PTE have made changes to how they compare to IELTS. Will this impact you?

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PTE have made changes to how they compare their scores to IELTS, which has been reported by SBS to cause some confusion.

IELTS band scores won’t change. Choose IELTS

In December 2020, PTE-A changed their guidance on how their scores relate to IELTS, the world’s leading English language test. Will this impact you? Here’s what you need to know.

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.

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

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.
Voriganti Shakti Goud in SBS News

PTE have made changes to how they compare their scores to IELTS

Make sure you know the score you need.

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.

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Read what other people say about IELTS

Sahel T

Computer-delivered test taker, IDP Brisbane 5 stars

“Overall it was a really good experience. I had the computer based test and really happy with the way it was conducted. The staff were all nice and friendly and it helped relieve some of the pre exam stresses. I highly recommend this centre!”

Valeria O

Computer-delivered test taker, IDP Sydney 5 stars

“Doing the Computer-delivered IELTS at IDP Sydney was an enjoyable experience. The staff were really helpful and kind. The exam room had comfortable chairs and modern computers. Overall, doing the listening test with the headphones was much better than listening to a speaker in the classroom. The speaking test was also great, as it is only the candidate and the examiner in the room. I quickly received the results 3 days after the test. For all these reasons I highly recommend it! ”

Janos V

Computer-delivered test taker, IDP Brisbane 5 stars

“This new computer based test is awesome. Helped on my listening at least 30% better. I am a very slow writer so typing gave me a huge advantage too. I would recommend this test to anyone who has similar problems. Staff were very nice and helpful too.”

Furgu

completed IELTS Writing Assist 5 stars

“Thank you for the constructive feedback on my essays. This is something I have been looking for, for months, if not years… I wish I could have done this much earlier.”

Lina

Took IELTS Assist to get her score 5 stars

“In the Reading Assist Feedback, there are exact and detailed instructions about how to take actions to improve my weakness reading. I clearly got the ideas what I should do for each kind of questions within 60 minutes. I practices each type of questions several times and then did several complete reading test with a timer on. Finally, I felt I gained my confidence back. No matter what kind of questions, I can stay calm without panic.”

Foize N

Computer-delivered test taker, IDP Melbourne 5 stars

“I really appreciate how the IDP staff made me feel at home, especially during the speaking test. I was given a minute to take deep breaths and loosen up before Alex, the staff member who conducted the speaking test, turned the recorder on. He also gave a few seconds of "pep talk" to boost up my confidence, telling me that I could speak well if I were feeling relaxed. Those few seconds worked like magic! I can't thank him and the entire IDP staff enough.”

How does PTE compare to IELTS?

More than 3 million people take IELTS each year. And IELTS is available at more than 1,100 test centres globally, including 50 test venues in Australia.

See why people prefer IELTS

A test for migration

PTE only offer Academic. With IELTS, you choose your test: Academic for study, or General Training for migration.

Explore your options

IELTS band scores never shift

With IELTS, you know that your results will always be trusted. Choose the most reliable English test there is.

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See how we mark your test

PTE-A scoring is done by a computer. IELTS shares with you how we mark your test, and what’s important.

See the marking criteria

Free online preparation

Get a free online preparation course with your test booking. You can also access a IELTS practice tests marked by real IELTS experts.

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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. Now, let’s have a look at the differences between IELTS and PTE-A.

Test differences: PTE vs IELTS
  • First, 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.
  • Another key difference is the Speaking test. With IELTS, you do a Speaking test 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. This causes a lot of distraction and background noise.
  • 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.
More differences: PTE vs IELTS
  • 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.
  • 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. But, 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.
And you may want to think about these differences between PTE and IELTS
  • The test fee for both IELTS and PTE-A is the same. Both tests charge $375 in Australia, but with PTE-A you pay $395 if you book late.
  • 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 2-5 calendar days. With PTE-A you get the results in 5 business days.

