Difference Between IELTS vs TOEFL vs PTE, Which English Test Should

Difference Between IELTS vs TOEFL vs PTE: When applying to universities abroad, IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE are all used to evaluate your English skills. Since most colleges accept any of these marks, it’s possible to get puzzled about which exam to take. Candidates must sit for the test that they believe is simple in terms of syllabus and competitiveness. Before beginning their preparation, applicants should review the exam format and curriculum for each examination. We have condensed the differences between all three exams for you below so that you can easily choose one.

It’s normal to dispute between IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE when deciding which English proficiency exam to take. While some colleges favour one exam over the other, you will find one test to be simpler to take than the other two. They have diverse patterns, grading schemes, testing methodology, and pros and downsides. So let’s go over all of these aspects as we examine the age-old struggle of IELTS vs. TOEFL vs. PTE and see who wins.


  • The IELTS exam is widely regarded as one of the most widely respected English proficiency examinations in the world.
  • More than 10,000 organisations and immigration authorities throughout the world recognise and accept the exam.
  • In 2018, almost 3 million IELTS examinations were administered. According to experts, the comprehensive aspect of this exam is the basis it is more universally recognised than the TOEFL and PTE.


  • Another highly acknowledged English proficiency exam is the TOEFL.
  • It is very common at US universities and colleges to assess the language ability of international students.
  • TOEFL, like IELTS, contains four major sections, all of which are currently administered online except in a few countries.

PTE Exam:

  • The Pearson Test of English (PTE) is a single exam that contains both written and speaking components. The examination is totally online.
  • The number of organizations accepting and recognising PTE results is steadily growing.
  • Similarly, several countries (Australia and New Zealand) have begun recognising PTE results for visa applications.

IELTS Vs TOEFL Vs PTE Marking Scheme:

The most significant variations between IELTS and PTE are in their scores. TOEFL scores are rather simple to comprehend since they are separated into four equal portions, each with a score of 30. PTE and IELTS, on the other hand, provide aggregated results for the whole exam, including all components. In IELTS, scores are further measured from 1-9 bands, with 7 and above deemed excellent. PTE, on the other hand, assigns scores ranging from 0 to 90, with a score of 65 being satisfactory.

IELTS Vs TOEFL Vs PTE Exam Pattern:

The IELTS exam is divided into four sections: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The total time allotted to finish the test is 2 hours 45 minutes.

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TOEFL features four components as well: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The total time allotted to do the test is three hours.

The PTE is a three-hour examination. The exam’s key components are speaking and writing (both together), listening, and reading. Candidates will encounter 20 distinct question forms during the exam, ranging from multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and essay writing.

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Candidates appearing for any of these exams must be well aware of the detailed syllabus. If the candidate is confused about which exam should be taken, then it really becomes imperative to have knowledge about the syllabus of all three exams and the differences among them.

Speaking Section:

IELTS: The speaking test is an 11-14 minute interview with the examiner. The exam consists of three problems. Task one is often an intro or an interview in which the examiner requests a personal introduction from the candidate. The interview might last up to 4-5 minutes. In the second activity, the applicant is handed a task card with a topic to talk about. 1 minute is allotted for taking notes, and 1-2 minutes are allotted for speaking on the specified topic. The examiner may ask a few questions about your topic at the end of the two minutes. The third task is connected to the prior one. The subject of task two is covered extensively and in an abstract manner. This task may take 4-5 minutes to complete. The speaking test may be held on a separate day in some situations.

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TOEFL: This section of the exam consists of four activities. You will be given one individual task to convey your thoughts on a theme you are familiar with. You’ll have 30 seconds to think of an answer. You will also have three integrated speech challenges based on reading and listening. You will have one minute to prepare an answer. This portion has a total duration of 17 minutes. Candidates will be scored on a scale of 0 to 4, and your scores will be translated to a scale of 0 to 30.

PTE: The combined speaking and writing components of the PTE can range around 77 and 93 minutes. The test will begin with you giving a personal introduction. Then you’ll have to read a passage, recite phrases, recount lessons, respond to short questions, and compose an article of 200-300 words in 20 minutes.

Listening Section:

IELTS: The listening paper has 40 questions separated into four different activities that must be completed in 30 minutes. The applicant listens to four separate recordings, each of which is played just once. The audio will be in a range of voices and dialects, including native speakers. They can be one-on-one conversations or monologues on any subject.

TOEFL: This portion covers three to four lectures, and some of the lectures include classroom discussions. Each lesson lasts around 3-5 minutes, and you will be answered 6 questions at the conclusion. This section also includes average, everyday talks. You’ll get to hear 2-3 three-minute chats. At the end of each conversation, students will be asked 5 questions. The North American accent is used in the listening section.

PTE: The PTE listening phase might last anywhere from 45 to 57 minutes. In this section, students will summarise written content, complete in gaps, choose missing words, mark improper sentences, and write from diction. Its pattern differs significantly from the other two tests.

Reading Section:

IELTS: The reading paper consists of three texts with a total of 40 questions separated among many tasks. The student must finish the exam in 60 minutes. The questions in various activities vary from multiple-choice to correlating information, labeling diagrams, and recognising information.

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TOEFL: The reading component of the exam comprises three to four multiple-focus texts. Each section has ten questions. Depending on the number of sections in the exam, the time permitted for this portion might range between 54 and 72 minutes. This section of the exam has a possible score range of 0 to 30.

PTE: This PTE segment will take between 32 and 40 minutes. During the exam, students will be required to read paragraphs and fill in the blanks, reorder paragraphs, and try single-answer MCQs.

Writing Section:

IELTS: The writing test is divided into two halves and lasts 60 minutes. Section one contains numerous sorts of visual data (e.g: graphs or pi diagrams). Candidates must expound on the visual data in exactly 150 words. Section two comprises a writing task in which applicants build on an argument or topic in no less than 250 words.

TOEFL: The writing section in the TOEFL exam consists of two sub-sections. The first sub-section will have an integrated task that candidates have to complete in 20 minutes. The second sub-section will have an independent task where candidates have to write on a given topic. The duration of this section is 30 minutes.

IELTS Vs TOEFL Vs PTE – Which is Easier?

All three IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE examinations are extremely competitive, and it is entirely reliant on individuals’ ability to choose which one they find easier. However, there are several aspects that applicants should examine before selecting their desired examination.

If the individual is comfortable with in-person interviews and doesn’t mind answering short answer questions rather than multiple-choice questions, they should take the IELTS exam instead of the TOEFL or PTE.

If the candidate is comfortable with online interviews and writing short essays and questions in MCQ format, then they can go for TOEFL or PTE.

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