Which English Language Test Should You Opt for? IELTS, TOEFL OR PTE

If you are planning to study or work abroad be ready to work hard. One of the exams you have to clear as a non-native speaker of English is the English language proficiency test.There is a wide range of tests available to you but you have to choose very wisely among the three tests.The big three test giants areIELTS, TOEFL and PTE Academic Test which judge your level in English speaking, writing, reading and listening skills. Previously students used to take TOEFL or IELTS exam but in the year 2009 PTE Academic was introduced to the globe,hence there is a tough competition among the three tests.

IELTS exam ismost popular among non- native speakers who want to migrate abroad for work or study. TOEFL exams are mostly preferred by students who want to get enrolled in the top foreign universities.While PTE Academic test is a computer-aided test to test an aspirant’s English learning level. Now let us have a detailed analysis of the tests.


The full form of IELTS isThe International English Language Testing System is a popular standardized English language proficiency test for global migration and higher education. IELTS score is mostly accepted by 10,000 institutes all over the globe. Even government organizations, business houses give value to it. IELTS is maintained by the British Council, IDP Australia and Cambridge Assessment English. There are two types of IELTS: General and Academic. The former is taken by those who want to migrate or work abroad and the latter who want to study in any foreign university or for professional registration. Australia, Canada, UK and New Zealand value IELTS exam score card for immigrants from native countries.


TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language is another popular examespecially among students who are pursuing overseas higher education. By clearing TOEFL you can also avail for scholarships. This exam prepares you for academic tasks at the university level. Its score is accepted over 9000 universities and in over 150 countries such as UK, Australia, USA, New Zealand, and Canada and all over Europe and even Asia. TOEFL Exam has been developed and maintained by Educational Testing Services (ETS), a non-profit organization. TOEFL exam can be taken in two formats: pen and paper- based (TOEFL PBT) and computer- based (TOEFL iBT) though the second one is more in demand. The pen and paper test is for those regions where there is no proper access to internet.

TOEFL test centres conduct more than 50 tests in a year but you cannot take the test in a gap of fewer than 12 days. To appear for the exam you have to register and book a test date with ETS.


PTE stands for Pearson Academic Test, developed by Pearson, a global leading publishing company. It is a computer – based test which tests a candidate’s English skills. It is conducted over 200 centres across 50 countries in a year. PTE has two types of tests PTE General and PTE Academic. The former just assess Englishcommunication skills but not test skills. It is not used for immigration purposes. For immigration purposes the scores of PTE Academic is valid. The scores of PTE Academic test is accepted by top universities across the globe and is also valid for visas in Australia and New Zealand.

What are the major differences among IELTS, TOEFL and PTE Academic Test?

While students can take any one of these tests but there are certain differences among them in terms of time length, costs and difficulty level and test format. Let’s take a detailed look at it.

  1. Differences Based on Time Length
  2. Differences Based on Costs
  3. Differences Based on Difficulty Levels
  4. Differences Based on Test Format
  5. Differences Based on Availability of Score Reports Generation
  6. Differences Based on Acceptability in Different Countries

Differences Based on Time Length

The candidates taking these English language proficiency tests will find differences on duration, mode, scorecard range and validity of the tests.

Name of the tests Duration Mode Score card range Validity
IELTS Academic 2hrs 45 minutes Pen and paper 0-9 2 years
TOEFL iBT 4 hrs Computer 0-120 2 years
PTE Academic 3hrs Computer 10-100 2 years

Differences Based on Costs

There is not much difference based on the fees of the tests. Only debit and credit card payments are accepted. Now lets us see a detailed analysis of it.

Name of the tests Cost
IELTS Academic Rs 12,650/-
TOEFL iBT TOEFL iBT: Rs 11,265/-
TOEFL PBT : Rs 12,577/-
PTE Academic Standard : Rs 13,300/-
Late Booking: Rs 16,625/-

Differences Based on Difficulty Levels

PTE Academic test is a computer -based exam.It quickly andefficiently analyses a candidate’s English skills. It is unbiased and there is no waiting time among the sections and everything is judged by AI or artificial intelligence. Since there is no gap between sections it doesn’t give you time to think. In IELTS exam you have to write down essays and appear for an interview before an expert. While in TOEFL iBT there are multiple choice questions and the difficulty level is average.

Differences Based on Test Format

All these three examsassess the four basic English language skills- speaking, reading, writing and listening but they have different formats.
IELTS has multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks and writing two essays. You will also have to sit for an interview to clear the speaking skills test. While TOEFL iBTfollows thesame format with six spoken responses, two essays and multiple choice questions. For TOEFL and PTE speaking tests you have to speak in a microphone. PTE is slightly different from the above two tests, you have to write only one essay and the rest are the multiple choice questions to check your grammar, comprehension skills and reading abilities.

Differences Based on Availability of Score Reports Generation

The scorecard generated from the three different types of tests varies in terms of time duration. The result of IELTS exam is received after 13 days and the scorecard of TOEFL exam is generated within 10 days from the date of the exam. While the results of PTE Academic is most quickly published within 5 days.

Differences Based on Acceptability in Different Countries

TOEFL and PTE are accepted in the USA and Australian universities or for immigration purposes but IELTS is more accepted in the UK.TOEFL has been more accepted for higher studies in American universities and PTE also is accepted across Australia and Europe. Even Ivy League universities like Harvard and Yale accept PTE scores.

Based on the above description of the three exams you can come to a conclusion. Each test has its own importance and you can select the test based on your requirements.