Trusted results: Book IELTS

Updated IELTS vs PTE concordance studies: What does this mean for organisations that accept the tests?

In December 2020, PTE announced some significant changes to the PTE-A and IELTS concordance table. What does this mean for you? There is an important adjustment to PTE scores at the higher end of the scale. For example, under this new guidance, the score that PTE indicated should be used as an equivalent to an IELTS 8.5 is now showing an equivalence to IELTS 7.5.

Adjusted recommendations at the lower end of the scale have also been provided. However, these changes are questionable as it’s based on a very small sample size. No information about consequent changes to the subscore concordance has been provided. IELTS has done its own research and has presented that to organisations that recognise the test.

PTE has assured that the change to the table “does not require them to make any changes or to take any action regarding your PTE test scores”. However, the fact that there are major changes at some important parts of the table will be of particular concern to test takers and the governments and universities that currently use the PTE-A for high stakes decisions.

It’s important to note that the concordance table represents an approximation of how scores on the two tests can be compared. Since the two tests are different in terms of content, scoring, and reporting, the concordance table can only ever be an estimation.

If you are an organisation that trusts IELTS bandscores, please contact us if you require any further information.

Frequently Asked Questions

PTE Score Concordance Change against IELTS standards

Why is IELTS the preferred English language test?
Why is IELTS the preferred English language test?

As the most respected English test in the world, IELTS offers more free practice tests and support material than any other test. It’s designed to help you succeed.

IELTS helps you achieve your goals. It’s the most widely used and respected measure of English skill in Australia for study, work and migration.

IELTS is recognised by more than 11,000 universities, immigration authorities, government agencies and employers around the world. Find out who accepts IELTS in Australia and what the minimum band scores are for your university or institution. IELTS is the only English language test accepted by the immigration authorities in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada.

Why IELTS is the preferred test for Australia

Will the government make any adjustments to the scores required for their English Levels?

The Australian Department of Home Affairs explained that English testing organisations will sometimes adjust their score ranges as new research and knowledge about English testing is developed. They consider these changes carefully before they make any adjustments to the scores required for their English Levels. Where it is decided that scores will change, a notice will be put on their website with information on how it may impact yo​u.

What does IELTS recommend to governments, universities and professional organisations?
What does IELTS recommend to governments, universities and professional organisations?

In a recent article posted by the Campus Morning Mail, Warwick Freeland, the Chief Strategy Officer and Managing Director IELTS, explained that “it is imperative that education providers have the confidence that a student’s English language results are a true reflection of their English language capability.”

“It is also important that institutions review credible and rigorous academic studies when setting scores to ensure our students can actively and enthusiastically engage in tutorial discussions, complete required written work and connect with their broader communities.”

Moreover, he explained that “there is too much at stake to get this wrong.” He stressed that “this is not about making it more difficult for students. This is all about making it fairer and ensuring they are equipped with the language capability to realise their study goals.”

Setting the right score for success

 

 

What is the difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training?
What is the difference between IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training?

There are two tests available: IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. The test you choose should be based on what it is you want to do.

IELTS General Training tests your English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context. The tasks and tests reflect both workplace and social situations. IELTS is the only English test that provides General Training for migration purposes. It’s the only English language test accepted by all migration agencies in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada.

You should do IELTS Academic for an academic environment. For example, studying at University. This test measures your level of English language proficiency at an academic level.

Which test should you take?

How does IELTS compare to other tests?
How does IELTS compare to other tests?

More than 3 million people take IELTS each year, and it’s available at more than 50 test venues in Australia. We know you want to get the best possible test to demonstrate your language skills and get the scores you need for your visa or study.

Choose IELTS because it will give you peace of mind and the confidence that our score standard won’t change.

Book IELTS in Australia

Why choose IELTS in Australia?
Why choose IELTS in Australia?

We give you choices. You decide how you take your test. Computer-delivered or paper-based. Academic or General Training. Your IELTS, your choice.

IELTS on computer or on paper