Which is Easier, TOEFL or IELTS?

Almost every day an E2Language student will ask us which is easier, TOEFL or IELTS? Well, we think it’s time to address this question in more detail once and for all!

First and foremost, it’s important to let you know that neither of these tests is easier than the other. With that said, people are unique and have different learning and testing styles, so often they will find one test more suited to their skills over the other. To choose the right test for your needs, you must know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and you must also know which format (written or computer-based) you are more comfortable with.

I know, I know. You’re sitting there thinking, “Get to the point, Kaia!! IELTS or TOEFL, which is easy?!!” I hear you. Let’s get started!

Which is easier, TOEFL or IELTS
Which is easier, TOEFL or IELTS? Let’s find out…

Which is Easier, TOEFL or IELTS: Depends Which Test You Need!

Before choosing between TOEFL and IELTS, make sure you are able to answer the following questions:

  1. Are both tests accepted by the institution or immigration authority for the country I wish to enter?
  2. Which is more appropriate for my needs, IELTS General or IELTS Academic?

The answer to the first question is pretty important, since it may turn out that your prospective university, workplace, or federal government only accepts one of these tests. For example, the Canadian government accepts IELTS but not TOEFL for immigration purposes.

The second question may also play an important part in answering the “Which is Easer, TOEFL or IELTS?” question. If you are planning to take an English test for professional purposes only (not immigration or academic purposes), you have the option of taking the IELTS General test.

Most people find the IELTS General to be more practical and relevant to everyday life; for example the reading section contains shorter, more general texts than the IELTS Academic reading section, which focuses more on complex vocabulary and academic concepts. In addition, the first task on the IELTS General writing section asks test-takers to write a formal, semi-formal, or informal letter to someone, while the first IELTS Academic writing task requires test-takers to analyze and describe data.

 Bottom Line: Many people find the IELTS General less intimidating and complex than the IELTS Academic, so if you’re eligible to take IELTS general, you may want to keep this in mind! Out of the three (IELTS General, IELTS Academic or TOEFL), most of our E2Language students would prefer to take the IELTS General if they had the choice!

Which is easier, TOEFL or IELTS
Taking an English test for professional purposes? You should consider the IELTS General!

Which is Easier, TOEFL or IELTS: Speaking

Okay, time for you to do a little self-evaluation. Do you like speaking English in front of other people, or do you find it terrifying? Do you like speaking into a microphone with no speaking partner, or do you find it unnatural? (If you don’t know the answer to the second question, try recording yourself speaking about a topic non-stop for 2 minutes on your phone or another device to find out!)

If you enjoy engaging in conversations with others (especially strangers!) in English, you may find the IELTS speaking section a better fit than the TOEFL speaking section, in which you must record your answers using a computer and a headset.

The IELTS speaking section is a lot like a first date: your examiner is “getting to know you” and you are telling them all about yourself and your thoughts on various topics. In contrast, TOEFL speaking feels a little bit more like a traditional “test” because there are twice as many task types as IELTS (6 vs. 3) and most of these tasks are related to either summarizing or problem solving, although you must still provide your opinion in most cases.

Bottom Line: If you don’t get nervous speaking English in front of other people and you want to have an experience that’s more like a real conversation, you might find the IELTS speaking test easier than the TOEFL speaking test.

Learn more about the TOEFL Speaking Test on the E2 TOEFL YouTube Channel

Which is Easier, TOEFL or IELTS: Writing

It’s time to journey back into your own mind again! When it comes to problem solving, are you more of a concrete thinker or an abstract thinker? In other words, do you like to have the facts right in front of you, or do you prefer to piece them together yourself?

If you chose the first option, you’ll probably enjoy the graph/chart/table/diagram you’ll find on IELTS Academic Writing Task 1. This task is all about summarizing and/or describing the available information in your own words, and it is great for analytical thinkers.

