Convert PTE to IELTS scores

Concordance Tables for Organisations – Updated 2021

IELTS sets the standard for high-stakes language testing. On this page, we’ll help organisations understand how other tests, like PTE, compare to IELTS. Check the official alignment of IELTS band scores vs PTE-A scores here.

Converting PTE-A scores to IELTS band scores

How to link PTE to IELTS band scores?

The table below summarises the IELTS and PTE equivalencies. It’s based on a lengthy study conducted by the IELTS Partners from 2018 to 2020. We encourage test users to review the full report to understand this equivalency study.

IELTS results are reported on a 9-band scale. They are designed to be simple and easy to understand. IELTS reports as band scores on a scale from 1 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest). Conversely, PTE Academic (PTE-A) scores against their own “Global Scale of English”. This is a granular score scale from 10 to 90.

The following is a simplified conversion table between IELTS and PTE-A. Check the full conversion table.

Information for test takers

Does your organisation require specific subscores for Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking?

Your organisations requires a subscore for Writing

Converting PTE-A Writing score to IELTS Writing band score

The IELTS Test Report Form provides your overall band score and band scores for each of the four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. If your organisation requires applicants to provide evidence of a specific language skill, use the following tables find the IELTS vs PTE score comparison.

See how IELTS is scored

Your organisations requires a subscore for Speaking

Converting PTE-A Speaking score to IELTS Speaking band score

The IELTS Test Report Form provides your overall band score and band scores for each of the four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. If your organisation requires applicants to provide evidence of a specific language skill, use the following tables find the IELTS vs PTE score comparison.

See how IELTS is scored

Your organisations requires a subscore for Reading

Converting PTE-A Reading score to IELTS Reading band score

The IELTS Test Report Form provides your overall band score and band scores for each of the four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. If your organisation requires applicants to provide evidence of a specific language skill, use the following tables find the IELTS vs PTE score comparison.

See how IELTS is scored

Your organisations requires a subscore for Listening

Converting PTE-A Listening score to IELTS Listening band score

The IELTS Test Report Form provides your overall band score and band scores for each of the four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. If your organisation requires applicants to provide evidence of a specific language skill, use the following tables find the IELTS vs PTE score comparison.

See how IELTS is scored

New IELTS band score concordance based on research

Making comparisons between scores on different tests is challenging. That’s because test products differ in their design, purpose, and format. And, the greater the difference in design the more problematic the exercise is. Nonetheless, test score users (such as Universities, Governments and professional bodies) are often interested to know how, for practical purposes, results on two differing tests may compare.

Investigating the Relationship between Pearson PTE Scores and IELTS Bands

This report summarises the findings of a small-scale empirical study intended to explore the relationship between scores on the IELTS test and scores on the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), conducted as part of a programme of work exploring the comparability of different approaches to test design.

Download the full report

* Saville, N., O’Sullivan, B, & Clark. T. (Eds.) (2021). Investigating the relationship between IELTS and PTE-Academic. IELTS Partnership Research Papers: Studies in Test Comparability Series, No. 2. IELTS Partners: British Council, Cambridge Assessment English and IDP: IELTS Australia..

Official Concordance Table between IELTS and PTE

Updated in 2021

IELTS vs PTE score conversion table - updated 2021 - PTE-A and IELTS concordance

See the alignment of IELTS band scores and Pearson PTE scores (Equipercentile Equating)

Equipercentile linking with presmoothing, as described in Kolen & Brennan (2014), was chosen as the analytic method for further analysis of the data. This approach to smoothing is advantageous in that indices are available for evaluating the goodness of fit and therefore of the linking. The linking was carried out using the RAGE-RGEQUATE software (Zeng,  Kolen, Hanson, Cui, & Chien, 2004). The output may be found in the appendices of the technical report and is summarised in table 2 below.

IELTS
PTE-A Overall 
PTE-A Listening 
PTE-A Reading
PTE-A Speaking
PTE-A Writing 
5 40.8 40.2 43 40.2 43.1
5.5 45.4 42.7 47.9 42.2 51
6 51.6 48.1 53.5 46.2 62.2
6.5 58.5 56.8 60.6 53.5 74.1
7 66.3 66.2 67.8 65.3 82.3
7.5 74.6 73.9 73.7 75.3 87.5
8 82.3 79.4 78.4 80.9 89.4
8.5 88.1 84.7 83.7 85.5 89.5

How should your organisation use the 2021 IELTS vs PTE score equivalencies?

