Computer-delivered IELTS vs. PTE-A

IELTS vs PTE Academic: how do they compare?

The first difference between IELTS and PTE-A (Pearson Test of English – Academic) is that IELTS is paper-based and computer-delivered. PTE-A is only available on computer. 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.

Compare IELTS vs PTE-A | Price

IELTS

PTE Academic

$340$340
$340 (no additional fee for late bookings)$425 (for late bookings)

Read more on how much IELTS costs

Compare IELTS vs PTE-A | Test format

IELTS

PTE Academic

The IELTS General Training test features everyday English in a social or workplace context and is for test takers applying for secondary education, work experience or training programs in an English speaking country.

The IELTS Academic test features academic English and tasks for test takers applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking country.

PTE Academic uses academically relevant tasks to measure skills in an integrated way. It is a test of English for study abroad and immigration.

Check which test you need to take

Compare IELTS vs PTE-A | Acceptance

IELTS

PTE Academic

IELTS is accepted globally by more than 10,000 organisations including universities, professional bodies, employers, and Australian student visa and migration applications.

The IELTS General Training test is the only non-academic test of English accepted for migration to Australia.

PTE Academic is accepted for study applications by thousands of academic programs globally and is approved for all Australian student visa and migration applications.

It is accepted by an increasing number of professional associations around the world for registration and assessment.

Who accepts IELTS in Australia?

Compare IELTS vs PTE-A | Speaking test

IELTS

PTE Academic

The IELTS Speaking test is face-to-face with a human examiner in a private and quiet room with no other test takers.

IELTS Speaking examiners may repeat or rephrase a question upon request.

PTE Academic test takers are tested by their ability to produce spoken English in an academic environment (reading aloud in a partitioned booth with other test takers in the room).

The Speaking test microphone will switch off automatically if a test taker is silent for more than 3 seconds.

Why is it better to speak with a person than a computer?

Compare IELTS vs PTE-A | Navigation through questions

IELTS

PTE Academic

In computer-delivered IELTS you may skip questions and come back to them to complete or check your answer at a later time.In PTE Academic you can only navigate forward through questions and you must correct mistakes before moving onto the next question.

Access a free computer-delivered IELTS mock test

Compare IELTS vs PTE-A | Length of the test

IELTS

PTE Academic

  • Writing (60 minutes)
  • Reading (60 minutes)
  • Listening (30-36 minutes)
  • Speaking (11-14 minutes)
  • Maximum total test time: 170 minutes
  • Part 1: Speaking and writing (77-93 minutes)
  • Part 2: Reading (32-41 minutes)
  • Part 3: Listening (45-57 minutes)
  • Maximum total test time: 191 minutes

Download more than 20 pages of IELTS tips

Compare IELTS vs PTE-A | Marking

IELTS

PTE Academic

The IELTS Writing and Speaking tests are marked by English experts following global marking standards. The Reading and Listening tests are auto-marked.All tests in PTE Academic are machine scores using PTE Academic’s automated scoring system.

Read how machine scoring on Speaking tests can be biased

Read how native English speakers fail machine scoring

Compare IELTS vs PTE-A | Results turnaround

IELTS

PTE Academic

  • 5-7 calendar days
  • 5 business days

Quicker results with IELTS on computer

Sources
  1. Source: PTE Academic, 2018. Test Centres & Fees | PTE Academic. Available at: https://pearsonpte.com/the-test/test-centers-and-fees.
  2. Source: PTE Academic, 2018. Test Centres & Fees | PTE Academic. Available at: https://pearsonpte.com/the-test/test-centers-and-fees.
  3. Source: PTE Academic, 2018. Why PTE Academic? | PTE Academic. Available at: https://pearsonpte.com/why-pte-academic.
  4. Source: PTE Academic, 2018. Why PTE Academic? | PTE Academic. Available at: https://pearsonpte.com/why-pte-academic.
  5. Source: PTE Academic, 2018. English Speaking, Writing & Grammar Test | PTE Academic. Available at: https://pearsonpte.com/the-test/format/english-speaking-writing.
  6. Source: PTE Academic, 2018. Test FAQs | PTE Academic. Available at: https://pearsonpte.com/the-test/faqs.
  7. Source: PTE Academic, 2018. Test FAQs | PTE Academic. Available at: https://pearsonpte.com/the-test/faqs.
  8. Source: PTE Academic, 2018. English Test Format | PTE Academic. Available at: https://pearsonpte.com/the-test/format.
  9. Source: PTE Academic, 2018. How Is The Test Scored? | PTE Academic. Available at: https://pearsonpte.com/the-test/about-our-scores/how-is-the-test-scored.
  10. Source: PTE Academic, 2018. Why PTE Academic? | PTE Academic. Available at: https://pearsonpte.com/why-pte-academic.