The TOEFL integrated writing task delivers information in multiple ways (through a reading passage and a recording) and takes a step further than IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 by asking you to compare and contrast the information provided to you. Successfully identifying and breaking down differences or similarities in opinion takes some strong abstract reasoning skills.

As previously mentioned, the first IELTS General writing task requires you to write a letter in a formal, semi-formal or informal style. If you’re a practical person with lots of experience writing professional and personal emails and other written correspondence, you’ll probably do very well on this task.

Bottom Line: Are you a “details” person? Give those IELTS Academic graphs a try! Are you more of a “big picture” person? Have fun with those information comparisons on the TOEFL!

 Learn about IELTS Writing Task 1 on our E2 IELTS Channel

Okay, I hope you’re not still sitting there in complete frustration, chanting “IELTS OR TOEFL, WHICH IS EASY?” over and over again and wishing somebody would just give you a straight answer. Sorry guys, unfortunately life isn’t that simple most of the time!

You may find one of these tests easier than the other, but remember that your experience is different to your friends, your family, and every random person on an IELTS or TOEFL forum! The key to this question is your understanding of your own skills, shortcomings and needs.

As the wise Aaron Carter once sang in his lyrical masterpiece ‘Do you Remember’: “The answer lies in you”.

Tell us what you think! Which is Easier, TOEFL or IELTS? 


Written by Kaia

Choosing the PTE or IELTS? Ask Yourself These 3 Questions!

Are you thinking about taking an English proficiency test for immigration or study purposes, but you’re unsure which test to take: the PTE or IELTS? This article will get you asking yourself questions about which test is right for you!

Should I take PTE or IELTS?

Ask yourself these 3 questions…

Let’s say you’re applying for permanent residency in Australia and you need to take an English exam to prove your proficiency. Sound familiar?

You take the PTE Academic because word on the street is that it’s easier than the IELTS. One of your friends, for example, took the PTE and scored straight 90s or close enough. ‘It must be easier than the IELTS!’ you tell yourself, for your English is just as good as your friend’s.

So you book a PTE and sit the test. The results are ready in 48 hours and what you see shocks you:

Listening = 89  |  Reading = 86  |   Speaking = 59  |  Writing = 90

(*These results are REAL by the way! I received them today from a shocked candidate.)

How can this be? You have basically aced the PTE. Your writing score is literally perfect and your listening and reading scores are almost perfect. Speaking, however, is a disaster.

The first thought that comes to mind is technical error. Your microphone must have been broken! Oh no! I demand a rescore!

Don’t. Do you know what the PTE do if you demand a rescore? They charge you an exorbitant fee and then run your speaking through the exact same computer algorithm which will no doubt yield the exact same result.

There really is no point in asking for a re-score. And they tell you this explicitly before you pay the fee to do it. Unless you said something during the test and the invigilator agreed with you that there was a technical error, don’t re-score; it’s a complete waste of time and money.

But if it’s not a technical problem, then what is it? I mean, you probably speak English at work; you might even speak English every day with your husband or wife? Your English is excellent!

Do these 3 things for choosing PTE or IELTS

If you’re wondering whether to take the PTE or IELTS then there are three things you should do.

#1 Take the PTE mock test at www.ptepractice.com

Pearson are a good organisation. They don’t want you to waste your money on the PTE. That’s why they provide you with an official mock test, which uses the exact same computer algorithm as the real exam.

In other words, the results you will get on the mock test will be nearly identical to the results you will receive if you paid $330AUD and took the real test. They’re accurate. And, the mock test is a tenth of the price of the real test.

(The only thing you need to consider with this mock test is that you should use a good microphone – not your in-built computer microphone. Your headphones from your phone will work just fine; just test them before you start.)

#2 Analyse your results from the mock test

Sometimes it’s dead-easy to see that that PTE is not for you. For example, the scores I showed you before are a red-flag for taking the PTE:

Listening = 89  |  Reading = 86  |  Speaking = 59  |  Writing = 90

This person CLEARLY has great English, but the PTE doesn’t like her pronunciation. The PTE is STRICT on pronunciation.

