IELTS vs PTE which English test is easier – My experience

By Anil Gupta,  21 May, 18      0  Australia

IELTS vs PTE Academic, PTE is easier to score than IELTS. PTE Academic is tougher than IELTS general English test but scoring marks in PTE is much easier. After PTE test, you may feel that you did bad, but the results will be better than your own analysis. You can score 79+ easily in PTE with one week of preparation.


IELTS vs PTE: Which test is Easier?

My personal opinion says PTE as an exam is tougher than IELTS. But, at the same time, scoring in PTE is much more reliable and easier than IELTS.

Since PTE is computer based test, the chances of human bias while scoring is almost negligible.

Also, I feel PTE tests your English from various types of questions in a much better way. One particular type of question may be testing your speaking and listening at the same time.

I strongly recommend going for PTE (with a bit or preparation) than IELTS, if you have an option of choosing one out of both.

For Canada skilled PR, only IELTS English test is valid, but for Australia’s skilled migration, you can either choose PTE or IELTS.

IELTS vs PTE – Whose scoring is easier?

I have attempted IELTS General exam twice in past and in both attempts, I was given 6.5 in one out of four subjects.
Other 3 always were 7.5+. This was a bit dis-heartening.

PTE vs IELTS English test comparison
PTE vs IELTS English test comparison

Not sure why, but, the impression that i had is they seem to balance the final score by giving out 6.5 in any one subject somehow. It is manually evaluated and hence there are chances of human bias involved.

On the other hand, I topped PTE Academic in my first attempt! Learn how to score PTE Academic 79+ within a week with my notes.

My PTE Academic test experience

8 March, 2018 – Dallas, USA – Scored 85 in first attempt

PTE Timed sections are TOUGH to manage

I found these two sections where you have multiple questions to be mentally tiring and stressful.

  1. 18 questions to answer within 40 minutes (reading section) and
  2. 19 questions to answer in 40 minutes (listening section) – Time is reduced if you take extra time in 10 minute break.

PTE test – Difficult points

1. Listening, taking notes and then selecting the most appropriate 1 option

This was tough as the total time plays on your mind.

PTE should probably consider the exam’s stress too while timing the sections.
You can’t really focus on what speaker is saying and then gauge the notes to select the best option with 12 more questions left and only 20 minutes left on the clock.

The options have too similar to each other. No one clearly stands out.

The lecture that your hear is full of words from all options with just slightly different in meaning from each other. Unless, you get enough time to hear and understand the spoken speech, i found it too difficult to find the correct answer.

When you are reading the options, the TIMER constantly plays on your mind because you see that there are still 12 questions left to attempt and you are only left with 20 minutes.

Yes, the timer really moves fast or at-least feels like it is blazing FAST!

2. There is NO time to read the question instructions in listening + speaking task.

PTE ASSUMES that you should KNOW the question format before you even appear for test.
This is seriously stupid.

The instructions written on top of each question CAN't really be read in the time they give.
You speaker starts throwing questions at you immediately back to back.
There is hardly any time to breathe.

If you have gone wrong on one question repetition, it will affect your next question's 'listen and speak' too.
You just don't get time to think and relax.

It all happens too FAST for a normal person.

Not sure if they are testing English or mental ability to cope with stress.

PTE Exam 10 minute break is a JOKE

The 10 minute break timer starts immediately after the part 2 of PTE English exam ends.

You can see the timer ticking down fast while holding your bladder with raised hand.

But, you can't move or go out unless the invigilator sees your raised hand and escorts.

In my case, by the time the attending person arrived, only 7 minutes were left on the break timer. Then she logged in and supposedly stopped the test!

She then spent another 3 minutes to scan my right hand, give me a neck tag and log me out of the examination room.
Only 4 minutes were left by now (I analyzed).

To add salt to injury, she told me that I NOW have 10 minutes left, which i later found was completely wrong. The timer on your computer screen is RIGHT.

I went out to rest room (2 minutes), drank water (1 minute). When I can came back to desk, again a hand scan is done, all your pockets are checked again (another 3 minutes are WASTED).

Officially, PTE says that you should come back from break with 5 minutes to spare for all these extra security checks!

So, basically, you only have about 2 minutes of real break time. Be careful.
When I logged back into my test, it showed "YOUR BREAK TIME HAS EXPIRED".

The extra time that I took was deducted from my next examination part 3!
This was crazy but rules are rules. Nobody can give you those minutes back.

PTE Erasable Notebook with Pen

The notebook and pen look exactly like as shown in this video:

This video shows that you can’t erase the notes you have written. This is NOT true. You can erase it with your hand.
Also, there are total of 9 pages to write. They are LONG pages (almost 50% more longer than A4 sheet).

So, you have enough space to write.

The PEN provided in USA is exactly same as what is shown in the video.

PTE test may go wrong but you still will score – Don’t worry

The good thing about this exam is that even though you might feel that you missed a lot of questions or spoke wrong things, the overall score still gets you past 79+ easily.

I feel the reason behind this is that they evaluate you on same skill like speaking using various type of questions and in different sections.

So, if you made mistakes in speaking the sentences (after listening), but write them correctly (after listening), you probably still get good score. I can say this as the same thing has happened with me.

I missed lot of sentences completely. Spoke them half correct and half forgotten. But, still got good score as i wrote all the sentences correctly while listening and writing.

Other PTE experience

  1. Essay Writing and summarize text is easy if you follow the method and cheat sheets provided here.
  2. Listening and filling the blanks is mix of easy, medium level and one fast speaking lecture. One of them is definitely a lecture with FAST speaker.
  3. One of the 'select the correct word' in reading is tough with complex words. All other are easy and medium complexity.

    The tough one had words that I had never heard or ever used in my life. Hence, I had no idea about their meaning either. I just selected based on my instincts.