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IELTS vs TOEFL vs PTE – which English test is the best for LPDP?

If you’re applying for the LPDP scholarship for post-graduate studies, don’t let your English proficiency certification hold you back! In this write-up, we explore which test – IELTS, TOEFL or PTE – is the key to unlocking your dream for getting your studies sponsored. 

English test results are required for study, work or migration in English-speaking countries such as Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It is also a requirement for scholarships like the LPDP scholarship in Indonesia, which traditionally conducts two registration exercises per year

Certified English tests include IELTS (the International English Language Test System), TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and PTE (Pearson Test of English). 

So, which English test system is best suited for the LPDP scholarship? Let’s start with an introduction to IELTS, TOEFL and PTE.

What is IELTS?

IELTS is the most popular and accepted high-stake English proficiency test in the world for higher education. Recognised by more than 12,000 education and training providers globally, IELTS is jointly owned by IDP, the British Council and Cambridge English. Since 1989, IELTS has been used to test for English proficiency, both written and spoken, through the listening, writing, reading, and speaking tests. A band score of 0 to 9 is awarded for each skill, while you will also receive an overall band score.

What is TOEFL?

Testing for the same skills of listening, writing, reading and speaking, TOEFL is developed and administered by Educational Testing Service and is the oldest English proficiency test, existing since 1964. Its scoring system differs from IELTS, ranging from 0 to 30 for each skill and a total score of 0 to 120.

What is PTE?

The newest of the three, the PTE proficiency test began in 2009. Its test components differ somewhat from IELTS and TOEFL, measuring oral and written fluency, pronunciation, spelling and vocabulary. Scores are awarded from a scale of 10 to 90.


IELTS vs TOEFL vs PTE – which English test is the best for LPDP?

Even though all three tests may serve the purpose of accessing your English proficiency, there are differences between IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE that you may want to consider when deciding which one is most suitable for your LPDP scholarship registration. 

1. Location 

Consider where your test will be held. For IELTS, you can easily find a suitable location near you via IDP, a co-owner of IELTS, which has more than 2,200 test locations across 80 countries and counting. In Indonesia, IELTS test locations are available in a number of regions, including Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Medan, Makassar, and Bali. 

TOEFL tests are conducted by universities or language institutions licensed by Educational Testing Service (ETS). In Indonesia, International Language Program (ILP), Kaplan Edupac, and Language Training Institute (LTI) are approved conductors of the TOEFL test. 

For PTE, which has more than 400 global test centres, there are three in Indonesia, located in University of Tanjungpura, KELT, and IALF. 

Selecting a test centre that is convenient for you to get to can make a difference for your state of mind when taking the test. You don’t want to be stressed out trying to get there on time or figuring out your accommodation, commute or direction. Give yourself every advantage to achieve the best possible score for your LPDP scholarship registration. 

If you prefer not to travel down to an IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE test location, you can instead choose an online test format that allows you to take your English proficiency test from anywhere with a good internet connection. Keep reading for more information about this test format. 

2. Schedule 

Choosing a suitable date and time for your test is another key factor to think about. You’ll need to consider what suits your schedule and book a date for when you are ready to take the exam. 

Flexible test timings are available for a test like IELTS, which will help in planning your timeline for applying for the LPDP scholarship. Consider how long you need to study or revise for your test, when you need to take the test, and when your test results can be made available. 

IELTS tests are conducted by IDP at least 24 times a month for the IELTS on Computer and total of three tests for IELTS on Paper in a month, which means you have more than 300 test dates a year to select from. 

TOEFL and PTE also allow you to select your preferred test dates and times depending on the availability of the schedule by the organising institutions or universities. For TOEFL, there are usually one to two tests in a month, while the PTE tests are held at least six to eight times a month. 

3. Test format 

IELTS offers three test formats. They are IELTS on Computer and IELTS on Paper, both done on location, and IELTS Online. For IELTS on Computer, the Listening, Reading and Writing tests are done using a computer at an IELTS test centre. The Speaking test is still carried out face to face with the examiner, just like in the IELTS on Paper test format. For IELTS Online, it has the same test content as the other formats, but can be taken remotely from anywhere. 

TOEFL is conducted in its Internet-based test (iBT) format, launched in 2005, with its paper-based and computer-based tests now phased out. You have two options to take this test, at a test centre or at home. 

Meanwhile, PTE Academic’s formats come in the form of computer-based tests taken at a test centre, as well as an online version. 

One difference between these tests lies in the speaking component. IELTS Online conducts the Speaking test real-time via an online video call with an actual examiner, offering more of a human touch, while TOEFL iBT and PTE Online only record your answers through a microphone. 

You’ll also find that for UK visas and immigration (UKVI), IELTS has long been the preferred test qualification, with PTE being relatively new to the game. For Canada immigration however, PTE is still not accepted as of May 2023, while IELTS is already a recognised test. 

4. Score assessment 

This is a crucial aspect of your English proficiency test. In the IELTS test, scores are given in bands ranging from 0 to 9. You will receive band scores for each of the listening, reading, writing and speaking components, as well as an overall score, which is the average of the four component scores. 

For the TOEFL iBT test, scores are graded from 0 to 30, with a maximum overall score of 120.  

Meanwhile, the PTE test is scored on a scale of 10 to 90 with 90 representing the highest level of language proficiency. Unlike IELTS, which calculates your average score on the four components, PTE factors in fluency in speaking, pronunciation, spelling, and vocabulary. 

The simplicity and transparency of the IELTS scoring system make it an attractive option for candidates seeking an English proficiency test, especially for LPDP scholarship registration. 

5. Speed of getting your test result 

How soon you get your results depends on which test you decide on, and what format. 

For IELTS, the IELTS on Computer format provides results within 1–5 days, IELTS on Paper within 13 days, and IELTS Online within 3–6 days after you take the test. 

On other hand, TOEFL test results are usually released within 4–8 days if taken at a test centre or at home. If you request a paper copy of your report, it will be mailed 11–15 days after your test date, with actual arrival depending on the delivery services. Meanwhile, PTE gives you your results around 5 days after the exam. 

Receiving your test results quickly can also help with other registration documents – IELTS test results can be used to apply for universities worldwide, work abroad, or migrate to an English-speaking country.

Register for your English proficiency test with IELTS by IDP

IELTS vs TOEFL vs PTE – which English test is the best for LPDP?

Before you hit the submit button to send in your English test results, you should make sure your score meets the requirements for the 2024 LPDP scholarship. Check them against the minimum IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE scores for LPDP

If you decide on the IELTS test with its multiple convenient test locations and schedule options provided by IDP, make sure to prepare and achieve your best possible score. 

You can take advantage of the various free preparation resources provided by IDP.  

Take a step closer to furthering your studies through the LPDP scholarship and register for your IELTS test with IDP today.