It doesn’t matter how perfect your grammar is or how precise your vocabulary is, if you have a non-native English (and I mean non-British, non-Australian, non-American, non-Canadian, non-New Zealander) – if you have any accent at all, the PTE will penalise you.

#3 How good is your writing score?

The person above should take the IELTS – no doubt about it – especially if she can take IELTS General, because that’s an easier test altogether. The main reason she should take the IELTS is because her writing score is excellent.

The trouble with IELTS is writing. Just like the PTE is strict on speaking, the IELTS is strict on writing. REALLY STRICT. If your grammar, vocabulary and essay writing skills are limited, then you have a tough choice to make.

PTE or IELTS? Really it comes down to:

Improve my speaking for the PTE?     


Improve my writing for the IELTS?

Find more insights into PTE or IELTS on the major differences and which test is easier here!

Which skill is easier to improve?

It depends on yet a couple more things…
Improving PTE Speaking

Firstly, how old are you? How ingrained is your accent? Can you neutralise your accent? Do you have methods to complete the PTE tasks? How much practice have you done? Do you get nervous on test day? Do you have a speech impediment – like a stutter?

There are a number of questions that you need to ask yourself before you choose to take on the PTE rather than the IELTS. All of the above questions are legitimate.

Speaking is a difficult skill to improve. And the older you are, the harder it becomes because our brains ‘fossilize’; they cannot mimic native English pronunciation anymore. They get ‘stuck’ with the original accent.

E2Language can definitely help you out by providing you with an initial assessment (Study Plan consultation), feedback, tutorials and probably and just as importantly, METHODS. However, in some situations, it’s a no-go zone. One of our experts might instruct you to switch to IELTS instead rather than take on PTE’s speaking algorithm.

Improving IELTS Writing

IELTS is notorious for giving 6.5 to its candidates. Score such as this are common:

IELTS Listening: 9  |  IELTS Reading: 8.5  |  IELTS Speaking: 8.5  | IELTS Writing: 6.5

Getting an IELTS 8 for writing has become a near-impossibility for some. To improve writing you really have to get your sentences straight grammar-wise. You really need to sharpen your vocabulary. You really need to learn the structures for the five different IELTS essay types.

Most importantly, you need FEEDBACK. You need to know what you’re doing wrong; otherwise, you are roaming around in the dark now knowing what’s good and correct and what’s incorrect.

If you do choose to take on IELTS writing instead of PTE speaking then check out www.e2language.com for tutorials, writing feedback and just as importantly METHODS for the different tasks.

So here’s my two cents when it comes to choosing the PTE or IELTS.

Learn about the differences between PTE and the IELTS in this video on E2 YouTube channel below: 

So, PTE or IELTS? Ask yourself:

1. Which is better: My speaking or my writing?

If speaking, choose PTE.

If writing, choose IELTS.

2. Which test do I need to take? PTE Academic, IELTS Academic or IELTS General?

If IELTS General, choose IELTS General. It’s easier.

3. Should I prepare before I take this test?

Absolutely. At least sign up for the E2Language “budget” package to learn the methods and get access to quality practice materials. It’ll help enormously.

Check this video as Jay answers some FAQS from students for IELTS, PTE or OET

Follow our social media for more information on the PTE and IELTS! 

Written by Jay. 

5 Reasons to Choose TOEFL Over IELTS & TOEIC

There are so many tests to choose from, so why choose TOEFL over the rest?

Why You Should Choose TOEFL: Gold Standard

Whether you’re in HR or academia, this test is a by-word for excellence in English language testing. The TOEFL has a standardised structure that is clearly divided into four distinct steps:

  1. Reading
  2. Listening
  3. Speaking and;
  4. Writing
Choose TOEFL
The 4 English skills tested for TOEFL

Numbers i) and ii) are receptive skills, meaning you are the passive recipient of written or spoken English. The speaking and writing sections are productive, so your active ability to demonstrate your English-language competence is put to the test.

