IELTS and PTE are popular English-based exams that allow students to study abroad. One can clear this exam and study in any university he or she wishes, given the test is accepted in that particular institute. However, which will be a better exam is the question of almost every candidate. 

The key difference separating IELTS and PTE is that the latter is given from a computer while the former offers both online and paper-based methods of taking the test. Moreover, PTE uses artificial intelligence in the evaluation process while IELTS is evaluated manually. Interested individuals can find more details on these exams in the next sections for better understanding. 

What is the IELTS Test?

IELTS or International English Language Testing System is an English proficiency test that all aspiring candidates must take to immigrate abroad. This test assesses the ability of the test takers to communicate in the foreign language along with their speaking, reading, writing and listening English skills. 

This exam is divided into two sections: Academic and General. In both types of exams, listening and speaking question patterns are the same. However, the subject matter for the reading and writing section varies. Moreover, the candidates must complete all of their tasks in a single day except those involved in the speaking section. It means candidates can complete speaking components a week before or after their test. The purpose of the two IELTS types is as follows:

IELTS General Test: Candidates take up this test when they want to relocate to major English speaking nations like Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom. It allows them to get admission to secondary school and training programmes. Also, one can get work experience using this test.

IELTS Academic Test: IELTS academics help apply for education courses in other countries. Also, one can carry professional registration using this test.

PTE Vs IELTS: Which Is Better?

Overview of IELTS Exam Pattern

The following is the detail of what can a candidate expect under different sections of IELTS exams and the possible question types:


Under the listening section, candidates have to face four tasks. Among these four, one task comprises a recording listening to which the applicant must answer 10 questions. Moreover, individuals get 30 minutes to answer 40 questions in total and 10 minutes extra to transfer their answers. The question types include:

  • Short answers
  • Complete sentences
  • Matching
  • MCQs
  • Summary completion
  • Plan 


The speaking section involves a face-to-face interview with the examiner where they check the fluency of candidates in 11 to 14 minutes. The topic can be about anything. There is no specific question type here. However, be prepared with a short introduction about yourself. 


Test takers get 60 minutes in the IELTS reading section, where they must answer 40 questions. The question types include:

  • MCQs
  • Matching
  • Sentence completion
  • Identifying data
  • Summary
  • Short answer question
  • Diagram question


In this section, candidates need to take up 2 tasks and complete them within 40 minutes. One task includes writing an answer of 150 words in 20 minutes, while the second task involves an essay of 250 words which he/she must complete in 40 minutes. The question type that candidates have to write in task 1 includes a letter, while in task 2, they must present an essay in response to a view or an argument. 

Who Accepts IELTS?

IELTS is an English proficiency exam with a global acceptance, considered by over 11000 organisations and over 140 countries. In other words, more universities and governments from across the globe enlist this English language test on their site. 

What is the PTE Test?

PTE or Pearson Test of English evaluates the understanding of the English language of a candidate. Through this test, an institute judges whether a student is fit to study at their campus where the main language of instruction is English. In addition, this test demonstrates applicants’ English writing and speaking skills at an academic level. 

As the credibility of this test is quite high, many colleges, organisations and government institutes use it. In fact, under Pearson Education Ltd, there are 33 vocational and academic qualifications. However, here are the details of only two types of PTE tests:

PTE General: This test is not associated with immigration purposes. Students pursue it only for learning and, under certain circumstances, for work purposes. 

PTE Academic: It is recognised for study and immigration purposes if they target English-speaking nations like Australia, the USA, New Zealand, and the UK. 


Overview of PTE Academic Exam Pattern

There are three broad categories that a student has to face in this exam which include reading, speaking & writing, and listening sections. An overview of each section is as below:


PTE Reading section tests how well the vocabulary of the test takers is. They get 32 to 40 minutes, during which they have to take up objective questions. The following are the categories of questions one may find here:

  • Reading – fill in the blanks
  • Reading and writing – fill in the blanks
  • Re-arrange the paragraphs
  • MCQs (Single and multiple answers)

Speaking & Writing

In the PTE speaking and writing section, the examiners have clubbed two skill sections that a candidate must complete in 77 to 93 minutes. There are diverse tasks for test takers to complete, including reading aloud, introducing themselves, summarising texts, describing images, writing essays and others. The question type will include:

  • Retell structure 
  • Answer short question
  • Repeat sentence
  • Read aloud
  • Essay
  • Summarise written text
  • Describe image


In this section, candidates get 45 to 57 minutes under which they have to answer a series of questions based on video and audio clips. The following are the question types that candidates may face:

  • MCQs (single and multiple answers)
  • Summarise the audio content
  • Select missing words
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Highlight correct summary
  • Writing dictation
  • Highlight incorrect word

Who Accepts PTE Academic?

PTE academics is a popular exam that institutes consider in different parts of the world but has a lower acceptance than IELTS. In other words, selected universities and governments allow it. So, an individual must be aware of where he or she stands after conversion of PTE to IELTS score. One can also check out this conversion chart for PTE to IELTS scores if he or she wishes to know more. 

By knowing about these tests in detail, candidates can clear their minds and decide which tests they want. Where PTE can benefit candidates through its fast and fair results, IELTS has a wider acceptance. So, candidates must make their own list of pros and cons and finally decide which exam will be better for them.  

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Gary is a TEFL certified English language instructor and teacher trainer. He has a strong academic background and a rich experience in teaching students of diverse cultures. He likes helping learners to overcome their English learning barriers. His strengths are in creating a positive learning environment, applying learners centered strategies, and having a passion for teaching. He teaches in a state school in Orlando.


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