Student Info & Guide

IELTS vs PTE - Which test should I choose?

by StudyMalaysia.com on October 22, 2018 | Top Stories

IELTS vs PTE - Which test should I choose? - StudyMalaysia.com

If you’re a student planning on pursuing your higher education, chances are you’ll need to meet the English language proficiency requirements of the higher education institution you’re applying to. So which test should you choose? For students, you will need to take either the IELTS Academic or PTE Academic – here we compare two popular tests available in Malaysia.

IELTS Academic PTE Academic
About the test

IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System and is an English test for study, migration or work. However, if you’re taking the test for the purpose of studies, you’ll need to sit for IELTS Academic.

IELTS is jointly managed by Cambridge English Language Assessment, the British Council and IDP.

PTE stands for Pearson Test of English. Like IELTS, it is an English test for study, migration or work. However, if you’re taking the test for the purpose of studies, you’ll need to sit for PTE Academic.

The PTE Academic test is run by Pearson PLC, a British multinational publishing and education company headquartered in London.

Where is the test accepted?

IELTS is recognised by over 10,000 organisations worldwide, including educational institutions, employers, governments, immigration authorities and professional bodies.

Click here to search by keyword, organisation type, country, state or city to find institutions that accept IELTS.

PTE Academic is accepted by thousands of universities worldwide, including prestigious institutions such as Harvard Business School, INSEAD and Yale. PTE Academic is also accepted for visa purposes by the Australian and New Zealand governments.

Click here to search the full list of institutions that accept PTE Academic.

And here for a list of institutions in Malaysia that accept PTE Academic.

Test format

The candidate will take the first three parts of the test all on one day in the following order: listening, reading, writing and speaking. There are no breaks between the first three tests.

You will take the speaking test either on the same day, or 7 days before or after that, depending on local arrangements.

The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

PTE is a computer-based test. There are three main parts to the test: speaking and writing (together), listening and reading. There are twenty different question formats, ranging from multiple choice through to essay writing and interpreting information.

The test duration is about three hours with an optional 10-minute break.

Good to know:

IELTS is a standard pen and paper-based exam; the computer-based exam (only for the first three parts) are available at selected countries and centres and for selected candidates only. The speaking test is an interview, conducted face-to-face by a real person.

Good to know:

PTE is conducted entirely on a computer. You will use a headset equipped with a microphone. Your answers will be typed using a keyboard. An erasable notebook is provided for you to take notes.

How long before you receive your results

You will receive your test results 13 calendar days after the test day. Results can be viewed online.

PTE Academic scores are accessed via an online account and are available within 5 working days though many test takers report receiving the results within 3 days.

Assessment method

In IELTS, specially trained examiners conduct the speaking section of the exam. You need to interact and have conversations with them as part of the assessment. To assess your writing section, an examiner will read through your writing tasks and gives you a grade.

The assessment for the PTE is automated and done by a computer software programme developed by Pearson. You will not be speaking or listening to anyone face-to-face. Your writing tasks are also marked by the computer programme.

About the test score

In IELTS, you will be given a score from 1 to 9 for each part of the test – listening, reading, writing and speaking. The average produces your overall band score. You can score whole (e.g., 5.0, 6.0, 7.0) or half (e.g., 5.5, 6.5, 7.5) bands in each part of the test.

The PTE Academic Score Report includes your overall score, communicative skills scores and enabling skills scores.

The overall score reflects your overall English language ability. The score is based on performance on all items in the test. The range for the overall score is 10-90 points.

Test score required for undergraduate degrees in Malaysia

Entrance into undergraduate degree programmes typically require a band 6.0.

Some universities require a higher minimum score of 6.5 overall, with a score of at least 6.0 in each individual band.

There are universities which accept a band 5.0 and above for their undergraduate programmes.

Entrance into undergraduate degree programmes typically require a score of 50-57.

Some universities require a higher minimum score of 58 overall, with a score of at least 50 for all communication skills.

There are universities which accept a score of 41 and above for their undergraduate programmes.

Validity

Up to two years from test date.

Up to two years from test date.

How to book the test

You can book and pay for the test online or fill out an application form to submit at a test centre along with payment.

The test can be booked online. All you need to do is sign in and create an account, select your preferred location and confirm the date and time of your test. Payment is made online.

How much to take the test

RM795

RM690

Where to take the test

The British Council offers IELTS tests in 9 states across Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, Johor Bahru, Melaka, Perak, Terengganu, Sarawak and Sabah.

IELTS tests are also offered by IDP at several centres across the country.

PTE Academic is available in several centres in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Selangor and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Preparation

There are many resources available when preparing for IELTS. These include free and paid online practice by independent websites as well as a wide range of IELTS preparatory books and practice tests.

IELTS preparatory classes and workshops are also available at the British Council, IDP and language centres.

Resources for preparing for PTE Academic include free and paid online practice by independent websites as well as a range of PTE preparatory books and practice tests.

PTE preparatory classes and workshops are available at selected language centres.

In addition, PTE Academic offers an official scored practice test. This is a mock test that familiarizes test takers with PTE Academic, and gives them an indication of how they will perform on PTE Academic. The mock test is scored the same way as the real test.


IELTS Preparatory Courses

Where it’s offered Course details Fees

Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)

Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)
16-hour workshop RM960

Disted College, Penang

Disted College, Penang
30 hours of classes RM600

International University of Malaya-Wales (IUMW)

International University of Malaya-Wales (IUMW)
One-day workshop (9am-5pm) RM400 (inclusive of training pack)

KDU College, Damansara Jaya

KDU College, Damansara Jaya
8 weeks / 3 hours (per week) RM1000

Limkokwing English International

Limkokwing English International
The programme is made up of four levels; each level takes 12 weeks to complete Not available

Raffles University Iskandar

Raffles University Iskandar
2 week course, 40 hours RM1000
Sunway University Sunway University 10 weeks, 30 hours RM800

University of Nottingham, Malaysia

University of Nottingham, Malaysia
16 hours (4 hours per day) over 1 week RM481

Sources:

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