Suffice to say that all four represent the skills that you will need to have mastered before entering an academic environment in higher education. A solid TOEFL score objectively demonstrates to the institutions you are applying to that you have dominated the English language.

Why You Should Choose TOEFL: Booking is Easy as Pie

It is easy to book a TOEFL test wherever you are in the world. There are test centres everywhere, and nowadays it is all done online. There’s no need to struggle with an old-fashioned pencil and paper (see the IELTS or TOEIC), because the TOEFL is an internet based test.

Indeed, there are very few countries in the world today where you cannot sit the TOEFL test, an assertion that other major EFL tests are not able to make. And as for ease of use, there are over 50 TOEFL iBT test dates every year, you do everything in one sitting (I’m looking at you, IELTS!) and the results come out quickly.

Choose TOEFL
Booking the TOEFL online is incredibly easy.

Why You Should Choose TOEFL: Rich Pickings

Because the TOEFL has been around for so long, there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to preparing for the test. Get onto Google and a quick search will turn up tens of thousands of pages of exercises, books, PDFs, videos and online courses. Unsurprisingly, a lot of this is can be of dubious quality, so have your wits about you when you decide to invest your precious time and hard-earned money.

The saying in English is “forewarned is forearmed”, and in most cases, you will get what you pay for. Keep your eyes peeled for authentic questions, sometimes gleaned from previous tests, as well as real-time, live training sessions and helpful explanatory videos. The cumulative effect will be the shoring up of your test knowledge, leaving you fully equipped on test day.

Why You Should Choose TOEFL: Fair and Balanced

The TOEFL is a hugely popular test because it is seen by test takers and institutions alike as a fair measure of your English language competence. Clearly, a lot of thought goes into preparing the TOEFL.

Take the TOEFL speaking section, for example, in which you are required to speak your thoughts directly into a microphone without having to face a total stranger. Your recorded speech is rated by up to half a dozen experts at the ETS, ensuring your work is properly vetted and checked by people who know what they are listening to.

Choose TOEFL
The TOEFL is recognized for its fair approach to scoring.

Why You Should Choose TOEFL: Open Arms

Dominating the TOEFL is your key to studying in some of the best universities in North America and around the world. At last count, almost 10,000 institutions endorsed the TOEFL as the go-to test for under- and post-graduate students. Applying to courses with a valid TOEFL certificate in your hands is a sure-fire way to get your application to the top of the admissions pile!

Still not sure if you should choose TOEFL? Feel free to email us for more information!

View these must-read tips for managing your TOEFL preparation

Follow our social media for more TOEFL resources and updates!



Written by Colin.

PTE or OET? Which Test Should I Take?

Many of our students are confused about whether they should take PTE or OET for immigration and employment purposes, so we decided to provide some facts about which test may be right for your situation. 

Hi my name is Jay and I’m one of the expert teachers at E2Language. E2Language is the OET’s only authorised ‘feedback provider’. We are the only institute trained by the OET to give feedback on writing and speaking. We have an online OET course that is second to none. Our materials and our methods get students the score they need.

But is OET the right test for you? Although you are a medical professional, you can take other tests, such as the PTE. Should you take the OET? Here are some reasons why and why not that you should consider…

PTE or OET: Why you should take the OET instead of the PTE.

Medical vocabulary

The main reason doctors, nurses and physios take the OET instead of the PTE is because they feel more comfortable with the vocabulary associated with their profession. In the OET writing sub-test you must write a letter using vocabulary that you are familiar with. You will not be faced with a question prompt about ‘spaceships’ or ‘global warming’. The same goes for reading and listening: The words you hear will be medical words; they will be familiar to you.

