In December 2020, Pearson released a new report. It compared PTE-A results to IELTS, the world’s gold-standard for English language tests. The report details that at an IELTS Band 7.0 to an IELTS Band 9.0, PTE-A test-takers will need a higher score to be equivalent to IELTS. You can read what you need to know and what others have said here.
We know you want to get the best possible test to demonstrate your language skills. Also, you want to get the scores you need for your visa or study. Let’s have a look at the differences between IELTS and PTE-A.
In short, the main difference between IELTS and PTE is that IELTS offer a choice between a paper-based exam or a computer-delivered exam. The PTE test is all computer-based and marked by a machine. With IELTS the speaking part takes the form of a face to face talk with an examiner and with PTE you speak to the computer.
One of the biggest differences is that IELTS has a computer-delivered test as well as a paper-based test. PTE-A is only available on a computer.
Both IELTS and PTE offer an Academic test. IELTS also offers a General Training test for migration in Australia.
IELTS is accepted globally by more than 11,000 organisations including universities, professional bodies, employers, and Australian student visa and migration applications. PTE is also accepted for study applications by thousands of academic programs globally and is approved for all Australian student visa and migration applications.
PTE made changed to the way their scores are linked to IELTS. You can read what this means for you.
Another key difference is the Speaking test. With IELTS, you do a speaking exam face-to-face with a real human. The PTE-A test requires you to speak in a microphone with others doing the same around you.
The test fee for IELTS is $375 in Australia. The price for the exam is the same whether you take IELTS General Training or IELTS Academic. There is no separate registration fee or payment processing fee. There is also no late payment fee. PTE-A also charges $375 but you pay $395 if you book late.
When you sit the test, in PTE there are many integrated questions such as listening and speaking in the speaking portion of the exam, or reading and writing in the reading part, or reading and speaking in the speaking part. In IELTS, your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills are assessed separately. So, your reading test only looks at your reading, and not speaking at the same time.
During the test, in PTE-A, you can only navigate forward through questions. You must correct mistakes before moving onto the next question. The individual questions are also timed. In computer-delivered IELTS you can skip questions and come back to them to complete. Or you can check your answer at a later time. IELTS doesn’t time the individual questions.
Another important difference is the marking of the test. PTE-A is automatically machine scored. With IELTS the reading and listening test are auto-marked, but the speaking and writing test are looked at by a real human. That’s because bias can occur by machine scoring some parts of the test. MIT university in the US researched how this bias can occur.
With 50 IELTS test locations around Australia, it’s easy to find an IELTS test venue in a location that suits you.