  • IELTS 7.0 (no sub-band less than 7.0)

To ensure your applicants meet your English language requirements, your PTE-A equivalent score should be:

  • A minimum PTE-A overall score of 66, and
  • Minimum of 66 in Listening; 67 in Reading; 65 in Speaking; and 82 in Writing
  • IELTS 6.5 (no sub-band less than 6.0)

To ensure your applicants meet your English language requirements, your PTE-A equivalent score should be:

  • A minimum PTE-A overall score of 58, and
  • Minimum of 48 in Listening; 53 in Reading; 46 in Speaking; and 62 in Writing

Frequently Asked Questions
Linking PTE Academic to IELTS

What is IELTS' recommendation for organisations using English language test scores?
What is IELTS’ recommendation for organisations using English language test scores?

The table below provides an empirical basis for institutions wishing to compare applicants who have taken the different tests in terms of identifying the broadly defined level of ability at which they are placed.

IELTS vs PTE score conversion table - updated 2021 - PTE-A and IELTS concordance

Individual institutions should  consider a range of evidence when setting standards for their specific purposes. That’s because the range of activities sampled by different tests (and the depth in which they do so) differs. Therefore, the applicability of scores may vary, depending on the range of activities in which applicants will typically be engaged.

Setting the score

Three recommendations you institution could consider:

  • Focus on the overall band score

IELTS’ recommendation is for organisations accepting both IELTS & PTE-A to focus on overall band scores instead of subscores.

  • Consider carefully the most appropriate score for your organisation

IELTS’ recommendation is to evaluate the costs of setting the wrong scores, in terms of additional learning required, or in terms of security, safety and risk.

  • Understand how to set the right score for your needs

IELTS’ recommendation is the use of the IELTS 2021 study benchmarks.  If your organisation requires subscores, we recommend a standard setting exercise to ensure that you  get people who meet your specific skill requirements whilst remaining fair to all test takers.

There are different concordance reports. Which should we use?
There are different concordance reports linking PTE to IELTS. Which should we use?

Pearson have undertaken studies comparing the performance of test takers taking both Pearson and IELTS tests in 2009 and in 2020 (with somewhat different outcomes). The latest study highlights that at the higher end of the IELTS band scores, the concordant PTE scores have been inaccurate.

IELTS research, released at an Australian conference in September 2020, showed there was significant and concerning variability between the commonly accepted PTE benchmarks (based on PTE’s own 2009 concordances) and IELTS’ new study findings. Following our research, PTE released their own study in December. Prima facie, PTE seems to agree with IELTS’ study that PTE-A scores at the higher IELTS bands had been incorrect linked. But, they also changed score equivalencies to IELTS at the lower end of the scale. Based on the 2021 “Investigating the Relationship between Pearson PTE Scores and IELTS Bands” report, these equivalencies remain inaccurate.

Recommendation

IELTS recommends the use of the concordance table below for the following reasons:

  • IELTS’ alignment of IELTS band scores with Pearson PTE scores is based on a statistically significant sample size. Conversely, the 2020 PTE report (p. 8) attempts to draws conclusions based on a very small sample size.
  • The IELTS study relies on all scores validated with official Test Report Forms. PTE’s findings, on the other hand, rely on the majority of test takers self-reporting their scores. This could result in an higher error margin
  • Although the PTE report states (p. 6) that “overall scores and communicative skill subscores were collected and analysed,” it fails to provide organisations details. IELTS’ alignment of PTE scores to IELTS bands is provided at an overall and subscore level.

IELTS vs PTE score conversion table - updated 2021 - PTE-A and IELTS concordance

How do these changes impact test takers?
How do these changes impact test takers?

We have dedicated pages for test takers to find out how PTE’s score change may affect you.

For IELTS test takers

IELTS bands don’t change. Because IELTS is the global standard, other tests have linked their scores to IELTS. While there have been changes to how PTE scores are linked to IELTS, the IELTS band have remained unchanged.

IELTS is trusted by more than 11,000 immigration authorities, government agencies, universities and employers around the world. Find out who accepts IELTS in Australia and what the minimum band scores are for your university or institution.

For PTE test takers

There’s been a lot of chatter on forums and Facebook groups about PTE’s recent changes. Some test takers are worried about how the possible change will impact them. You can read more here.

When speaking to Australia’s SBS News, Voriganti Shakti Goud said this update was terrible news. “How come they increased five marks on PTE for Band 8 and one mark for Band 7? How did they previously accept 79 as Band 8? Each student has to appear six to 10 times to get 79 marks and now they have increased it to 84. It is really hard.” You can read the full article here.