Professional development

The other big reason why doctors, nurses and physios choose the OET over other tests is because they feel it relates to their professional development. The tasks that you do in the OET are ones that mirror the workplace environment. Listening to a consultation and taking notes in the listening sub-test, for example, is one such real-life task. Writing a discharge letter is another. The test can prepare you for your upcoming job in the hospital or clinic whereas the PTE will not really apply.

The OET takes into account the English skills that you will need in the workplace if you are a healthcare professional.

PTE or OET: Why you should take the PTE instead of the OET.

It’s cheaper

The cost of the PTE is substantially less than the OET, so if money is an issue then PTE might be a better option.

It’s quicker

The results of the PTE are released within 2-3 days of taking the test, so if time is an issue for you then the PTE might be a better option.

It has more tasks

Why would more tasks be a better thing? Wouldn’t that make it a worse test to take? Well… it depends on your attitude towards taking the test. If you see the PTE or OET as a barrier that you have to get through then it doesn’t really matter what you have to do, but if you see these tests as an opportunity to improve your spoken, written and comprehension of English then the PTE is arguably a more ‘rounded’ English tests. It tests more aspects of your language and as such gives you more opportunities to improve your English all ‘round. For example, in the reading section of the PTE there are five different tasks, each of which tests a different aspect of reading and vocabulary. Preparing for the PTE, then, gives you a better insight into English language.

Make sure you check out our blog’s free PTE practice questions and PTE writing sample.

It’s on a computer

I’m not sure about you, but I can’t write with a pencil anymore. Years of typing on a keyboard has rendered my handwriting skills redundant. While I haven’t taken the OET, I have taken the PTE and the IELTS. Typing, for me, is far easier than writing by hand.

The PTE is completely digital, which is certainly an advantage for tech-savvy test takers!

There aren’t many OET preparation materials

One of the problems with the OET is that the preparation materials are extraordinarily difficult to create. As such, there are very few ‘sub-tests’ on the internet to practice with, and usually what you find is sub-standard. E2Language is different in that our preparation materials are top quality. However, if you need HEAPS of practice materials because your English is low, then you should opt for the PTE because we have more practice materials. On the other hand, if your English is already very good, then you should consider doing the OET because you don’t need that much practice.

If you decide to take the PTE, make sure you visit the E2 PTE YouTube channel for webinars and video lessons like this one:

What else do you need to know about the OET?

If you are leaning towards the OET as your preferred test, there are some other things you should know before you go ahead and book your test.

A) Get feedback

Vocabulary and grammar aside, the way that you write a referral or a discharge letter is quite complicated. The method of selection, transformation and organisation requires practice, and more importantly, it requires feedback. You shouldn’t just get any old feedback, however. You need expert feedback from people who are officially trained by the OET – in other words, us. We know what you need to do to get an A or B on the OET writing.

B) Learn methods

OET Reading Part A is a real killer. You have 15 minutes to answer about 30 questions – or 1 question per 30 seconds. Without a method – without a step by step approach to this sub-test it is virtually impossible to score highly. There are two skills that OET candidates consistently fail and they are writing and reading.

PTE or OET: What should I do now?

If you need to become a registered nurse or practice medicine in Australia, for example, and you need to pass the OET or another test like the PTE then you should start your preparation immediately. Don’t underestimate how challenging these tests are. We’ve had candidates who have completed a four year nursing degree in Australia – who have written essays and done workplace practice – yet fail the OET several times because they did not prepare adequately. This is the final step before you land your dream job – don’t let this test stop you.

If you decide to take the OET, make sure to visit our E2 OET YouTube channel for some free webinars and video lessons like this one:

Do you still feel like you need some expert advice about whether you should take PTE or OET? Contact us and one of our knowledgeable tutors can help you make your decision and select the PTE or OET preparation course that best suits your needs!

Follow our social media for more PTE & OET resources and updates!



Written by Jay Merlo.

IELTS Academic or IELTS General: What’s the Difference?

A lot of people doing the IELTS aren’t sure of which one to take: IELTS Academic or IELTS General.

