The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a standardized test in the field of testing and certifying English language proficiency of non-native speakers. Initiated in 1989, it is jointly conducted by British Council, Cambridge English Language Assessment and IDP Education and has a global acceptance in more than 8000 organizations. A relatively new entrant, the Pearson Test of English (PTE) was introduced in 2009 and authorized by Edexcel and QCA to check the English-speaking capability of immigrants to countries like Australia, New Zealand and now in Canada too. IELTS has two versions, Academic (for study visa) and General (for work permit) but PTE has a single format for both.
IELTS is a paper-based test whereas PTE is a computer-based test. Both the tests have four modules viz. Listening (L), Writing (W), Reading (R) and Speaking (S) but there are some differences in the way they are conducted. In IELTS, all the first three modules are conducted on same day in one go while Speaking is conducted like a live- communication with a physical examiner on a different day, before or after, and recorded on a recording device. In PTE, all the four modules are computer- based and recorded on the same day. Since IELTS is paper-based, one can refer backward or forward but in PTE, this is not allowed. IELTS writing is done on a paper with a pencil while PTE writing is typed on the screen. The IELTS score card is available after 13 calendar days and PTE score report comes within 5 business days. Since PTE is an automated test, the chances of human bias, while scoring are negligible.
The IELTS tests are conducted once a week in over 900 centers in more than 130 nations on pre-fixed dates whereas PTE can be taken 6 days a week, subject to the availability of seat in the desired centers.