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Both IELTS and PTE are English proficiency tests, but IELTS enjoys higher recognition and acceptance in more countries, making it the obvious choice for test takers worldwide who want to increase their chances of achieving their study, work, or migration goals.

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IELTS or PTE: Understand the difference

With over 4,000 IELTS test locations across 120 countries, including more than 280 computer-delivered test centres, IELTS has one of the largest test centre networks in the world, making it easily accessible worldwide. PTE on the other hand is a relative newcomer to the English language testing scene. Like IELTS, it measures the test taker's reading, writing, listening, and speaking proficiency. An essential characteristic of PTE Academic is that the entire test is computer-based, with no human evaluation involved in the speaking, writing, listening, or reading components.

Advantages and disadvantages of taking PTE



While less than other English language tests, PTE is widely recognised by many governments, universities and organisations across the world.

Speaking component is taken in a room with other test takers which can be distracting for some participants

PTE is also offered in different formats for specific purposes such as study and migration

There is no option to take PTE on paper, meaning this test may be more difficult for test takers with low computer literacy

Highly Accessible, PTE Home and Academic are able to be sat online

Limited test preparation materials: Compared to some other English language tests, there may be fewer test preparation materials available for the PTE, which could make it more difficult to prepare for the test and achieve a high score.

IELTS gives you the flexibility to choose paper or computer

PTE is only available on computer, whereas with IELTS you can choose whether you want to take your test on paper or computer in many locations across the world. The freedom to choose is important to test takers who are more comfortable using paper and pen to write their answers.

Fairness in testing

Unlike PTE, IELTS follows a test format that is fairer for test takers. Whether it’s IELTS on paper or IELTS on computer, you are allowed to skip questions and come back to them later, so you don’t waste time. With PTE, you must answer the question before moving on to the next one.

Fairness in marking

Robots may be great in a factory but unlike PTE, we don’t leave our test takers’ futures in their hands. English experts assess our Speaking and Reading tests, following global marking standards. This ensures fairness for all test takers to give them the best chance of achieving their migration goals.

Global footprint

With over 4,000 IELTS test locations across 120 countries, including more than 280 computer-delivered test centres, IELTS has one of the largest test centre networks in the world, making it easily accessible worldwide.

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Trusted worldwide

Over 11,500 organisations around the world trust IELTS' evaluation of English language skills. PTE on the other hand is accepted by around 3,000+ organisations (just 27% of the recognition rate of IELTS).

Fast results

With IELTS on computer you receive your test results within just 3-5 days. The quick turnaround time provides peace of mind to help you meet your immigration application deadlines.

Prepares you for success

IELTS Prepare by IDP gives you access to a range of preparation materials at your fingertips. From practice tests, videos and articles to expert assessments, online courses, webinars and more, this preparation support helps your confidence grow to make it easier for you to reach your goals.



Which is the more popular test, IELTS or PTE?

The most popular English test worldwide with over 3 million tests taken annually.

Up to 828,000 tests taken in 2022*

What test types of tests are available for IELTS vs PTE?

Available on paper and computer

Computer-based only

Are IELTS and PTE accepted by the Canadian Immigration Department?



What is the difference between IELTS and PTE Speaking test?

One-to-one speaking test with a real person who understands different accents.

Talking into a microphone in a room full of other test takers who may also be speaking at the same time can be distracting.

What is the difference in how IELTS and PTE are marked?

Reading and Speaking tests marked by experts who understand different cultural nuances.

Marked by AI

“I got my required IELTS score and in a couple of months, a shiny new visa arrived in my inbox.”Anthea, former IELTS test taker and now a successful business owner

Even for studying in Canada, IELTS is the obvious choice

Recently, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced changes to the English test requirements for the Student Direct Stream (SDS) study permit. Under the new changes that go live on 10 August 2023, IELTS Academic test takers no longer need a 6.0 score on all individual skills. Instead, only a 6.0 overall score is sufficient to help them meet the English proficiency requirement for SDS.

Alternatives to PTE Essentials and PTE Academic

While there are many benefits to taking PTE, if you’re looking for an alternative, IELTS is a great option for several reasons. First and foremost both IELTS Academic and General Training are both already accepted by the Canadian Government for immigration, unlike PTE Essential which won’t be until later in 2023.

IELTS is also recognised by more than 11,000 organizations worldwide, including universities, immigration departments, and professional bodies. This means that by taking IELTS, you’ll have access to a wider range of opportunities, both domestically and internationally.

Overall, while both PTE and IELTS are valid options, IELTS remains the clear choice for test takers worldwide.

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