Well, it depends on why you are doing the IELTS.

If you are doing it to get into an English-speaking university or professional registration, then you will need to do the IELTS Academic. If you are doing it for migration purposes, then you will need to do the IELTS General.

IELTS Academic or IELTS General
Many test-takers aren’t sure which IELTS test they need!

The IELTS test has 4 parts:

  1. Writing (task 1 & 2)
  2. Reading
  3. Listening
  4. Speaking

Writing Task 2, Listening and Speaking are the same for both IELTS Academic and IELTS general.

Writing task 2 is an essay. You will be given an essay question to answer in 40 minutes by writing at least 250 words.

In the Listening test, you will hear 4 audio recordings and have to answer 40 questions. It lasts between 30-40 minutes.

In the Speaking test, you will be interviewed by an examiner. This test includes 3 parts: the interview, the short presentation and the discussion. It last between 11-14 minutes.

The only difference between the two tests is Writing Task 1 and Reading.

So, how are they different? I’ll start off with writing task 1 and then move onto the reading.

IELTS Academic or IELTS General: Writing Task 1


Describe and analyse data in one of the following:

  • Bar chart
  • Line graph
  • Pie chart
  • Table
  • Diagram


Write a letter in one of the following styles:

  • Formal (to someone you do not know)
  • Semi-formal (to someone you know formally)
  • Informal (to friend or family)

You get 20 minutes to complete both of these tasks and must write at least 150 words for each.

IELTS Academic or IELTS General: Reading


  • 3 long passages increasing in difficulty
  • Academic style texts (journal articles, text-book extracts)
  • Texts related to academic topics such as science, history, sociology


  • 4 short passages increasing in length and difficulty
  • More general /everyday style texts
  • Texts related to social survival (advertisements, notices etc.); workplace survival (job descriptions, employment contracts etc.); general texts (newspapers, magazines, travel brochures etc.)

You get an hour to complete both of these reading tasks (50 minutes of reading time and 10 minutes to transfer your answers onto your answer sheet). Both tests include 40 questions in total.

Which IELTS is for you: IELTS Academic or IELTS General?

Ahmad is applying to get into university in Australia. He wants to study a Master of Business at the University of Melbourne. Although he has graduated from an English-speaking university in Egypt, the University of Melbourne has requested an IELTS test. To be considered for acceptance into the Master’s program, Ahmad will need to complete the Academic IELTS.

Jaspreet is on a Working Holiday visa from India. She has applied for a job with an IT company in London. The company has asked for evidence of Jaspreet’s English ability. Jaspreet should complete the IELTS Academic.

Gabriela is a dentist from Brazil. She now lives in Sydney and wants to apply for registration with the Dental Board of Australia. In order to do so, Gabriela will need to complete the IELTS Academic.

Juan visited Ontario last year and met the love of his life. He now wants to migrate to Canada to be with her. As part of his application for immigration, Juan will need to complete the IELTS General.

If you’re unsure about which test to take, try this article: Why IELTS may be right for you!

If you aren’t sure which one to take, ask the organisation that has requested the IELTS. From there, you can sign up to one of our flexible, online IELTS courses to learn the strategies and methods you’ll need to succeed on the Academic or General IELTS!

Visit E2 IELTS for more preparation videos, like the IELTS General and IELTS Academic Course Overview from E2Language. 

Follow our social media for more IELTS resources and updates!


Written by Jamal Abilmona.

IELTS vs PTE Difficulty: The Writing Sections

IELTS vs PTE – everybody wants to know which test will match their skill set the best. I thought I would begin answering this intimidating question by talking about the differences between the two tests when it comes to the writing sections.

My name is Jay and I am a native English speaker from Australia. I’m also an English teacher. Not only that, but I’m a language expert with a masters degree in applied linguistics from the University of Melbourne.

