Exams Know-how

PTE vs IELTS: Know the Difference & Which is Easier?

Yocket Editorial Team

In the quest for higher education abroad, testing for English language proficiency is a key qualifier for all candidates to gain admission to an international university of choice. IELTS Academic and TOEFL® iBT have been the go-to examination for study-abroad aspirants. The IELTS is jointly administered by The British Council, IDP and Cambridge Assessment English. Whereas the TOEFL is conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS). But, lately, the Pearson Test of English (PTE) has also gained popularity in showcasing English proficiency for abroad admission.

When deciding on English language tests, one of the key questions that aspirants struggle with is: Which test to go for between IELTS, PTE, and TOEFL? Which is easier IELTS or PTE? What is the difference between IELTS and PTE? 

In this article, we are focusing on the IELTS and PTE exams. It compares IELTS and PTE along all the significant aspects like pattern, structure, score comparison, etc. Thereby helping you answer the question—which test would be the best fit based on your skills and requirements?

Table of Contents

PTE vs IELTS: An Overview

Even though IELTS and PTE both tests are both used for evaluating a candidate’s English proficiency and skills, here are a some differences between them:

  • IELTS has the option of a classical pen and paper test and a computer-based test, available in different slots. Thus, a test-taker can choose the mode of examination that they are comfortable with. In comparison, PTE offers only the computer-based test. 
  • Both the exams PTE vs IELTS tests the same fundamental language skills viz. Speaking, Writing, Reading, and Listening. And neither of the tests is easier than the other, except for the differences in the mode of examination and the pattern.
  • The total time for both exams is 3 hours. The IELTS comprises four sections with comparatively longer tasks, while the PTE comprises numerous short tasks across three sections. PTE, compared to IELTS, has a heavier emphasis on Speaking and Writing.

The main difference between IELTS and PTE is that IELTS offer a choice between a paper-based exam and a computer-delivered exam, Whereas the PTE test is all computer-based and marked by a machine. Also, with IELTS, the speaking section is conducted in the form of a face-to-face talk with an examiner, but with PTE, a candidate has to speak to the computer.

Countries and Universities Accepting PTE

Next, let’s check the PTE vs IELTS pattern. 

PTE vs IELTS: Exam Pattern & Structure

While preparing for language examinations, understanding the nuances of the examination pattern, its sections, structure, and the time requirement is critical when planning for success. This section is focused on providing exactly that information.

In the IELTS exam, four test sections are sequenced in the following order:

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking

While in the PTE exam, there are three test sections which are sequenced as follows:

  • Speaking and Writing (Combined Section)
  • Reading
  • Listening

The details of the various sections for PTE vs IELTS are summarized in the table below:





In a section which varies between 45 and 57 minutes answering a series of questions which are based on audio and video clips.

Students need to answer 40 questions in 30 minutes across four recordings


In 32 to 40 minutes, complete objective exercises such as MCQs, filling up blanks and sequencing paragraphs of texts

Students have to answer 40 questions in 30 minutes across 3 texts


These two sections are merged in the PTE over a period of 77 to 93 minutes. Students must complete diverse tasks, such as introducing themselves, reading aloud, describing images, summarising texts, and writing essays.

There are two essays to be written in 60 minutes. The first is analysing a visual graph/data, while the second is an argumentative task to discuss a point of view.


This task of 15 minutes requires students to speak to the examiner about themselves, give an opinion about a topic, or finally discuss abstract concepts

With this, the difference in the PTE vs IELTS pattern is clear. Next, let’s explore the score comparison between the two. 

PTE Exam Pattern and Syllabus

PTE vs IELTS: Score Comparison

IELTS is graded on a scale of 0 to 9 with a gap of 0.5 for each section and then averaged for the four sections where universities accept minimum scores of 6.0 and 6.5. Candidates are awarded a band score for each section and an average score based on the band score of each of the sections.

PTE scores candidates on a scale of 10 to 90 using a global scale of English, where universities prefer a minimum of 55 to 60. Like in IELTS, candidates who give the PTE get a detailed section-wise breakdown.

The table below compares PTE vs IELTS score.

PTE Score






















What is the validity of the IELTS and PTE scores? Both IELTS and PTE scores remain valid for a period of two (2) years.

Now you know the comparison between PTE vs IELTS score. Overall, the PTE is a machine-evaluated examination, and the margin for error in the evaluation is almost negligible. Next, let’s check out the PTE vs IELTS difference based on cost, academic criteria, etc. 

