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IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE? – All your questions answered!

Ah! Such a dreaded question, isn’t it? Most Indian students struggle to choose the right exam owing to a lack of awareness of their acceptance and dubious advice. This leads to many students spending their hard-earned money on tests that may not be accepted by the country they wish to study.

Before you enter those credit card details and hit enter, it is important to understand what each test has to offer and where they are accepted. Let us address your questions today.

Test Pattern – What to expect?

The International English Language Testing System commonly known as the IELTS is one of the widely accepted language proficiency examinations across the world conducted by the British Council and IDP. There are two types of IELTS - Academic and General Training. For students, IELTS Academic is the only valid test. You can appear for a paper-based or computer-based test, depending on your choice.

The Listening, Reading and Writing sections of all IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no breaks in between them. The Speaking section, however, can be attempted up to a week before or after the other sections. The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

TOEFL which abbreviates as Test of English as a Foreign Language is conducted by ETS (Educational Testing Service). TOEFL exam is taken by non-native speakers who want to pursue their higher education in English speaking countries. Developed and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Registration for TOEFL is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

It is a four-hour computerised exam pattern precisely with four sections - Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Each section has its own time limit. Each candidate gets 20 minutes for Speaking and 50 minutes for Writing.

The PTE Academic or Pearson Test of English is a computer-based English language test conducted by Pearson. As the tests are completely computerised, the PTE results and scores are declared much quicker, typically in 5 business days.

The PTE exam consists of Speaking, Writing, Reading and Listening, which the candidates need to complete in 3 hours with an optional 10 minutes break between the reading and listening sections.

Acceptability – Which countries accept what?

IELTS – Accepted worldwide and is one of the most popular tests with the maximum number of test-takers. It is accepted in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Ireland, Europe, and almost by every institution worldwide.

TOEFL – Majorly suited for the students intending to study in the United States however, many universities in the UK, New Zealand, France, and Canada do accept TOEFL too.

PTE – One of the newer tests in the market, PTE is gaining widespread acclaim for its quick results however it is not as widely accepted as IELTS or TOEFL. Although most Australian institutions do accept PTE, it is not accepted by many institutions in Canada and the USA.

Which test to take?

It is mostly a matter of opinion and individual preference. If you are not taking external assistance to help you decide, you may decide the test on the basis of the location you choose to study.

For instance, if you are planning to join universities in the USA, TOEFL is the right choice for you. The IELTS score is generally accepted worldwide but has a higher acceptance rate in the European countries as well as the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. It is always recommended that you conduct thorough research before finalising on an exam.

Happy Prepping!