I’m also naturally curious. I find it interesting to take English language tests, such as the PTE and IELTS. They’re not exactly fun, and it’s definitely not my number one hobby, but I do find it fascinating. (Admittedly, I don’t like spending $300 each time I do it…) Who knows? I might have been in the test center with you that day… I was the guy with the blue Australian passport who people were looking at thinking, “Why is he here?”.

Here I am discussing my PTE experience with my colleague!

I’ve taken the PTE Academic and the IELTS Academic and as a result I now have very good insights into both tests. Yes, I sat next to you and stared at the PTE computer for three long hours and did ‘Summarize Written Text’ and ‘Summarize Spoken Text ‘and ‘Write Essay’. Yes, I sat beside you and did ‘IELTS Writing Task 1’ and ‘IELTS Writing Task 2’.

Here are some critical differences that you should consider when choosing either the IELTS Academic or PTE Academic with regards to getting higher writing scores. Get ready for an IELTS vs PTE writing showdown! 

IELTS vs PTE Writing – a quick overview

In the PTE Academic you must:

  • Write an argumentative essay of between 200 and 300 words in 20 minutes (Write Essay)
  • Summarize a block of text into a single sentence in 10 minutes (Summarize Written Text)
  • Summarize a spoken lecture into 70 words in 10 minutes (Summarize Spoken Text)

In IELTS Academic you must:

  • Describe a graph/process in at least 150 words in 20 minutes (IELTS Writing Task 1)
  • Write a 250 word essay presented in various formats in 40 minutes (IELTS Writing Task 2)

PTE Write Essay vs IELTS Writing Task 2

Comparing the essays is the most obvious place to start because both tasks are the biggest and most time-consuming.

In PTE Write Essay you have 20 minutes to write a 200-300 word argumentative essay. In IELTS Writing Task 2 you have a number of different essay types that you may see, and you have 40 minutes to write at least 250 words. Overall, I think it’s easier to score a higher mark in PTE Write essay for the following reasons:

In PTE Write Essay there is only ONE type of essay – the argumentative essay. While the question prompts differ slightly, you can always use the same structure for all of your essays. How you organise – or structure – your essay has a massive impact on your overall grade. In this respect, PTE wins a point for easiness because IELTS Writing Task 2 hits you with various question types – agree/disagree, give you opinion, double question etc.

In PTE Write Essay you get 20 minutes to write at least 200 words while in IELTS Writing Task 2 you get 40 minutes to write at least 250 words. Hmmm, that’s 20 more minutes for only 50 more words, right? Well… it’s not that simple: Consider that in the PTE you get to TYPE on a computer! I don’t know about you, but I can type MUCH FASTER than I can write with an old-fashioned grey-lead pencil. What’s more, if you want to change something, delete something or move something then it is super easy. For me, typing 200 words in 20 minutes versus writing 250 words in 40 minutes with a pencil is a no-brainer. I choose the keyboard any day of the week.

PTE: Summarize Written Text AND Summarize Spoken Text vs IELTS Writing Task 1

It’s not quite fair to compare IELTS Writing Task 1, where you have to describe a graph in at least 150 words, with PTE’s Summarize Written Text where you have to write a single sentence of anywhere between 5 and 70 words. So, to make the battle fairer I will add the other writing task in PTE, Summarize Spoken Text, where you have to summarize a spoken lecture into 70 words or fewer.

I must say that when I did the IELTS I had a formula for IELTS Writing Task 1 that made it FAR SIMPLER. I had a plan. I had a structure. I knew exactly where to start and where to end and everything in between (see this blog post!). If you went into the IELTS Academic without a formula for Writing Task 1 then I think you would get a big surprise because A) you wouldn’t know what to write and B) you would waste heaps of time! There’s no doubt that IELTS Writing Task 1 is more complex and challenging than the other two PTE writing tasks – Summarize Written / Spoken Text. However, without that formula you wouldn’t have a chance of scoring above IELTS 7.

