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Test takers frequently ask, “Is the TOEFL or IELTS easier? The English language competence exams IELTS and TOEFL are both required for college admission. The TOEFL exam is primarily accepted in European nations, which is the main difference. IELTS is primarily recognized in the UK, USA, and Canada. IELTS takes a lot less time than the TOEFL exam to complete. While the TOEFL takes four hours to complete, the IELTS takes about two hours and forty minutes.

Why do You Need to Give an IELTS, TOEFL OR PTE?

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If you are planning to migrate abroad with the intention of studying or finding employment there, you’ll have to appear for TOEFL, IELTS or PTE to initiate any visa or the university application process. The reason behind these tests being compulsory is that schools need to know if you’ll be able to communicate with your peers efficiently and understand the concepts being taught in the class mainly because no matter what the course is about, it will be taught in English. Similarly, business organizations also need to check your English language proficiency so that they get to know whether you’ll be able to understand their instructions clearly and vice versa. Now the question is what to choose between TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE? Other questions such as TOEFL vs IELTS: which is easier or TOEFL vs IELTS: which is more accepted, will also be answered in the blog.

IELTS- International English language Testing System

IELTS is one of the most common English language tests across the globe and is adopted by over 10,000 organizations worldwide in 140 nations. The exam is co-owned by Australian Universities and Colleges (IDP)’s Cambridge English Language Assessment, British Council, and International Development Program (IDP), and is provided in India by both the British Council and IDP.

IELTS was initially a paper-based test but now is also available in a computer-based format. The Speaking section of the test is conducted in an in-person session in both cases. The exam lasts for about 2 hours and 45 minutes. The test is carried out in a two-day process. Reading, listening, and writing is performed in a single session while the Speaking test takes place in a different session. Both the Computer and the Paper-based test have a registration fee of 13250. Let’s read about TOEFL to know more about TOEFL vs IELTS.

TOEFL- Test of English as a Foreign Language


TOEFL is again, one of the most commonly accepted English language tests. It is regarded to be one of the two main English language proficiency tests along with IELTS. The exam is managed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and adopted by more than 150 nations worldwide. If you are planning for a Masters in Canada you can appear for IELTS. The exam is conducted in two modes- Paper-based and Internet-based. The most preferred mode of giving TOEFL is internet-based, to prepare for TOEFL one needs practice. However, students who are residing in areas that lack proper internet or computer facilities can opt for a paper-based test. The current duration of the exam is 3 hours and 30 minutes. Just like IELTS, TOEFL consists of 4 sections, which are reading, listening speaking and writing. The examination fee is 180 USD.

PTE- Pearson Test of English

PTE is conducted by the Pearson PLC group and is conducted only in online mode. The PTE is categorized into two types- PTE academic and PTE general.

PTE Academic is accepted by governments of Australia and New Zealand for visa purposes while PTE general is usually given for employment purposes. PTE Academic consists of three sections – Speaking & Writing, Reading, and Listening. The speaking and writing section is combined all together in this test. The duration of this test is nearly around 3 hours. PTE Academic scores are scaled on a scale of 10-90, where 10 is the lowest possible score. Candidates who decide on not taking the PTE Academic exam after making their booking online have up to 14 full calendar days before their test date to claim a full refund. Candidates who cancel the test, with less than 14 calendar days, but at least 7 full calendar days before their test date will receive a partial refund of 50% of the test fee paid. However, no refund would be provided if the candidate decides not taking the exam in less than a week before the exam date. The cost of taking PTE is INR 13,300.

IELTS vs TOEFL vs PTE: Overview 

Organization Official
Education service test Pearson test

Paper-based or Computer Delivered; 

In-person Speaking test

Internet-based Internet-based
Duration 161-164 mins 161-164 mins 161-164 mins
Fee INR 13250 USD 180 INR 13,300









Speaking & Writing


TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE: Test Sections

Listening The time limit for this
section is 60-90
minutes. The candidate
needs to answer 34-51
questions in this section
after listening to 2-3
conversations and 4-5
Candidates listen to 4
recorded texts,
monologues and
narratives and write
their answers to a
series of questions.
Duration of this section
It is for 30 minutes.
The duration of this
the section is around 47-57
minutes. This section
consists of multiple-
choice questions, fill in
the blanks write from
dictation, highlight
incorrect words, select
the missing word,
highlight correct
Reading The time limit for this
section is 60-80
minutes. The candidate
has to read 4-5
passages and answer
36-56 questions based
on them.
Reading section
consists of 40 questions
and the time allotted for
this section is 60
The time limit of this
a section is about 32-41
minutes. This section
consists of multiple-
choice questions, filling
the blanks, paragraph
Writing The duration of this
the section is 50 minutes
and the candidates
have to compare a
passage and a lecture
and write their opinion
about it.
The writing section
consists of two tasks.
The first task involves
essay writing while the
the second task involves
writing a summary of
the given data in
graphical form. The
duration of these sections
It is for 60 minutes.
The writing section is
combined with the
speaking section. The
duration of this section
is 77-93 minutes. It
involves essay writing,
personal introduction,
summarizing the written
texts, answering short
Speaking The duration of this
a section is 20 minutes.
Candidate has to
answer questions about
familiar topics.
The duration of this
section is 11-14
minutes. Candidates
have to answer general
questions about
themselves, speak on a
given topic and answer
certain questions based
on that topic.

TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE Major Differences 

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Test Duration

The test duration of the IELTS exam is about 2 hours and 40 minutes, while TOEFL is the lengthiest exam with a duration of 3-4 hours and 20 minutes in total. The test duration of PTE is also around 3 hours.


The IELTS score is shown on a scale of 0-9, also regarded as bands. 7.5 or above is generally considered a good score while the TOEFL scores are shown on a scale of 0-120. The PTE exam scores are shown on a scale of 0-90. 


IELTS is a globally accepted exam but some US Universities prefer TOEFL scores instead. TOEFL, on the other hand, is not valid in the United Kingdom but is accepted in all the other countries. PTE is generally used for migrating to New Zealand or Australia.

Registration Timing

For IELTS you need to get yourself registered for the exam generally 2-3 weeks in advance while for the TOEFL exam the waiting time is much more, so you need to register at least 1-2 months in advance.
However, for PTE the dates are easily available so one can register even 5 days before the exam. If you are running short of time, you may opt for PTE.

Score Cards

The scorecard of IELTS is generally generated after 13 calendar days while the TOEFL scorecard is generated within two weeks. The PTE scorecards are available only in just 5 days.

TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE – Score Comparison



9 118-120 89-90

Very Good

8-8.5 110-117 78-85


7-7.5 94-109 64-77


6-6.5 60-93 50-63


5-5.5 35-59 35-49


0-4.5 0-34 0-34

TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE Section Wise Comparison


The reading sections of IELTS and TOEFL are quite lengthy and time-consuming as compared to PTE. In PTE, the candidates writing skills are also tested in some parts of the reading section, whereas in IELTS and TOEFL, the questions are strictly multiple-choice.


The listening section of IELTS is much shorter as compared to PTE and TOEFL. In TOEFL, candidates might need to make notes while listening to the recordings since the questions are displayed only after the recordings.


The format of the speaking section of IELTS is quite different from TOEFL and PTE. In IELTS, the speaking test is conducted in a face-to-face session with the examiner while for PTE and TOEFL, the candidates are supposed to record their answers over a microphone.


The writing section of PTE and TOEFL is generally easier than that of IELTS. The writing section of IELTS judges the candidate solely on their writing skills while in PTE and TOEFL, the writing section is either combined with listening or reading skills. However, the number of tasks is equal in all three exams. (2 tasks per writing section)

TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE: Advantages & Disadvantages

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Now that we know about the format and the scoring pattern of the test, let’s compare the advantages and disadvantages of TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE.


1. Widely acceptable in the USA to study and Canada.
2. TOEFL is very acceptable as it has over 4000 test centres around the world.
3. The examination fee is slightly less expensive as compared to IELTS and PTE.
4. The questions are easier as compared to IELTS and the chances of getting a good score are higher.


1. Test takers need to register fast as the test dates for TOEFL fill up fast, after
which they need to pay late registration fees.
2. The test duration of TOEFL is the longest
3. The exam is strictly computer-based
4. Unlike IELTS, TOEFL does not have a separate test for general purposes, so it might be tough for people who are moving abroad for immigration purposes.


1. It is preferred by the students who are familiar with British English. Indian
students are most likely to go for this exam.
2. It is widely accepted in the Australia to study, United Kingdom, and New Zealand.
3. IELTS has a separate exam for general candidates, who are going abroad for work purpose. This counts as an advantage for them as such an option is not available for TOEFL candidates.
4. It has a formal in-person interview for the speaking section, which allows the candidates to know their examiner better and be more comfortable with the process.
5. People who are not comfortable with computer-based tests have the option of giving IELTS in pen and paper-based format.


1. Some candidates are not comfortable with an in-person interview and prefer giving the speaking test over a microphone. IELTS holds a disadvantage for such candidates.
2. The speaking test is not conducted on the same day on which the reading, writing, and listening tests are conducted.
3. The writing test of IELTS is considered tougher than PTE and TOEFL
4. The score reports of IELTS are not as detailed as TOEFL and PTE report cards.


