Compared to other alternative tests, no. In this post, the writer who has sat and coached both IELTS and the PTE tests, compares and contrasts the PTE test with its well-established rival IELTS to give you an overview of both tests.
In IELTS, the speaking section lasts from 10 to 15 minutes covering up to 10 general topics. The candidates longest single monologue is in the second part of the speaking section where he/she is supposed to talk for 1 to 2 minutes on a topic. On the other hand, the PTE speaking section can last from 30-35 minutes covering a range of verbal activities. Unlike IELTS, PTE candidates are given 9 opportunities to talk about a topic, a picture or a lecture for about 40 seconds each time. So if you miss one, you still have 8 more to go. Only in this test, as far as I know, there is a read aloud section, where a candidate’s reading ability is measured.
On paper, IELTS and the PTE are both more or less the same when it comes to the format of the test in essay writing. But in marking, they are a world apart. In the IELTS writing, the assessor might come to a conclusion that part or most of a candidate’s writing is based on a template or memorized. Therefore, a score of 5 will be in order for that writing piece. In the PTE test, however, the creators knew that the whole language works on memory and memorizing words and structure. This means that there is no “memorized” label in this test at all. Candidates can use a particular template and use vocabularies related to the topic and Bob’s your uncle.
Reading section of the PTE test is not as complicated as that of the IELTS. You are not required to skim and scan through pages back and forth to find the answer to a question. Basically, IELTS measures your reading in a different framework. But PTE’s approach to reading is like that of the TOEFL. It measures vocabulary in a specific context where everything is clear and the candidates know what to do and what they are expected. Grammar is also tested in the reading section of the PTE test. In contrast, there is no section in the whole IELTS test where the candidate’s grammar is gauged apart from the writing section.
In the PTE test, the listening section gives you some time to reflect before you choose to go to the next question. Whereas, the IELTS listening consists of a constant concentration combined with notetaking while following a conversation. You cannot choose when to go to the next question and that puts a lot of pressure on the candidates.
All in all, the PTE test is very candidate friendly and less stressful compared to its rival IELTS. If anyone has an average score of 6 in IELTS, he/she can achieve 79 in the PTE Academic in a matter of two months practice.
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