IELTS vs PTE. The battle of the English tests!

Ok, for English-speaking readers this post is probably of zero relevance as they will never have to sit an exam to test their abilities to speak and understand their mother tongue. Although, I have heard of a case where a girl from Ireland sat the IELTS to get more points for Australian citizenship and failed! Hahaha – that goes to prove that these English exams do not really test your abilities to dominate the language, but your abilities to respond the test.

I have sat both exams. I even took the IELTS twice (the first time I got 5.5 in writing and I needed 6 across all bands, it was heartbreaking, but the second time I got it right).

Today I want to share with you the pros and cons of both exams from my perspective. Let’s start with PTE!

PTE – Pearson Test of English

To be honest, until last year I didn’t even know that this test existed and that it was an alternative to the IELTS and the TOEFL.  According to their website, the test is available in over 50 countries, and after a bit of googling, I found that this test is relatively new, established in 2009. I guess the publishing company decided to jump on board this wagon after noticing the money these companies make!



  1. Getting a good mark is not as difficult as with IELTS.
  2. The results are back in just a couple of days, maybe up to a week.
  3. Everything is done in one morning. If you want to get it out of the way as soon as possible, this one is perfect!
  4. The writing part doesn’t require you to know how to write a proper essay.
  5. There is material online to practice for free.
  6. You can pay $70 to get 2 full exams to practice.  If the free stuff was not enough, the paid material is very good. I paid for it.
  7. Everything is done in front of a computer.
  8. Plenty of dates to pick from. According to their website, you can present it pretty much any day: morning or afternoon.


  1. Everything is done in front of a computer! – I don’t know you, but I hated talking to the machine, with limited time and having to repeat long phrases in the speaking part. By the time the guy finished the sentence, I couldn’t even remember how it started!!!! Not surprisingly that was the part with the lowest score.
  2. A machine scores the test. I really do not understand how a machine can properly mark the speaking and writing part of this test. All of us have different accents, which for sure would affect the marking process. And don’t even get me started with the writing part. How does it know if the essay is coherent or not??? I’m clueless on this one.

I took this exam after living and working in Australia for 3 years, and these were my results (I needed at least 50 in each component), as you can see, I did terrible at speaking! I blame my short-term memory!


IELTS – International English Language Testing System

Ohhh the IELTS! Is there an exam more intimidating than this one? I don’t think so! But, I prefer and trust on the IELTS’ results more than the PTE’s.



  1. The speaking part is with another person, in like a type of interview. I feel way more comfortable talking to another person, where I can get instant feedback (non-verbal cues like the way they are looking at you, or repeating the question if you had a hard time understanding it the first time), but this is not possible with the PTE.
  2. More accurate results. The speaking and writing parts are marked by a person, a human being! It is my belief you have a wider range for error when you are being evaluated by a person rather than a machine (which may not understand your accent). I, personally, trust the IELTS results more than the PTE.
  3. You don’t have to present the four modules in one day. The speaking part is on a different day from the other three.
  4. Oops.. there are no more pros!


  1. If you want to achieve a good score at the first go, you better take a course that prepares you for the test.
  2. You need to know the proper structure of an essay, as you need to write a proper one in the writing part.
  3. The results are available 13 days after you finished the exam.
  4. The interview can
  5. be a little bit intimidating if your English skills are not that good or if you are very shy.
  6. There are only up to four exams days per month, per institution that runs it, so you don’t have as many options as with the PTE.

Below are my results for the second time I presented it. Overall Band Score 7.0


According to these results compared to the PTE I presented last year, my English has not improved in the last 4 years.. hahahaha… I really don’t think that’s the case, what do you think? Should I have gotten a better PTE score last year? I think so!

Let me introduce you to Miss PTE and Miss IELTS!



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A Colombo-Australian woman living in Melbourne. I love books and pugs! You too? Let's be cyber-friends! I also have a YouTube channel in case you want to know more about me.

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