1. PTE results are generated within a week, so candidates who are in a hurry to get their English proficiency test results can consider getting PTE.
2. The writing section of PTE is easier as compared to IELTS and TOEFL.
3. PTE can be finished within a single day and unlike IELTS, it doesn’t require days to get completed.
4. There is no physical examiner present for taking the exam
5. The speaking test is not conducted in person, rather it is computer-based and the candidates can record their answers over a microphone.
6. PTE, in general, is easier as compared to IELTS and TOEFL.


1. PTE is a new test and many universities still do not accept PTE scores for their admission process. You need to verify with your target university if they accept PTE scores or not, before scheduling the test.
2. The speaking test is evaluated by a computer so the chances of getting a low score due to a heavy accent are higher as compared to IELTS.
3. The recordings used in the PTE exam are generally tougher since they use English lessons for their listening section recordings.

Popular Colleges Accepting TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE Scores Globally



TOEFL is accepted by all the universities in Australia and New Zealand. To study in France and Germany’s universities to use TOEFL scores for checking the candidate’s English proficiency. George Washington University, MIT, Harvard, and Columbia University are some of the TOEFL-accepting institutions in the United States. In case you are targeting a European university, you should consider giving IELTS rather than TOEFL because European universities generally prefer IELTS over TOEFL for their student visa application process.


IELTS is one of the most widely accepted English proficiency tests in the UK and some of the most popular universities like the University of Oxford, Cambridge University, Imperial College, London School of economics accept IELTS scores. In the United States, University of Massachusetts, Harvard business school, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California accepts IELTS scores. Australian universities accept PTE scores and as PTE is easier than IELTS and gives results within 5 days, most students who are planning to go to Australia or New Zealand choose to give PTE. In Canada, the University of Toronto, McGill University, University of British Columbia are some of the ivy league universities which accept IELTS.

3. PTE

Many people are confused about the fact of whether PTE scores are accepted by Universities in the UK or not. As per the official website of PTE, elite universities such as the University of Edinburgh, University of Manchester, King’s College, and Imperial College do accept PTE scores. Also, Universities like Yale, Harvard, and Columbia University in the United States also accept PTE scores.

The answer to this question might vary from person to person as each of them may have a different requirement. People who want to shift to the United States or Canada for education or immigration-related purpose should consider giving TOEFL, while people who want to study in the UK, Australia, or New Zealand should consider giving IELTS academics. IELTS general is also another form of IELTS whose format is slightly different from the academic IELTS as it is focused more on people who are moving abroad for work-related purposes. Amongst all three exams, PTE is the easiest and is mostly accepted in Australia and New Zealand. However, PTE being a new exam, is still not accepted by many Universities, so you need to research a bit before applying to certain universities and check with them whether they accept PTE scores or not. If you are running short of time, you can consider giving PTE as its results are delivered within a week, this may speed up the visa or application process as the test scores would be readily available. A person who is not comfortable with giving a computer-based test may opt for IELTS in a pen and paper-based format. Other than IELTS, no other test is available in an offline mode.


Out of all the three tests, IELTS is the most widely accepted one throughout the world and is flexible with the mode of exam. The only drawback which a person might face is that the speaking section of the test is conducted in-person and not over the computer. This can be difficult for people who are not comfortable with giving in-person interviews.

One advantage of this feature is that people who have an accent might be able to get away with it since the examiner would be a person and not a computer. Having an accent becomes problematic if the speaking test is being evaluated by the computer and not a real person, this might lead to a low score and your chances of studying/settling abroad might get affected. If you are more familiar with British English, you should consider giving IELTS rather than TOEFL or PTE.

Please note that before giving any of these exams, make sure that you confirm with your target universities whether they accept that exam or not. Different universities accept different test scores, so you need to make sure that you give the right test and score well in it. In case you are moving out for work, you should consider giving IELTS general as the test format is different from IELTS academic and is particularly built for people who are moving out for work-related purposes. TOEFL does not have any such option and the students, as well as the job-seeking people, need to appear for the same exam.

Know Your Author
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Abhyank Srinet
Study Abroad Expert
Abhyank Srinet, the founder of, is a globally recognized expert in study abroad and admission consulting.His passion lies in helping students navigate the complex world of admissions and achieve their academic dreams. Having earned a Master's degree in Management from ESCP Europe, Abhyank's expertise in data-driven marketing strategies has driven growth for some of the most competitive industries. As the founder of, he has helped thousands of students get into top business schools with a strong emphasis on research, shortlisting, and applying to schools from a single platform. His dedication to education has also led him to create MentR-Me, a free-to-use social platform that simplifies the study abroad process for students, while providing universities with a powerful recruitment tool. As a leader in the field of admission consulting, he is constantly researching and implementing the latest strategies to ensure that his clients receive the best possible guidance. He leads the Business Development and Digital Marketing side of both companies, and has grown both ventures to 7 figure revenue.His unique insights, experience, and dedication to his clients make him a valuable resource for anyone seeking to advance their education or career.
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