Which one is easier: IELTS or PTE?

An English language exam is frequently required for non-native English speakers who want to pursue further education or employment prospects in an English-speaking nation.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Pearson Test of English are the two most often used exams. Which one, though, is simpler to be ready for and take?

In this post, we will provide an objective assessment of both exams, exploring their frameworks, evaluating format differences, considering test difficulty and scoring, and identifying factors that influence the choice of test.

Understanding the Frameworks

IELTS Overview: The IELTS test is divided into two distinct modules: Academic and General Training. It encompasses four sections, namely Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking. IELTS offers academic and general training exams. Academic is for people who desire to work in a professional setting or pursue undergraduate or graduate school. Those who desire to immigrate, work, or train in an English-speaking nation should enrol in general training. Around 10,000 institutions, including colleges, employers, immigration agencies, and professional groups, recognize IELTS globally.

PTE Overview: Contrarily, PTE is a computer-based exam that evaluates the same four language abilities as IELTS, i.e. listening, reading, speaking and writing.

The purpose of PTE is to assess a candidate’s proficiency in English in academic and professional contexts.

PTE is recognised by hundreds of schools and institutions throughout the world, as well as by businesses, professional associations, and governmental agencies.

Evaluating Test Format Differences

IELTS: The Listening component of the IELTS exam focuses on various accents, speech speeds, and divided sections. It incorporates different types of questions requiring specific responses. The Reading component presents diverse text formats, varying complexity levels, and a range of question types, posing challenges in effective time management. The Writing component assesses task requirements, prompt styles, and expected response structures while also utilizing distinct scoring criteria and band descriptors. Lastly, the Speaking component involves face-to-face interaction with examiners, evaluating vocabulary, fluency, and pronunciation.

PTE: In the PTE exam, the Speaking and Writing component employs speech recognition technology and necessitates prompt responses within specific time constraints. The Reading component consists of various text types, question formats, and requires effective time management, in addition to testing essential skills like skimming, scanning, and comprehension. Meanwhile, the Listening component evaluates audio clarity, accents, and requires note-taking skills while multitasking.

Test Difficulty and Scoring

Neutral Evaluation Criteria: Several factors influence test difficulty and scoring. Language proficiency plays a vital role, as candidates must adapt to respective exam styles and fulfill specific requirements. Familiarity with test formats and expectations further impacts the perceived level of difficulty.

Comparing Difficulty Levels: Assessing the difficulty levels of IELTS and PTE can be subjective, as it depends on individual preferences, strengths, and areas for improvement. Test-takers with strong writing skills may find IELTS easier, while those comfortable with speech recognition technology might flourish in PTE. Preparation strategies tailored to the nuances of each test are essential for success.

Which one is now simpler?

Because everyone’s competency level and manner of preparation differs, generalizing is difficult. For certain candidates, the PTE test is made simpler for a few reasons. PTE, for instance, completely relies on computers, which eliminates the subjectivity of human examiners. PTE is the best option for applicants with a limited amount of time because it also offers speedy results, often within 24 hours. If a test-taker is not happy with their result, PTE also gives them the option to retake the exam within five business days. This adaptability might lessen some of the pressure that comes with taking tests.

IELTS, on the other hand, provides a paper-based option, which may make it more comfortable for some applicants. The IELTS exam format may be more recognizable to applicants than the PTE test format because of its well-known test structure and scoring system. Moreover, IELTS is a more difficult test in terms of language competency since it evaluates applicants’ language abilities more thoroughly, taking correctness, grammar, and syntax into account.


To objectively determine whether IELTS or PTE is easier, candidates need to evaluate their individual language proficiency, familiarity with test formats, and personal preferences. While both exams possess distinct characteristics, assessing academic or professional goals, test availability and accessibility, and personal learning styles are key considerations. Ultimately, it is crucial for test-takers to assess their abilities objectively and embark on focused preparation to achieve success in either IELTS or PTE. With adequate preparation, dedication, and targeted practice, you can ace whichever test you choose.

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Raj Maurya

Raj Maurya is the founder of Digital Gyan. He is a technical content writer on Fiverr and When not working, he plays Valorant.

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