As compare to PTE, I am really happy with IELTS. I proudly prefer my friends and family members to take IELTS in future also.
Jay from Melbourne (read his story)

What are the differences between IELTS and PTE-A?

 

The first difference between IELTS and PTE-A (Pearson Test of English – Academic) is that IELTS is paper-based and computer-delivered. PTE-A is only available on computer. 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 PTEA.

  • One of the biggest differences is that IELTS has a computer-delivered test as well as a paper-based test. PTA-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 10,000 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.
  • 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 other doing the same around you.
  • The test fee for both IELTS and PTE-A is the same. Both tests charge $340 in Australia, but with PTA-A you pay $425 if you book late.
  • The length of the exam is also about the same, the PTE-A test takes 3 hours and 11 minutes, whilst IELTS takes a total of 2 hours and 50 minutes. This makes the test time in IELTS a little bit shorter.
  • 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. PTA-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.
  • Finally, the results. Nobody likes to wait for their test results. Traditionally, IELTS always released results 13 days after the test. This has changed with computer-delivered IELTS. If you did IELTS on computer, you get your results in 5-7 calendar days. With PTA-A you get the results in 5 business days.

Computer-delivered IELTS

New features

  • Highlight text and make notes
  • Copy & paste directly from your text and notes
  • Browse forward and backward through your questions
  • Automatic word count for your Writing test

See what computer-delivered IELTS looks like

Free practice materials

  • Free practice tests
  • Free coaching videos
  • Free IELTS Masterclasses
  • Free IELTS support tools

View our free practice materials

So, which test is easier – IELTS or PTE-A?

Both IELTS and the PTE-A tests are English proficiency tests. IELTS has been around for more than 30 years, so there is a lot of material available that can help you understand the test and prepare for the test.

Speaking

If you are worried about your speaking skills, IELTS might be the better option. For example, the IELTS speaking test is face-to-face, in a quiet room, with a real, human examiner. For a test-taker it is the most effective way of assessing your speaking skills. And, it prompts a more lifelike performance. So, you don’t struggle to be heard above a noisy test room. It also means that you can ask an examiner questions. Or, you can ask the examiner to repeat or rephrase questions. With PTE-A your speaking skills are assessed by a computer. Sometimes native speakers perform worse when marked by a computer. During the test, you speak into a microphone in the same room as other test takers.

Also, the IELTS Speaking test is a conversation with another person. The IELTS speaking test is in three parts. Unlike PTE, that comes in five parts, you don’t have to describe a graph or a complex image in a limited time. With PTE, for example, you may only have 25 seconds to study the image and prepare your response. This can add pressure. So, if you prefer a more relaxed environment to do your Speaking test, IELTS is the better choice.

Writing or typing?

Another choice you need to make is typing vs writing. If you are not comfortable typing, then PTE-A or IELTS on computer might not be the right choice for you. However, you can still do paper-based IELTS and write your answers.

Navigating the questions

So, what about the test itself? It it easier to do IELTS or PTE-A? In PTE Academic you can only navigate forward through questions. This means you should correct mistakes before moving onto the next question. For spoken answers, you are only able to record your response once. With IELTS, on the other hand, you can navigate back and through the questions within the Listening test, the Reading test and the Writing test. So, if you have some time left over at the end of the Reading test, you can go back and check your first answer in the Reading test. This flexibility to correct your answers may improve your score.

Academic tests

PTE offers an Academic English language proficiency test. IELTS, on the other hand, also offers an Academic English test along with a General Training test that is designed for migration purposes. IELTS is the only test that offers a general variant for immigration to Australia. So, if you need to do a test for immigration purposes, check whether you can do a general training test instead of an academic test.

What is the easiest English language test?

As we wrote at the start, both IELTS and the PTE-A tests are English proficiency tests. A test is never easy, even if English is your native language. We always recommend you practise and prepare. When it comes down to the test itself? Compare both tests in the table above.