April 21, 2024

Impact & Learning

Learn to impact


Everybody knows by now that obtaining a degree in abroad is tough work and will continue long before you continue submitting applications. One of the barriers to overcome is the clearance of an exam that checks your English language skills.

There was a time when there was just TOEFL in this category, now it faces stiff competition from two other exams, IELTS and PTE.

Simply put, TOEFL stands for Checking English as a Foreign Language, while IELTS is an abbreviation of the Universal English Language Research Program. The PTE is short for the Pearson English Test.

One aspect that is similar with both assessments is that they assess your ability as a non-native speaker to speak, write, interpret and hear English.

Testing English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The oldest of its kind, TOEFL, was established by an autonomous agency named the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It is a non-profit conducting the study, the findings of which are approved by more than 9,000 institutions, colleges and organisations in as many as 130 countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada and the like.

This research can be carried out either in two ways, on paper or on the Internet. TOEFL PBT is for those who want to take a paper test and is only available for locations which do not have the facilities to take the same over the internet.

This measure the reading, listening, grammar and writing skills of the candidates. On the other hand, TOEFL iBT can be used virtually on the Internet. The latter is more common because it is easier, which tests the ability to read, listen, talk which compose.

ETS is giving this check more than 50 times a year. You can pick your study date and position on the ETS website. The test is going on for a good four hours.

ETS also offers the Test in English for Foreign Contact or the TOEIC Exam to job-seekers seeking to develop their fluency in English at a global workplace.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS preparation books can be used for both research and work settings where English is used as the main language of communication. The test is valid in two versions, IELTS Academic and IELTS General Education.

Anyone who wants to qualify for further education or to register for medical certification they must know How to Prepare for IELTS Exam & pass the IELTS Academic Examination, and for citizenship reasons you must take the IELTS General Training, in particular anyone migrating to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Both tests include two sections, one a 150-word letter for the general version and a 150-word paper for the academic version in a graphic or table format, explaining a method or comparing details on a diagram. The second part consists of composing a 250-word essay on both iterations of the test.

Many companies where the test-taker has to report to work have their own IELTS Educational or General Education criteria. Check with the company which one you want to take. You will then appoint up to five organizations to which copies of your IELTS test results will be submitted free of charge. 

The level of expertise can be measured on a scale from one to nine, with the latter being that of a specialist.

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

Comes from Pearson, the PTE Academic is a computer-based academic exam intended to assess a candidate’s English speech, writing, reading and listening skills for study abroad or immigration.

You can search on their website which organisations accept them internationally. If you want to get a visa for Australia, the Australian government must accept the PTE score for the same.

The exam will take three hours to complete and will include listening, hearing, communicating and writing on a computer. Both questions will be laid out in 20 different topic forms, including multiple choice, essay writing and interpreting knowledge from lecture transcripts, visual presentation and maps.

PTE is now offering a PTE General Exam which is ‘designed to encourage successful achievement in English Language Learning.’ Essentially, it lets applicants improve their mastery of English.

Differences between the TOEFL, IELTS and PTE

  • Those who have already completed one or more of these exams will know that IELTS is more inclined towards British or Australian English, whereas TOEFL and PTE are more oriented towards American English.
  • Based on the example, you’re going to have to find out which speech test you’d be more confident with.
  • You must speak face-to-face with an interviewer who is also a rater at IELTS, TOEFL and PTE as you chat to the recorder.
  • IELTS and TOEFL are individual raters. The PTE test score is calculated by the machine itself.
  • TOEFL test scores are available for review online within 10 days of the test date. PTE scores are available with five business days and IELTS publishes reports within 13 calendar days and the test centers are expected to publish the test report form. You may also obtain the same from the test center in person.
  • IELTS enjoys greater adoption in Europe and Australia, TOEFL is what most MBA programs in the US will be looking for, and PTE has the same degree of approval of MBA programs abroad so far.

Difficulty level of TOEFL, IELTS and PTE

  • The jury is still out on where it is simpler or harder to take each of the three tests, and there are several points of view that can be seen on the subject. PTE is considered objective and thus simpler, because it is a code-based evaluation on which a computer program is scored.
  • This has no lengthy corridors to go into. As there is no lag period in parts, some consider PTE to be less time intensive and quicker. However, it doesn’t give you time to reflect for the same reason.
  • IELTS, on the other hand, offers you the option of writing a reaction to your essay and is shorter than TOEFL or PTE. It also offers you a chance to see the questions in advance.
  • TOEFL is sort like a multi-choice style, so you’re dealing with a machine here, rather than a human being in IELTS, much as you’re in an interview.

Score comparison

The results are the most critical aspect of the analysis between the three tests. They all follow a pattern of ranking. TOEFL will score you at a level of 0-120, IELTS will use a ranking scale of 1 to 9. PTE uses a scale from 10 to 90.

For example, the higher the standardized score, the better it is, but then there’s a statistic that will drive up the odds of being admitted into the school of your choosing. You should review the eligibility requirements of the university or institution that you are preparing to apply for.

All these ratings are valid for two years.

Which one is better accepted in the USA / UK?

Although it depends largely on the examination the university or organisation is looking for, it is impossible for certain institutions to claim whether they accept one of the two or three.

Most analysts and ex-testers agree that the IELTS ranking is more generally known in Europe (including the United Kingdom) and Australia, and that TOEFL & PTE is best received by American institutes.