PTE Vs IELTS: For Canadian Permanent Residency


Last Updated On : March 11 , 2024

In considering the right language test for Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada, it's essential to compare PTE and IELTS. While both are English proficiency exams, IELTS holds wider acceptance among countries and universities compared to PTE Academic. This broader recognition makes IELTS the preferred option for test takers globally.

In 2023, IELTS introduced the IELTS One Skill Retake feature worldwide. This allows individuals to retake a specific part of the IELTS test without having to repeat the other three skills. In contrast, with PTE, test takers are required to book, pay for, and undertake the entire exam again, risking the possibility of missing out on desired scores.

Which test is more user-friendly, PTE or IELTS?

When determining whether the PTE or IELTS language test is easier, individuals often seek clarity on which exam offers a more manageable experience. While neither test holds a definitive advantage in terms of difficulty, factors such as exam format and question types can influence candidates' perceptions. However, IELTS is often regarded as more accessible due to its structured exam format. Let's delve into the nuances of each test to better understand their comparative ease:

PTE Exam:

  •   Integrates listening and speaking, or reading and writing, within the same exam section.
  •  Mixes different question types, which can be challenging for some candidates.
  •    Requires completion of numerous short tasks across three sections.
  •   An illustration of complexity: PTE A integrates speaking and writing tasks within a restricted timeframe of 54 to 67 minutes for completion.


  •   Divides the exam into four distinct sections: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.
  •   Allows candidates to focus on each task separately, providing a more structured approach.
  •   Widely accepted by countries and universities, enhancing its accessibility for test-takers.
  •   Provides flexibility with options for retaking individual sections, such as the IELTS One Skill Retake feature introduced in 2023.

Analysing the Differences between PTE and IELTS


IELTS General Training

PTE Core

Test Recognition

Widely recognized globally with over 4 million tests taken worldwide in 2023.

Introduced in 2024 as an alternative test for Canadian Immigration.

Test Format

Over both traditional paper-based and computer-based tests at over 380 centres worldwide.

Completely computer-based test.

Test Duration

165 minutes (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking)

120 minutes (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking)

Speaking Test

Face-to-face interaction with a person who understands different accents.

Speaking into a computer microphone in a room full of other test takers.

Scoring Scale

Scored on a band scale from 0 to 9.

Scored on a point scale from 10 to 90 with 10- point’s intervals.

CLB Equivalency

Used by the Canadian government for score comparisons.

Example: CLB7 required for Express Entry PR.

Equivalency scores for PTE Core aligned with CLB levels.


IELTS Reading scores compared to CLB levels.

PTE Core Reading scores aligned with CLB levels


IELTS Writing scores compared to CLB levels.

PTE Core Reading scores aligned with CLB levels


IELTS Listening scores compared to CLB levels.

PTE Core Reading scores aligned with CLB levels


IELTS Speaking scores compared to CLB levels.

PTE Core Reading scores aligned with CLB levels

Acceptable Countries

Widely accepted in many English-speaking countries such as the Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and more.

Recognized in several countries worldwide for academic and immigration purposes, including immigration and academic pursuits.

Test Types

Available in two versions Academic and General Training, catering to different purposes such as study, work or immigration.

Offered as a single test format suitable for various purposes, including immigration and academic pursuits.

Authorised Organisations

Administered by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and Cambridge Assessment English.

Administered by Person, an internationally recognized educational company.


Typically available within 13 days after the test date.

Results typically become accessible within a timeframe of 3 to 5 days..

Test Centers

Conducted in numerous test centers worldwide, including major cities and remote locations.

Conducted in Person test centers globally, providing accessibility in urban and rural areas.


Fees vary by country and test center, ranging from approximately £160 to £250 GBP.

PTE exam fee varies depending on location and can range from around £120 to £250 GBP.

Popular Handbooks

Official IELTS preparation materials such as “The Official Cambridge Guide to IELTS” and “IELTS Trainer” are widely used for study purposes.

PTE Academic Official Guide and other preparation resources are popular among test-takers for effective exam preparation.

Training Resources

Various online courses, practice test, and study materials are available for candidates to prepare for the exam.

PTE preparation materials include online courses, practice test, and study guides, offering comprehensive support for test-takers.

Is PTE better than IELTS?

Many individuals prefer IELTS over PTA for Canadian PR due to its widely recognized test format, engaging interactive speaking component, and the global preference it holds among immigration authorities, making it a preferred choice for language proficiency assessment.

IELTS for Canada PR:

IELTS Proves Superior Over PTE for Canada PR:

  1. Recognized for Canada PR: IELTS holds greater recognition and acceptance for Canada PR applications compared to PTE. Immigration authorities and institutions in Canada trust IELTS as a reliable measure of English language proficiency, making it the preferred choice for aspiring immigrants.

  2. Global Preference: IELTS is preferred by test-takers worldwide due to its long-standing reputation as a trusted language test. Its widespread recognition and acceptance provide candidates with confidence in their results and facilitate their immigration or study goals.

  3. Tailored Academic Option: IELTS offers an Academic version specifically designed for individuals applying to study in English-speaking countries like Canada. This tailored approach ensures that candidates are assessed based on their academic English proficiency, making IELTS the preferred choice for academic purposes.

  4. Familiar Test Format: Many test-takers appreciate the familiar format of the IELTS exam, which includes paper-based components and a face-to-face speaking test. This familiarity contributes to a more comfortable test-taking experience and may lead to better performance for some individuals.

  5. Interactive Speaking Test: The face-to-face speaking test in IELTS allows candidates to interact with an examiner in real-life situations, enabling a more natural assessment of speaking skills. This interactive approach sets IELTS apart from PTE and provides a comprehensive evaluation of candidates' English language abilities.

PTE for Canada PR:

  1. Less Recognition: PTE may have less recognition and acceptance for Canada PR applications compared to IELTS. Some immigration authorities and institutions may not consider PTE scores as extensively as IELTS scores, limiting opportunities for candidates.

  2. Limited Test Centers: PTE test centres may be less accessible in some regions compared to IELTS, making it more challenging for candidates to schedule and take the exam.

  3. Lack of Familiarity: The computer-based format of PTE may be less familiar to some test-takers, potentially affecting their performance due to unfamiliarity with the test environment and navigation.

Comparing PTE and IELTS Score Charts

Score Type

Original PTE Academic

Revised PTE Academic


Score Ranges




In the middle range, where PTE scores are often utilised for academic admissions, the revised concordant scores have undergone minimal adjustments.

For IELTS scores of 7.5 and higher, the corresponding PTE Academic scores, although falling within the same bracket, are occasionally higher on the score chart.

Conversely, for IELTS scores of 6.5 and below, the corresponding PTE Academic scores, though within the same range, are occasionally lower on the score chart.


When choosing the ideal language test for Canadian PR, IELTS emerges as the preferred option over PTE. Its widespread recognition, tailored academic version, familiar format, and interactive speaking test make it superior. Meanwhile, disadvantages of PTE include less recognition, limited test centers, and lack of familiarity with the computer-based format.