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Migrating to Australia - should you take IELTS or PTE?


Is the IELTS a better choice vs PTE for Australian immigration? This is a question you should think about if you’re a working professional looking for career opportunities or international student seeking further education.

To migrate to Australia, you must first prove your fluency in English.

This is done by taking a language proficiency test – be it the Pearson Test of English (PTE) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test.

What Is PTE?

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

These tests have only begun to be accepted in recent years by governments like Australia and New Zealand for visa purposes.

PTE-takers will have to sit for the Academic version of the test for visa applications in Australia.

What Is IELTS?

Set as the golden standard for English proficiency tests, IELTS was launched in 1980 and evaluates the fluency of English in both written and spoken formats.

Accepted by over 11,500 institutions in more than 140 countries, IELTS is the most recognised test of its kind, and the most popular. It has both paper-based and computer-based versions of its test, which is split into four sections: speaking, writing, listening and reading.

If you lean towards reliability and decide to go with this test, the suitable IELTS for Australian immigration is General Training.


PTE vs IELTS for Australia PR - which to take

Now that you have a slightly better idea about your test options, you might be wondering which one you should take.

If you have yet to make up your mind, read on to explore some key differences between the two tests.

1. IELTS General Training marked by live English experts

As the PTE is conducted, evaluated and marked by a computer-automated scoring system, there is no human involvement in the marking process.

Although you may not feel like it's a big deal to have humans involved in the grading process, it is actually more important than you think!

After all, an automated system may not be able to capture nuances to understand you as well as an actual person can. There would be a bit more flexibility in marking, whereas AI will be more rigid in assessment with only one true answer. This may have more impact on the Reading and Speaking components of the test.

This is the case for IELTS, which has English experts assessing test takers.

Besides that, IELTS allows you to skip questions and come back to them later to avoid wasting time. However, with PTE, you’ll be required to answer the question before you can move on to the next one.


2. IELTS has a global reach and established trust

As compared to IELTS, PTE is a much newer test, and not as widely recognised globally.

If you want the greatest reach possible in your application, IELTS is the way to go.

Over 11,500 organisations worldwide trust IELTS’ evaluation of English language skills while around 3,000 organisations accept the PTE.

If you are looking for the widest breadth of acceptance from a test, IELTS will be the right choice. The last thing you want is for your certification to not be recognised, and still ending up needing to take the IELTS test.

3. IELTS offers the option of paper and pen test

If you’re more comfortable with using pen and paper to write your answers, then IELTS would be a better option.

This is because PTE is available only on computer, whereas with IELTS you will have the flexibility to choose between taking your test on computer or paper in many locations globally.

4. IELTS use in Australia

IELTS is the most popular English language proficiency test in the world, and also for migrants to Australia. It is a requirement for Australian professional organisations and is widely accepted in the country.

Examples include the Australia Association of Social Workers and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Many vocational institutes also recognise and accept IELTS as proof of English proficiency.

Depending on the visa you’re trying to obtain, you’ll be required to achieve a specific minimum score on each skills portion of the test, which are reading, writing, listening and speaking.


Embark on your overseas adventure Down Under

Now that you understand the differences between IELTS and PTE, it’s time to make a choice! Either test is possible, but IELTS is the better option if you prefer to have the widest reach possible across Australian organisations.

When you’re ready to take your test, get started with IDP.

Besides being the official co-owner of IELTS, IDP offers convenient test locations and free test preparation materials to support you. Learn why you should take your IELTS test with us.

Book your IELTS test today to begin your journey.