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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 studyexternal icon 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. In 2022, IELTS introduced One Skill Retake - a feature unique to IELTS that allows organisations to offer flexibility to test takers who may not have performed at their best on the test day. One Skill Retake results use the same 9-band scale as a full IELTS test.

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

Convert IELTS Overall Bandscore to PTE-A score


Information for test takers

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 reportexternal icon

* 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

IELTSPTE-A (overall)PTE-A (listening)PTE-A (reading)PTE-A (speaking)PTE-A (writing)

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 reportexternal icon.

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

IELTS scoring: Fair and trusted for more than 30 years


IELTS assessing applicants in real life situations

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 11,500 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 contributeexternal icon to the continued development and improvement of IELTS. This is to ensure a fair assessmentexternal icon 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 resultsexternal icon.

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 researchexternal icon, 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 websiteexternal icon. This table below shows the official relationship between CLB and IELTS: More about IELTS for Canada

CLB levelIELTS ReadingIELTS WritingIELTS ListeningIELTS Speaking

Source: Government of Canadaexternal icon, 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 scoreCambridge English scale score

Source: Comparing scores to IELTS B2 First and C1 Advancedexternal icon, 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 Languagesexternal icon (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 CEFRexternal icon