“Which one is easier, sir?”
I keep on hearing this so many times when I talk to candidates who wish to study and/or settle abroad. PTE is supposed to be easier than IELTS. Or so they have been told. Yes, in a way it is a breeze. For one, it is easier to get dates. You don’t have to book nearly a month in advance as in the case of the IELTS pen & paper-based test. What’s more, there is also no need to go for the Speaking module on a separate day. And to top it all, the PTE results will be available to you within 5 days of taking the test. Only the computer-delivered version of the IELTS test declares its results within a week.
There are many conveniences associated with PTE. And why not? It is, after all, one of the more recent entrants in the increasingly competitive field of English Language Testing exams. Unlike IELTS which has been around for a while. On top of that, the PTE Academic test format has been thoroughly updated as recently as November 2021. All in all, the test now wears a new look and boasts a much shorter duration. There is no doubt that it is much more appealing today.
But easier than IELTS in terms of the difficulty? Umm, I’m not so sure about that. 
PTE is not like IELTS at all, and it tests the candidates in a completely different way. Sure, there are the same 4 modules – Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. However, that’s where the similarities end. And, in my opinion, it is not easier than IELTS either. PTE is simply a different kind of test, and it follows a different format. As the commercial told us, “Different, different hota hai” (different means . . .different). In a very real sense, IELTS and PTE are as “different” as chalk is from cheese. And your choice will be influenced by the answers you give to the following questions:
  • Do you consider yourself tech-savvy, at least to an extent?
  • Are you comfortable wearing a headset mic, typing on a keyboard, navigating using a mouse, and so on?
  • Do you find it easy to react almost instantly? To respond at the press of a button or upon hearing a “beep”?
  • Do you think you have it in you to continue to speak under any circumstances without taking a pause that is more than 3 seconds to gather your thoughts?
If you answer “yes” to the above questions, then don’t wait anymore, plump for PTE. If speaking extempore is not your strong point, then a paper-based test like IELTS may be a better option.
Choose after carefully considering the above questions. And be brutally honest. The sincerity with which you make this self-assessment could be the difference between success and failure in your chosen test.
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