IELTS vs. PTE Academic…
For quite some time now, there have been two major English language proficiency tests that are used test an applicant’s ability to speak in English: the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
However recently, Pearson – a highly decorated educational institution and publishing house in the US has launched its own Proficiency Exam: the Pearson Test of English, Academic (PTE Academic test).
While each exam claims to be a test of “English” in the most universal sense of the word, this is not entirely true. IELTS is an international English language test. English language experts from around the globe contribute to the content and design of this testing system, while TOEFL tends to draw from a more distinctly American idiom.
On the other hand, items for PTE Academic are submitted to Pearson by item writers from Australia, the UK and the US. Next, items from Australian item writers are reviewed by reviewers from the UK and the US, UK items by reviewers form Australia and US and US items by reviewers from Australia and UK. So, PTE Academic explicitly draws on all three major varieties of English, but the review process makes sure each item is perfectly understandable by speakers of all varieties.
It is fair to say that IELTS and PTE Academic tests claim to deliver equatable results; yet, not every program accepts both these exams. In general, the IELTS exam is more accepted in Europe and Australia while the PTE Academic test, though the newest, is gaining significant traction into being accepted by Australian immigration and various academic programs. Moreover, its partners (of which, in the interest of full disclosure, Strictly English is one) are gaining a sizable footprint in the Australasian test-prep market.
Because not programs accepts all these tests, please make sure you take the necessary exam for each program you apply to. This might mean you have to take IELTS for one program and PTE Academic test for another (remote possibility but true).