What is IELTS
The International English Language Testing System, or IELTS, as it is popularly called, is an English Language proficiency test that is required to be taken by non-native students so as to study in countries where the medium of instruction is English. IELTS is accepted by Universities in UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It has become a mandatory test for study in Australia. One cannot be granted an Australian Student Visa without an IELTS Score. All other study destinations require one to appear for either the TOEFL or the IELTS. The IELTS tests all four language skills that are important for effective communication: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The structure of the IELTS is as follows:
Reading (60 minutes) (Scoring scale: 0-9 bands)
Reading has 3 passages and 40 items (questions). Each item is worth one mark.
Writing (60 minutes) (Scoring scale: 0-9 bands)
It consists of 2 tasks (Writing Task 1 and Writing Task 2) and candidates must answer BOTH tasks.
Listening (40 minutes) (Scoring scale: 0-9 bands)
IELTS Listening has four sections, each with 10 items (or questions). Each item is worth one mark.
Speaking (11-14 minutes) (Scoring scale: 0-9 bands)
IELTS Speaking is a one-to-one interaction between the candidate and an examiner.
What is PTE
PTE Academic is the world's leading computer-based test of English for study abroad and immigration purposes. It is approved by the Australian Government for all visa applications and accepted by thousands of institutions in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand.
The test is for non-native speakers of English who need to demonstrate their level of academic English proficiency. PTE Academic accurately measures the listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills of test takers via computer in a single 3 hour test session.
To complete a PTE Academic test, you will need to attend a secure Pearson test center. You will use a computer and headset to listen to, read and respond to questions. During the three-hour test session there will be 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. PTE Academic assesses real-life, academic content, so you will hear excerpts from lectures and view graphs and charts.
You will hear a range of accents in the test, from British and American to non-native speakers, so you will be exposed to the type of accents you will encounter in everyday life.
What is TOEFL
Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) is the most popular English proficiency exam accepted at North American universities. TOEFL tests the international students’ usage and understanding of North American English as it is spoken, written and heard in college and university settings. The TOEFL test is developed and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), which sets the questions, conducts the test, and sends each examine the score report.
Often, students are confused if they need to prepare only for TOEFL or other exams are also required for admission to the US and Canadian universities. How many exams you need to prepare completely depends on the type of course you are applying to. For all undergraduate courses in the US and some in Canada, you need to prepare for SAT. For MBA courses GMAT scores are a requirement; similarly, for MS courses GRE scores are relevant. Along with all these exams, you have to take either IELTS or TOEFL.
Often international students don’t know how to choose between IELTS or TOEFL, as universities abroad ask for either exam scores. Since TOEFL syllabus is designed to test your understanding of North-American English, it should be your first choice if you are applying to universities in US and Canada. For rest of the countries, especially the UK and Australia, IELTS is usually the more preferred language exam, but TOEFL is also accepted.
TOEFL test is conducted round the year and has more than 50 test dates per year. You can retake the test as many times as you wish, but to take a re-test you have to wait for a 12-day period after attempting the first test.
Exam Pattern of TOELF
Section Duration Questions Tasks
Reading 60-80 minutes 36–56 questions Reading 3 or 4 passages from academic texts and answering questions.
Listening 60-90 minutes 34–51 questions Listening to lectures, classroom
discussions, and conversations, and then answering questions.
Break 10 minutes — —
Speaking 20 minutes 6 tasks Expressing your opinion on a familiar topic and speaking based on reading and listening tasks.
Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks Writing essay responses based on
reading and listening tasks, along with supporting an opinion