Colleges Accepting PTE Below 5

IELTS vs PTE: Exam Cost and Acceptance

Both IELTS and PTE tests’ differences based on cost and acceptance are: 

  • PTE vs IELTS Price: Both IELTS and PTE costs are almost equal for an examination. The IELTS costs INR 15,500, while the PTE costs INR 13,300, including GST.
  • PTE vs IELTS Acceptance: IELTS is still far more universally applicable, with an acceptance across 10,000 universities spanning 140 countries. The PTE has been gaining popularity since it was introduced in 2009. The trends indicate that PTE is gaining more acceptance in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.


Difference Between IELTS and PTE Academic Criteria

Every candidate wants to find which test would be the best fit for them. We urge candidates to give at least one mock test in each before and note their PTE scores compared to IELTS scores, deciding finally which is the best fit.

The primary factor is the acceptance of the test score by the targeted university or country. Some universities only accept specific test scores for language proficiency. Also, the language proficiency test score plays a vital role during the student visa process. Immigration departments of different countries specifically mention which are the accepted test scores.

There are a few nuanced differences between IELTS and PTE based on academics. Academically there are four key criteria for you to keep in mind when choosing between the two:

  • Comfort with Examination Type: If you are familiar with the written examination format, then IELTS would be comfortable, while if you are sure you have the agility to manipulate a digital UI, then PTE would be preferred.
  • Agility in Solving: If you are capable of solving a lot of questions quickly, then PTE, compared with IELTS, would be the examination to choose.
  • Comfort with Writing: IELTS would be a good bet if you can manage writing analytically very quickly, given the heavy focus it places on this skill.
  • Your Speaking Accent: The PTE evaluates the speaking section with pronunciation as the prime criterion. Hence, if you speak with a thickish accent, then IELTS would be the preferred option.

The overall suggestion is that based on your evaluation of the above four criteria and the faring in the mock test, you can choose which examination would be ideal for you.

Difference Between IELTS and IELTS UKVI

The Administrative Factors Difference Between IELTS and PTE: 

In addition to the above academic factors, there are certain administrative or operational advantages of taking the PTE, especially if you need to give the test within a few days and report scores to a university within a week. The super short booking time for PTE and the average results delivery within two days could provide the edge over IELTS, especially when you have deadlines to meet. Furthermore, the PTE can be retaken within five days of the previous attempt, which is something to think about if you're especially nervous about giving the examination for the first time.

However, the availability of test centres is higher for IELTS and can be a crucial factor if you’re giving the examination in a gap of a few days and need to travel to a nearby city for the test.

Duolingo vs IELTS vs TOEFL

Even if you are able to answer the question of which is easy? IELTS or PTE. Either way, you must remember that each examination requires students to prepare to take on the pattern and structure posed for each, which requires intensive practice over some time, even if the score in the mock tests is pretty high. 

Once you make your decision and achieve a desired IELTS or PTE score, connect with our well-trained counsellors to begin the other steps in your study abroad journey, like filling out a university application, scholarship/loan application, visa application, profile building, etc. You just need to subscribe to Yocket Premium. They will surely make your study abroad journey a smooth and fruitful ride! 

Frequently Asked Questions on IELTS vs PTE

Ques. How many questions do PTE and IELTS writing tasks include? 

Ans. The IELTS writing section includes 2 tasks, whereas the PTE writing section includes 2-4 questions. 

Ques. How many attempts for IELTS and PTE have?

Ans. There is no limit on the number of attempts for the IELTS and PTE exams. A candidate can give PTE exam again within a gap of 5 days. But a candidate will have to pay the exam fee again for every attempt. 

Ques. What is difference between IELTS and PTE test-taking rules?

Ans. In the PTE exam, a candidate must answer a question, and then they can move to the next. However, in the case of IELTS, a candidate can skip the questions and return to them later to answer. 

Ques. PTE vs IELTS which is easy? 

Ans. Neither of the two exams can be considered easy or difficult. However, keeping the difference in pattern/structure in mind, people might find one easier to take than the other. Also, IELTS has fixed no. of questions, whereas PTE follows an adaptive approach. 

Ques. Can I go to Canada with PTE? 

Ans. Yes, PTE is accepted in Canada for international students. 

Also Read: 

IELTS Exam Syllabus and Pattern 2023

PTE Accepting Universities UK

How to Prepare IELTS at Home?

PTE Coaching India

Articles you might like