Check computer-delivered IELTS vs PTE-A

IELTS scoring: Fair and trusted for more than 30 years

Every IELTS test is designed to take test takers forward. It ensures they’re ready for the conversations of their future. Ready to learn, share and collaborate through English. Because IELTS  assesses English in real life situations, it gives you a true understanding of a student’s ability to perform. Also, it’s why over 11,000 global organisations trust IELTS applicants are ready for their next step. IELTS supports successful futures at your organisation. Moreover, we share with you how we test, and we’re transparent in how we mark the test. So, for IELTS Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening, we’re open what our examiners look for.

  • Quality and fairness

IELTS invests heavily in the continued development of its test and the processes. Leading academics and researchers worldwide contribute to the continued development and improvement of IELTS. This is to ensure a fair assessment for all test takers. And, it is to ensure a reliable result for the organisations that depend on IELTS as a measure of English language skill.

  • Security and integrity

IELTS takes a multi-layered approach to test security, including a variety of measures taken before test day, on test day and after test day. We give recognised organisations access to a secure, online platform to verify IELTS results.

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Setting the score – Understanding what’s at stake when organisations lower the bar in English language testing

New research by the IELTS partners has shone a light on the importance of education institutions and organisations setting the right English language scores for their candidates. The research, conducted with over 500 test takers who had sat both IELTS and Pearson Test of English (PTE), showed there was significant and concerning variability between the commonly accepted PTE benchmarks and our 2020 study findings.

New research

The timely research comes as many organisations begin to review the stopgaps put in place when language testing was interrupted during the peak of the pandemic restrictions. The results showed the overall band scores were relatively comparable with the established PTE benchmarks, with only minor variations at the high band scores of IELTS 8 and above. However, when looking at the individual sub-scores (listening, reading, writing and speaking) of the two tests, the results differed greatly from previously published benchmark reports which are still relied upon by many organisations.

Warwick Freeland, Managing Director – IELTS, said the findings highlighted the importance of carefully examining the criteria of different test providers. “Language assessment is complex. Comparing scores between different test providers is even more so,” Mr Freeland said. “It is important we get it right,” he said.

“If candidates are accepted based on tests that don’t align, they risk being set up to fail if they cannot keep up in the classroom or work environment, in turn causing emotional stress.”
Warwick Freeland, Managing Director – IELTS

“This new research shows the benchmarks that are often used to compare scores from different language test suppliers may not be reliable.” “When accepting results from different test providers, it is important for institutions to be confident candidates are assessed on a like-for-like basis.”

Risks for organisations

Mr Freeland said there were social and financial risks for organisations and students when inaccurate and outdated test equivalencies are relied upon uncritically. “If candidates are accepted based on tests that don’t align, they risk being set up to fail if they cannot keep up in the classroom or work environment, in turn causing emotional stress.” “The financial and real-life risks for organisations who accept people without the language skills they need to be successful is also a real and significant risk.”

Compare IELTS bandscores with other tests

Some organisations may rely on more than one test for English language proficiency. However, comparing test scores is notoriously difficult. The following tables that provide an equivalency between IELTS, the Canadian Language Benchmarks, Cambridge Assessment English (CAE), and the CEFR are all based on extensive research. This will help organisations to have confidence that they are treating all test takers fairly and setting their applicants up for success.

Canadian Language Benchmarks and IELTS

Equivalencies between the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs) (for English) and the results of language tests from designated testing organisations have been established. To review the full equivalencies table, visit the Canadian Government website. This table below shows the official relationship between CLB and IELTS:

More about IELTS for Canada

CLB level IELTS Reading IELTS Writing IELTS Listening IELTS Speaking
10 8 7.5 8.5 7.5
9 7 7 8 7
8 6.5 6.5 7.5 6.5
7 6 6 6 6
6 5 5.5 5.5 5.5
5 4 5 5 5
4 3.5 4 4.5 4

Source: Government of Canada, cited 5 January 2020

Cambridge Assessment English (CAE) and IELTS

Cambridge Assessment English’s B2 First and C1 Advanced both report on the Cambridge English Scale. The table below shows the relationship between Cambridge English Scale and IELTS:

IELTS band score Cambridge English scale score
7.5 191
7 185
6.5 176
6 169
5.5 162
5 154

Source: Comparing scores to IELTS B2 First and C1 Advanced, Cambridge Assessment English, cited 5 January. 

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

IELTS test users may find the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) helpful. The framework is a series of descriptions of abilities at different learning levels that can be applied to any language. It can provide a starting point for interpreting and comparing different language qualifications and is increasingly used as a way of benchmarking language ability around the world.

We have created a PDF with more information about IELTS and the CEFR. It also includes an FAQ section to answer your most common questions.

Access IELTS and the CEFR