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When it comes to English proficiency tests, there are several options to choose from, including the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Pearson Test of English (PTE).

Among InfoComm and Communications Technology (ICT) professionals, a computer-based test is the most popular way of sitting the test, for obvious reasons. So let’s take a closer look at the PTE and IELTS on computer to see the key differences between them. 

What is PTE?

Launched in 2009, the PTE is an English language test from Pearson Inc. It has two tests: PTE Academic and PTE General, both computer-based and automated. 

These tests have gained popularity in recent years and PTE Academic is accepted by many institutions around the world and by the Australian and New Zealand governments for visa purposes.  

What is IELTS?

The IELTS test is the gold-standard for English proficiency tests. Launched in 1989, it evaluates the fluency of English in both written and spoken formats. 

Accepted by over 11,500 institutions in more than 140 countries, IELTS has both paper-based and computer-based versions of its test, which is split into four parts: Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading. 

5 reasons why ICT professionals choose IELTS over PTE

1. IELTS is accepted & recognised more

Both tests evaluate your language skills and provide general scores. However, IELTS is more widely recognized globally than PTE, especially in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA.  

IELTS General is the only non-academic English test that is accepted by Australian migration, and IELTS is the only English language test accepted by the four most popular choices for ICT professionals: Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.  

For international students seeking higher education and professional certifications, IELTS is the preferred option. Additionally, as an ICT professional, having IELTS scores can be advantageous since it is linked with learning and professional registration. 

2. The test format is different 

Both tests evaluate reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. However, PTE marks all of its components by computer, including the speaking section, which means you'll be speaking to a machine. This can be a challenge since you may have to speak in a room full of other test-takers, which some find distracting. 

On the other hand, the IELTS Speaking test is evaluated by a human examiner in a private room. The advantage of interacting with a human examiner is that it allows you to react in a simulated real-life situation, which can provide a more accurate representation of your communication skills. Additionally, you have the option to ask the examiner to repeat a question if you have difficulty understanding it.  

3. The freedom to navigate back & forth through your questions 

With IELTS on Computer, you can move back and forth through questions. This allows you to double-check your work or skip questions that you are unsure about and return to them later.  

Unfortunately, this feature is not available in the PTE. The PTE only allows you to navigate forward through the questions, which means you must get everything correct before moving on to the next question, and there is no going back to amend answers.  

Additionally, PTE has timed individual questions, and you can only record your response once for spoken answers. Whereas, IELTS does not have timed individual questions, allowing you to correct your answers and potentially score better in the Listening, Reading, and Writing tests. 

4. Your skills are tested differently 

PTE has many integrated questions where more than one skill is tested in that portion of the test. For example, both listening and speaking are assessed in the Speaking test, reading and writing in the Reading test, as well as reading and speaking in the Speaking test. 

The IELTS test evaluates each skill separately, giving you the opportunity to focus on each component, and work on scoring well for each skill individually. 

5. Reassessment option by a senior examiner 

The IELTS reassessment option allows test takers to have their test re-evaluated by a senior examiner. Although it isn’t guaranteed that you’ll get your score revised, having this option provides a sense of comfort to test takers.  

PTE does provide a “rescoring” option, however the test will simply be run through the same automated system a second time, so the same scores will be generated again.

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