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TOEFL vs IELTS vs PTE which is more accepted?

TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE are the most widely used English proficiency tests worldwide. Many English speaking countries and even some-non English speaking

TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE are the most widely used English proficiency tests worldwide. Many English speaking countries and even some-non English speaking countries invites applicants to their country for education and employment purposes. To test the candidates’ English language skills, organizations, universities, and government rely on these test scores to select suitable candidates. 

These tests serve the same purpose, testing English skills, but some prominent features distinguish each test from the other. That is why not every university accept all the test scores, and some prefer certain test scores, and some accept all the test scores. Today we will briefly discuss these tests and find out which is more taken around the world.


On paper, these English proficiency tests appear similar to each other. These tests are popular worldwide and accepted by some of the major universities across the globe. They are designed to test the English proficiency of a candidate belonging to a non-English speaking country. The scores indicate that the respective student possesses the required skills to secure admission to the targeted university. Although the tests share some similarities, there are some notable differences which you should address and understand beforehand. 

Similarities in these tests: 

  • Universities refer to the test scores to check the proficiency of the candidates.
  • The exams test the candidates on similar parameters, particularly Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking.
  • The exam fees for appearing for the test are nearly the same, ranging between Rs.13,000 to Rs.15,000
  • The tests are also compulsory for migrating candidates looking for employment opportunities in foreign countries.

Now that we have discussed the similarities, let’s examine what differentiates these tests and make them unique.

  • The TOEFL and IELTS can be given online and offline, while the PTE is only available online. Also, the PTE test centres are relatively lesser than the other two.
  • TOEFL and IELTS tests are divided into 4 sections, while the PTE has only 3 sections with writing and speaking merging into 1 unit. The speaking section in IELTS is conducted in front of an actual examiner, while for TOEFL and PTE, you are required to record your response. The number of questions and the duration of each also varies in these tests.
  • The grading scale is also different. TOEFL score ranges from 0 to 120. IELTS grade a candidate on a scale of 0 to 9. PTE uses a scale between 10 to 90.

Which countries/ regions accept the test?

One significant difference is that not every country accepts the score of all of these test. Some prefer one particular test over other, while some tests are specially designed to target a particular region. This section will discuss which test is more accepted and which one is best suitable for your cause. 


Many foreign universities and education institutions accept international students from different countries, including non-speaking nations. Since most courses are taught in the English language, thus English proficiency test is required for the admission process. 


TOEFL is the most preferred exam among students planning to study abroad. The test is one of the oldest ones and is accepted in over 11,000 universities and institutions worldwide. TOEFL exam scores are considered for education in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, the United States, Europe and Asia 

  • IELTS 

For English speaking countries, Education institutions in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA with IELTS. There are over 130 more countries where IELTS scores are accepted successfully. More than 10,000 universities worldwide rely on IELTS to check the candidates’ English proficiency applying in these universities. 

  • PTE

PTE Academic test is an entire computer-based test that is recently getting popular among students and universities. Thousands of universities worldwide, including prestigious institutions such as Harvard, INSEAD and Yale, accept the test result. Universities from around 70 countries and regions accepted PTE academics, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, and the UK.

Work and Migration

English language skills are a must when planning to settle in an English speaking country. A candidate’s command of the English language will define how he/she can adapt to an English speaking environment and understand the course curriculum successfully. Thus, it is necessary to prove your English proficiency with a good TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score. High scores in all or any of these exams offer bright chances of receiving admission in top universities across the world. 


TOEFL iBT helps applicants with migration and residence visas. TOEFL is accepted in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Europe, and the United States. Your proficiency, ranging from Functional to Superior, can help you discover employment opportunities in these developed countries. A TOEFL score of 60 is considered competent. 


IELTS is for work and migration purposes in English speaking nations such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. An IELTS score of 6 or higher can improve your chances of getting employed in the most developed specialities such as Medical, Engineering, and Finance.

  • PTE

PTE General tests the applicants’ English communication skills and is utilized to receive permits and visas. Countries like Australia, the USA, UK, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand accept PTE score for immigration purposes. The test scores can even help in obtaining permanent residence in Australia and New Zealand.


The TOEFL, which is the oldest test among the three, is more common worldwide. In contrast, PTE, which is an entirely online-based test is gaining popularity in recent years. IELTS is also accepted in more than 130 countries for education and work-related purposes. Since many English speaking countries accept all these test scores, selecting the right test will depend on other factors. 

Desired destination, university, courses, exam pattern, difficulty, test availability, candidates’ strengths, weaknesses appropriate exam are the contributing factors while choosing the appropriate English language test. Test acceptability is one of the crucial factors which also influences an individual’s decision. Make sure to check the universities’ criteria before appearing for any of these exams. In the present times, English is the third most spoken language globally. Appearing for these exams will help you prepare with the best skills required for your professional growth, thus providing you with a progressive career.