IELTS Vs PTE - IELTS University (Singapore)


Both the IELTS and the PTE exams are language proficiency exams that are designed to assess a non-native speaker's ability to cope in an English-speaking environment for work or study purposes. If you have to take a language proficiency test to secure your admission to a university or as part of your visa application process then you might be confused about which exam to opt for. In this article, we will take a closer look at whether you should choose the IELTS exam or the PTE exam.

Neither Test Is Easier

If you’re intent on choosing the exam which is easier, let me just stop you there. There is no easier test. Both the IELTS and the PTE are language exams with high standards. They each have their own format and question types, and thorough preparation is needed for the exams. So to be clear, I’ll state it again. The PTE exam is not easier than the IELTS exam.

However, which exam you choose does depend on an individual's personal preference.

Paper VS Computer

The PTE exam is fully computerised. Every aspect of the exam is displayed on a screen including the answer blocks.

The IELTS exam offers you the choice of taking a computer-based test or a paper-based test.

This is especially useful for test-takers who are not comfortable with their level of computer proficiency or their typing aspect.

Which Are You Better At Writing Or Speaking

To be honest, the real difference between these two tests is how the speaking and writing components of the exams is conducted and assessed. 

Many PTE candidates score poorly in the Oral Fluency criteria. This is because the computer AI that grades the speaking portion of the PTE exam is designed to compare a second language learner's accent to the accent of a native speaker.

The IELTS exam has human examiners, who assess a candidate's speaking skills during a one on one interview. Sounding like a native speaker is not really assessed, as long as a person's accent does not hinder the examiner's understanding of what they are trying to communicate.

The writing section of the IELTS exam is notoriously difficult. Candidates are heavily penalized for grammatical and spelling errors.  Generally, speaking the PTE writing criteria is a bit more lenient than IELTS.

So, to sum up, whether you choose PTE or IELTS really depends on which skill is weaker, your writing or speaking skills.

Who Accepts These Tests

The IELTS exam is recognized by more immigration authorities and institutions across the world. Currently, the IELTS exam is accepted in over 140 countries and over 9000 global institutions. At the moment PTE Academic is only recognized by Australian, New Zealand, and UK immigration authorities. It is also recognized by fewer education authorities than the IELTS exam.

As you can see that there are differences between how each test is conducted, as well as its format. However, this does not necessarily mean that one test is easier than the other. Through preparation and practice will still be needed regardless of which test you choose.