February 21, 2019


For all those who intend to find work, aspire to stay or pursue a degree in a foreign land especially an English speaking one, it is absolutely essential to demonstrate your English language skills as a non-native English speaker. One has to tide over this barrier of an English test to prove one’s language skills. There is a variety of English language test to choose from and today each test faces firm competition from one another.

TOEFL denotes the Test of English as a Foreign Language while IELTS is an acronym for International English Language Testing System and PTE is the short form for the Pearson Test of English. These tests measure the competitive level in English amongst non-native speaker on four separate bands- Reading, Speaking, Writing and Listening of English language.


This legit English language test came into existence in 1989 and has been embraced by many academic institutions in the UK, the US, Australia and Canada. The test is conducted mutually by the British Council, the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and IDP Educational Institute. It is one if the acceptable English language proficiency test for higher education and for immigration applicants.

IELTS in Australia

This English language proficiency test has been accepted by the public and private organizations alike in Australia some of which are The Chartered Accountants Australia (CAA), The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), ), Department of Home Affairs (DHA) etc


The Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL is the other qualifying and accepted English language test and is fast gaining popularity as it is an economical English Proficiency Test and is accepted far and wide by all Australian universities, visas along with other professional and immigration opportunities with its completely fair and impartial scoring system. The test is carried out by ETS (Educational Testing Services). TOEFL has two variants- paper and internet. The TOEFL PBT is paper-based and is available for places which do not have the facility of internet and there is the TOEFL IBT can be taken on the internet. The latter is now catching up with the aspirants as it is faster. ETS offers this test around 50 times in a year. Selection of test date and location can be done on the ETS website.

TOEFL in Australia

TOEFL is accepted far and wide by several recognized and reputed bodies like the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA), CPA Australia and Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), The Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA) also acknowledges TOEFL score to meet the English language competency element of the Migration Skills Assessment. Engineers Australia and the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC) also accept TOEFL to meet the English language competency element of the Migration Skills Assessment.


The Pearson Test of English is a computer-based English language proficiency test for non- native speakers with fast turnaround time in terms of results, apart from being flexible, fair and secure. There are four sections in PTE- Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking

PTE in Australia

PTE is accepted by the recognized government, educational bodies as well as business enterprises and private and public sectors in Australia.

Differences between the three

  • IELTS is thus far been associated with countries like UK and Australia and while TOEFL is associated with the US but it is also now been universally accepted in Australia as a legit system of English proficiency test for non-native speakers. PTE is more inclined towards America with some acceptability in Australia as well.
  • A one on one interview denotes an IELTS test which could lead to bias and partiality whereas since TOEFL is a computer-based English test it is much fairer as one talks to the microphone. It is a similar scenario for PTE.
  • IELTS has human raters. PTE and TOEFL are computer-based.
  • IELTS takes roughly 14 days to bring out the results while TOEFL takes 10 days and PTE takes around 5 working days.
  • TOEFL is getting accepted internationally as well as PTE, unlike IELTS which is preferred mostly in Europe.
  • TOEFL has two variants- paper and internet. The TOEFL PBT is paper-based and is available for places which do not have the facility of internet and the second one is the TOEFL IBT can be taken on the internet. This option is not available for the other tests- IELTS or PTE

Test standards

This really depends on person to person but the broad levels would be

  • PTE is computer based so many feel it as unbiased and hence easier which may not be the case always. There are no longer questions and lengthy answers and hence could be less time consuming for people however since it’s a fast test sometimes it is difficult to get enough time to think.
  • IELTS is more essay type answers and shorter than PTE or TOEFL. There is a scope to go over the questions before starting off.
  • TOEFL is a multiple choice format and the interaction is very secure and fair and its most widely accepted.

Score pattern

The scoring too is quite different for all these three tests.

  • TOEFL rates on a scale of 0-120
  • IELTS scale is between 1-9
  • PTE uses the scale of 10-90

All these test scores are valid for a period of two years and higher the score better it is for you to qualify for your university, visa or other immigration opportunities.

Length of tests

  • TOEFL is a long test which takes around 4 hours to complete
  • PTE is 3 hours
  • IELTS is 2 hours 45 minutes being the shortest English proficiency test and sometimes it is split over two separate days as the Speaking section can be on a different day depending on the slot available and it is judged face to face by an examiner

Cost of tests

The cost also varies for each of these English proficiency tests

  • TOEFL- $298
  • PTE- $330
  • IELTS- $330

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