IELTS or TOEFL or PTE: Which is the best for me?

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Pearson Test of English (PTE) and International English as a Foreign Language (IELTS) are the three different exams used for the evaluation of English proficiency. This is done in order to test the language skills of non-native students. Having a good English proficiency is a must for the students wanting to go abroad for higher studies because the courses are taught fully in English and it is very important for a student to have a good hold on the language. Below is a brief account of these exams which will help you decide which one is the best fit for you:


IELTS: International English language testing system is the English proficiency with a duration of 60 minutes and has 3 academic passages which are tested upon in its Reading section. The Writing section of IELTS basically is for 60 minutes. You have to write an argument discussing the given topic. The speaking section is 15 minutes long and the interview will be conducted face to face. The interview includes a personal speech about the given topic, conversation on general topics, and discussion with the examiner for the given topic. The Listening section last for 40 minutes which includes 1 social conversation, 1 academic conversation, 1 social speech and 1 academic speech. The accent used in IELTS is mostly British accent. IELTS is widely accepted by counties like UK, Australia and New Zealand.

IELTS will be the best exam for you if:

  • You are good at writing arguments by discussing the topics given to you.
  • You prefer face to face interview over computerized assessment.
  • You are more comfortable with a British accent than American accent.
  • You can type quickly.
  • You are good at solving multiple choice questions.


TOEFL: The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) has a reading section of 60 to 100minutes. 4 to 6 academic passages are tested in this exam. The Writing section is of 50 minutes duration. One has to write a summary of a passage after reading it as well as after listening to the speaker who discusses it. One has to also write an essay on the given topic. The speaking section is 20 minutes long. Whatever you speak is recorded on a computer, unlike IELTS where it is face to face. The questions to be answered are on general topics, and few are to be answered on the basis of listening alone or both reading and listening. In the Listening section, students are tested on the basis of 2 to 3 student conversations and 4 to 6 academic speeches or discussions. The time duration for the same is 40 to 60 minutes. TOEFL is widely accepted by the UK universities. The accent used in TOEFL is mostly North American accent.

TOEFL is the best fit for you if:

  • You are good at summarizing information. You can present your opinions in a concise manner.
  • You are better off with a computer based test than a face to face interaction.
  • American accent makes more sense to you than British.
  • You have legible English handwriting.
  • You feel more comfortable in discussing non-academic topics in English.

3. PTE

PTE: The Pearson Test of English has a Reading section of 30 to 40 minutes. It has 5 academic passages which are tested. Academic writing is of 40 minutes. This includes writing a summary in one sentence of a given passage. One also has to write an academic essay on a given topic. Academic speaking is for 40 minutes and unlike IELTS this is recorded on a computer. The test includes a personal introduction, reading, repeating a sentence, describing an image, and answering questions. The Listening section has 8 recordings in academic settings which are used for evaluation. Most popular universities which accept PTE are from UK, Australia, USA and Canada. The accents of this section are variable.

You are suggested to appear for PTE if:

  • You are good with summarizing the given passages and writing essays.
  • You are comfortable with a computer based test for listening section than face to face.
  • You are comfortable with both British as well as the American accent.
  • You are good with describing images, reading etc.

Thus with a general idea of these exams one can decide which English proficiency exam one can appear for. However, the choice, of course, is not entirely yours always since there are certain universities which accept a particular test only. So depending on all these factors you can take a decision. In case you need help from experienced professionals, you can contact the institutes providing IELTS coaching in Nagpur. So start preparing and All the Best!