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For students who are planning to study abroad, IELTS is one of the world’s most popular English language tests and is accepted by more than 10,000 organizations in 140 countries all around the globe. Here, the test is co-owned by Cambridge English Language Assessment, British Council, and International Development Program of Australian Universities and Colleges and is offered by both the British Council as well as IDP in India. So, IELTS is primarily a paper-based test but is now being offered in the computer-delivered format as well. Thus, In both cases, the Speaking section of the test is conducted in a face-to-face setting and the test lasts roughly 2 hours and 45 minutes, divided into two test days respectively and with the Listening, Reading, and Writing sections conducted in a single sitting and the Speaking test held separately. So, Both the Paper-based and Computer-delivered formats of the test cost INR 13250 as registration fee approximately. Whereas the PTE exam, was launched in 2009 by Pearson Inc. and this test has been gaining popularity quite fast and is accepted by thousands of universities worldwide and by the Australian and New Zealand governments for visa purposes. Also, Similar to TOEFL iBT, this test is conducted on a computer for all of its sections. So, Unlike the other two tests, the Speaking and Writing sections of the PTE are combined together as one. Therefore, the test lasts for 3 hours approximately and costs INR 13,300 around. Besides, to look at the key differences between the three tests and it is time to see the pros and cons of each test.  So, each test has its own advantages and disadvantages and students should decide on which one to choose between IELTS vs TOEFL vs PTE based on their comfort level and end objectives. Thus, the advantages and disadvantages of these test are as follows-

  • Advantages of IELTS-

  1. IELTS is preferred by those who have been learning Queen’s English or English as used in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Thus, Indian students may prefer the test over the other two tests.

  2. IELTS is also much more widely accepted in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand and is often preferred when one of these countries is the destination of choice and interests.

  3. IELTS also has a separate exam for General candidates and hence, is preferred over the TOEFL for those who need it for immigration or work purposes only.

  4. Numerous people prefer the formal interview setting of the Speaking test in IELTS since it prepares them better for real-world circumstances.

  5. IELTS computer-delivered tests are offered most frequently and conducted almost once every day at major centers in India, and is preferable for those with less time in hand for those who prefer writing on paper, IELTS is the only option in India available.

  • Disadvantages of IELTS-

  1. Numerous students find the prospect of face to face speaking tests daunting and prefer speaking into microphones.

  2. The speaking test is conducted on a separate date and candidates need to free themselves for two days to take the test.

  3. The Writing test for IELTS is considered fairly tough to score on compared to the other tests and can be a stumbling block for students who struggle with the essay structures.

  4. The scores for IELTS are not as detailed as the other two and so the test takers may require significant improvement to increase their score by even a single band.


  • Advantages of PTE-

  1. The PTE results can be received the fastest, within a couple of days to up to a week.

  2. The writing test in PTE is much easier since Students are only required to write one long-form response.

  3. The PTE can be finished within a single day and so the shortest of the three tests in terms of time required.

  4. Also, there is no physical examiner present through most of the tests which are completely automated.

  • Disadvantages of PTE-

  1. The PTE, being quite new compared to the other two and is still not accepted at many major universities.

  2. The Speaking test is evaluated through a computer and there are chances of getting a low score because of a heavy accent.

  3. The recordings for PTE Listening can be tough to decipher since they use real lectures in the English language.

  • Differences in Acceptability in Different Countries-

The IELTS is inclined towards the UK or Australian English and TOEFL and PTE are more inclined towards American English. So, the IELTS score is more likely to be accepted in Europe, and Australia and TOEFL have better reception in American universities and colleges. The PTE, even though being relatively newer in the space is accepted in Europe, Australia, and some Ivy League institutes like Harvard and Yale, etc. Therefore, If students have made it this far, you know that the IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE tests are similar in structure, prices as well as availabilities. Moreover, the choice might be limited by the university where students want to apply. So, some institutions accept all 3 English tests and others only accept IELTS or TOEFL or maybe only one of them. Thus, Even if students choose between these tests, they should first see what exam dates and test centers are available near them, and traveling to another city is an option, but if the distance is too long, students might be inclined to choose a center that’s closer to them.

To conclude, students should also try free online materials and see if one exam seems easier than the others and this is an easy way to make up their mind. Also,  it doesn’t matter if students choose IELTS Academic, TOEFL iBT or PTE Academic. All of these are all great exams which enable students to go abroad and fulfill their dreams. Provided they have the ambition and willpower to work hard and prepare themselves, they can ace any English proficiency test and start their international studies on the right foot.

Harleen Arora 3 years ago
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