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Is it IELTS? PTE? Or TOEFL?Which language proficiency test will take you to your dream country?

Are you planning to study abroad? Or are you applying for a PR? Which English

language proficiency test should you go for according to the country you plan to

explore? Is it PTE or IELTS or will it be TOEFL?

Let us check out what these tests are and what is the acceptance of these tests

according to the country.

PTE or Pearson Test of English is an international computer-based English

Competency test to assess the English language skills a candidate applying for

university courses in English speaking countries.

IELTS is also an English language proficiency test for expatriates who plan to

study, migrate or work in the countries where English is the language for


TOEFL tests the English language ability of non-natives who wish to apply to

universities where is English is the medium of communication.

As we can see all these three tests are to check a candidates competency towards

English language, so how are they different and why not only one of these?

IELTS is the most widely accepted English proficiency test worldwide, while

TOEFL also has a wide acceptance but it is particularly customary among US

Universities to test the English language abilities of students. PTE is

comparatively new, but is gradually getting recognized and its acceptance is


The pattern followed

IELTS is a 2-day test to be completed over a period of 2 hours 45 minutes. On the

other hand TOEFL and PTE both are 3 hour long tests.

IELTS and TOEFL both have 4 sections – Listening, reading, writing and

speaking, while PTE includes just writing and speaking sections.

In TOEFL, a candidate experiences tests that include reading of passages,

listening audio clips, speaking on a particular topic and writing structured


While in PTE a candidate gets 20 different question formats that include essay

writing, MCQs, deciphering and repeating information.

Let us check some of the differences between all the three tests:

 PTE and TOEFL, are both computer-based tests, while IELTS is both

computerised and paper-based test.

 In IELTS a personal interview is conducted as a speaking test while for

TOEFL and PTE it is an online test through a computer.

 For TOEFL and PTE, it is the standard American English that is accepted.

 When it comes to the writing part, you are expected to write lengthy essays

in TOEFL, while for PTE the essays are too easy

 In IELTS the format followed for written test is of short answer questions,

while in TOEFL it is MCQ-type questions. PTE follows a combination of both

for the written section.

 The reading section of IELTS and TOEFL are lengthy with long passages. The

reading section for IELTS lasts for 60 minutes and for TOEFL it lasts for 60-

80 minutes. While for PTE its just 32 to 41 minutes.

Scoring pattern of the three tests

IELTS results are testified on a 9-band scale, which ranges from 1 as the lowest

to 9 as highest. While the TOEFL test is scored on a scale of 0 to 120points, each

of the four sections on a scale of 0 to 30. The total score is determined by adding

the scores of the four sections. Meanwhile, the PTE Exam is tested on a scale of

10 – 90 wherein 10 is the lowest score showing the person's ability to read,

speak, understand verbal instructions and write the English language.

IELTS/TOEFL/PTE where are these accepted?

All the three tests have a worldwide acceptance and in thousands of institutes.

Though there are different countries, which give preference to one of these over


When we talk about the institutes in the US, they prefer to assess their

candidates through TOEFL. While, Australia, UK, Canada and Germany based

institutes have an inclination towards IELTS and the institutes in Australia and

Europe give preference to PTE.

So, which English proficiency test you choose majorly depends upon the country

and institution you apply for.

By now you know the acceptance criteria of each test but which of these is

easier? Though, choosing one out of the three depends on your requirement and

particularly according to the country you choose. All the three tests are

demanding and require skills and knowledge of the test format.

But, in case you are looking for faster results and prefer a short exam you can go

for PTE. If you are the one who prefers and can perform the best in personal

interviews and can attempt short answers rather than MCQ’s, then go for IELTS.

If it is about choosing to go for online interviews, academic reading, MCQs and

doing a computer based test rather than writing then TOEFL is the preferred


Some of the tips that can help you crack these proficiency tests are:

 Be attentive in the class so that you do not miss out on shortcuts that are

shared by the trainers, as these can be helpful for different modules of the


 Do not miss out on mock tests as these give you a sense of how the original

tests will be and further help in scoring high.

 Conversing in English and listening to the language will help in a great way to

score in listening and speaking modules.

 Focus on and practice pronunciation of words, which can lead to reading the

words correctly further assisting in the reading section.

 Practice writing and typing to develop a good speed for the writing module.

For more insight into which test to choose and for the entire career guidance you

can contact Edcosmo Education Advisors -

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