IELTS & PTE English exam papers comparison

Paper IELTS Computer IELTS PTE
LISTENING CD played once only. Delivered through headphones Testing listening, grammar, vocabulary
READING Time management an issue with range of question types. Time management an issue with range of question types.  Shorter paper, drop-down menu to choose questions.
WRITING Task 1 letter writing Task 1 letter writing Task 1 summarise text into only 1 sentence
SPEAKING Under 15 mins, face to face conversation Under 15 mins, face to face conversation Representing presenting in a tutorial group

Compare IELTS & PTE exams

Paper IELTS Computer IELTS PTE
Exam Environment Invigilated silence soundproofed booths noisy room
Length of exam 2 hours 45 mins, plus Speaking 15 mins 2 hours 45 mins, plus Speaking 15 mins  3 hours, with optional 10 mins break
Results 13 days, online 5 – 7 days 5 working days
Negative Marking NONE in Listening or Reading papers. Writing, under minimum word count NONE in Listening or Reading papers. Writing, under minimum word count SOME 2 listening sections and 1 reading section. Writing, over and under word count targets.

English E Learning Links

English exam success generally relies on a good, overall level of English skills combined with an awareness of specific English exam strategies. Therefore, the links below will help you with both aspects of achieving English exam success.

Overall level of English skills

Specific English exam strategies

What is the TOEFL exam?

Although it is another type of academic exam, the TOEFL exam design and format is very different to that of PTE, and more in line with Academic IELTS. 

EXAM FORMAT for each papers to be taken.

EXAMPLES of each paper:

FREE APP which you should have a look at:

BEFORE, tackling a sample test:

TOEFL ‘at home’ as an academic alternative to IELTS

Has your Academic IELTS exam date been re-scheduled because of COVID-19 exam centre closures?

Have you considered ‘switching to’ the TOEFL exam, the US equivalent of IELTS? This exam is now available to be delivered/completed at home!

Please follow these links for more information:

English exams & Covid-19, as of 17th March 2020.

IELTS: Currently, whether or not to run exams is at the discretion of individual exam centres. Cancelled as following:

  • Aberdeen – Tests currently suspended until 4 April 2020
  • Southampton – Tests currently suspended until 21 March 2020
  • INTO Glasgow – Tests currently suspended until 18 April 2020
  • University of Sheffield – Tests currently suspended until 25 March 2020

PTE: varies around the UK so best to contact PTE direct.

How long do I have to write my exam essay?

In my experience, time pressure is often a huge concern for both IELTS and PTE candidates. The factors contributing to this stress are:

  • How to get started?
  • What to write?
  • Choosing the ‘right’ words?
  • Check spelling!

Therefore, your choice of exam is important in respect of how long is allowed for the essay-writing. Options are:

  • PTE which allocates 20 minutes to write, 200 – 300 words.
  • IELTS, both computer-delivered and paper-based, which allocate 40 minutes to write a minimum 250 words.

After that, both marking marking criteria are very similar so therefore time allowed becomes an important difference.

Computer-delivered IELTS, Edinburgh

New to Scotland, the established Basil Paterson Exam Centre now offers computer-delivered IELTS exams in its purpose-built computer exam suite.

General and Academic modules available, three times per month. More details and information on this link.

 Founder, Marian Anderson is an expert in English exam preparation

Who We Are

English for Emigration, founded by Marian Anderson, an expert in her field, helps you identify, and correct, any problems that may be preventing you from gaining your target scores in IELTS, or Pearson PTE exams, needed to progress your visa application.

01501 773622 (tel)

Need help with your visa application?

For specific questions about visa applications, the following organisations can help:

Exam Success

IELTS Tuition