versions of the test now more commonly available.

What Makes PTE Different from Other English Proficiency Exams?

What Makes PTE Different from Other English Proficiency Exams?

PTE takes an entirely different theoretical approach to language testing. The PTE is designed around the application of schema theory and notional-functional syllabus, a radical departure from other assessment approaches.

Schema Theory. Schema theory is a learning model which uses grammatical connections between objects to guide learners in future structuring of sentences. In PTE, language tasks are arranged along a theme, which progresses and helps the learner build a story around a topic or situation.

Schemata are preconceived ideas that reflect patterns of thought regarding situations or behaviors and their interrelationships. Schemata have an influence on learning and acquisition of knowledge because the learner assimilates new information to their established schemata.

Newly obtained information is arranged into new schemata. This allows users to adapt rapidly to new situations.

Schemata include commonly held archetypes, stereotypes, social rules (roles and behaviors), and worldviews.

Notional-Functional Syllabus. Language in the notional-function school of thought derives from an interplay between form and function. More specifically, function takes precedent and form follows. 

This theory posits that language derives from the uses to which forms are applied. The idea of “notions” originates from Wilkins semantico grammatical categories.

Notions form between categories of meaning and common grammatical forms endemic to most human languages: acting agent, duration, instrument used, place, time, quantity. Functions in the theory derive from the purpose of language in conveying intent.

Commonly held functions include agreement, approval, apologizing, directions, greeting, prediction, requesting, etc. The application of notional-function procedure entails selecting a framework for a syllabus to guide the learner without that framework content being part of the syllabus.


The Test

The Test

Cost of registration for the PTE is $275 with a cost of $343 for late registration (less than 48 hours before the test). IELTS costs $245 for the paper-based exam.

The PTE is a 3-hour block exam (with an optional 10-minute break time), whereas IELTS is also a 3-hour exam but is often split into two sessions. Each test has several proficiency sections.

PTE is given in three sections. Part one is speaking and writing, part two is reading, and part three is listening.

IELTS is very similar, but is given in four sections. Part one is listening, part two is writing, part three is reading, and part four is speaking.

A key difference between the two tests is the speaking section. With IELTS, this is performed facing an evaluator, whereas with the PTE you record your speaking assignment via microphone.

Another difference between the tests involves section integration. In PTE, the listening and speaking section and reading and writing section questions are often merged, whereas in IELTS each of these components are individually assessed.

Also, in the PTE exam, test takers must progress through the exam linearly and cannot revisit questions to change their answers.

Computer test versions of each provide test results in about five days. The IELTS paper test scores typically are received within two weeks of the test. 

Scoring for IELTS is on a nine-band scale which rates proficiency (from 1, non-user, to 9, expert user in half steps). PTE provides scores from 10 to 90, somewhat similar to IELTS but with a continuous scale.

Scores for PTE may be sent to an unlimited number of institutions at no cost. In contrast, IELTS may be sent to five institutions for free, after which a fee must be paid for additional institutions.


Who Accepts PTE and IELTS Scores?

PTE is accepted by thousands of institutions globally. IELTS scores are accepted at over 3000 institutions in the US, however each institution sets its own minimum accepted IELTS score. 

If you are taking the PTE, SuperPTE can help!

Proper exam preparation is extremely important and can give any test taker an edge toward achieving higher PTE scores. SuperPTE is a PTE exam preparation service with effective tools to assist you in your success.

Test takers typically score a 79 or higher after using the tools provided by SuperPTE. These tools include a question bank that updated weekly, a video course with helpful information including test-taking tips, and live guidance from PTE coaches.

There are other PTE preparation services out there. So, what makes SuperPTE better than those other services?

SuperPTE has a success system that tracks student preparation progress and directs PTE coaches to monitor and assist students during their preparation. They also have a 100% guarantee of authentic PTE questions in their question bank.

Many questions in the bank are also derivatives of PTE questions designed by PTE coaches to teach users flexibility in addressing unfamiliar material they may encounter on the exam. These questions include the 20 basic PTE question types.

The Tips and Tricks Video Course provides guidance for seven of the most vital factors in PTE, which governs approximately 90% of your total score. Knowing these and knowing what to expect makes a huge difference in student success.

The entire video course takes two weeks and will provide test takers the necessary tools for success. SupePTE additionally has a template package to allow users to identify the question type and anticipate the correct form of response.

SuperPTE templates alone typically boost takers scores by 5-10 points. Besides all this good stuff, SuperPTE has full-length mock exams so you can practice doing the real thing.

Also, with the PTE coaches, there is no limit to the number of inquiries a student can make. PTE coaches are available to the learner on an unlimited basis. 

So, what does all this cost? Probably pretty expensive, right?

Not at all.  For a reasonable price, PTE offers packages which include a combination of their various tools and resources.  You can choose the one that suits your needs the most. So go ahead and check them out. 

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