See an overview of our IELTS Writing Task 1 formula here:

In Summarize Written Text you have to summarize a block of text into a single sentence. It sounds easy, right? No way… If you do not know your grammar, if you don’t know a ‘subject + verb + object’ sentence when you see one, then you will not score highly on PTE Writing. I see hundreds of PTE students write the most ridiculous snake-like sentences thinking that they have written a single sentence. NOPE!

Check out some of our Summarize Written Text tips here:

Summarize Spoken Text, in contrast, is quite simple in terms of writing, but it does require you to listen to and understand the content of an academic lecture. So, it’s a double-edged sword. If you’re a good listener, you can rest assured that you do not need to write complex sentences. Short, sharp sentences are fine with this task. But, as I said, if the lecture doesn’t sink  in… who knows what will come out!

In short, if you have a formula for IELTS Writing Task 1 and you know your grammar for PTE Summarize Written Text and if you can understand an academic lecture for PTE Summarize Spoken Text, then the challenge is about equal.

IELTS vs PTE – My humble (and informed) opinion…

For this section of the test, PTE comes out as slightly easier but not by much and it’s not a straightforward difference. A good preparation course for IELTS Academic, such as the one on E2Language.com, will give you the methods and formulae you need to crack the exam – especially for IELTS Writing Task 1. But overall, PTE is slightly more forgiving, not least of all because you can type your answers, and if you make a mistake, like I always do, you can easily fix it. 

What are your thoughts on IELTS vs PTE when it comes to the writing sections? Let me know in the comments!

If you have any questions about IELTS vs PTE, check out our free forum and ask away!


Written by Jay Merlo.

Failed an English Test? Worth Switching Your PTE, IELTS, TOEFL or OET Exam?

Ever failed an English test for the PTE, IELTS, TOEFL or OET exam? If you fell short of the score you needed in a particular English proficiency exams, one of the first things you’ll want to do is switch tests. You tell yourself: the “PTE must be easier than IELTS!”

Disbelief and blame is a common symptom of failure.

The truth is, after failing an English test, switching tests takes a lot of time and energy and may not be the solution to your problem. Each test has a very different format and each format takes a long time to learn.

failed an english test

Consider the different structures of the following listening tests and your head will spin:

PTE Listening: 45 – 57 minutes / 7 different tasks

Summarize spoken text / Multiple choice x2 / Fill the blanks / Highlight the correct summary / Select missing word / Highlight incorrect words / Write from dictation

IELTS Listening: 30 minutes / 4 “sections” with 10 different question types

Multiple choice / Matching, plan/map/diagram labelling / Form/note/table/flow-chart/summary completion / Sentence completion

TOEFL Listening: 60 – 91 minutes Listen to lectures, classroom discussions and conversations, then answer questions

Specific detail / Function / Attitude / Organization / Connecting / Inference

OET Listening: 50 minutes / 2 “parts” of 20-28 questions. Part 1 is a consultation where you take notes. Part 2 is an academic lecture on a medical topic. There are many different question types including:

Multiple choice / Short answer / Gap-fill

If you failed the PTE or the TOEFL because you’re digitally illiterate, then switch. I don’t think that the PTE or TOEFL are suitable for people who struggle to use a mouse or keyboard. Think older test-takers. It may be the machine and not the content that you failed on. And if you struggle to use a pen or pencil in the IELTS or OET, then switch to the PTE or TOEFL and use the keyboard.

But if you’ve unfortunately failed your English test because, well… your English is weak, there’s only really one thing to do: learn. And when I say learn, I don’t mean practice.

English practice tests are only effective after you have learned, or re-learned, your fundamental English skills.

Grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading, writing, speaking and pronunciation. Practice tests should be the cherry on top before you take the plunge (you should learn idioms, too).

If you’ve failed an English test more than, say, three times, and you have learned, reviewed and practiced the test then you may want to think about switching. If the essay topic in the IELTS threw you, and you are more comfortable with your medical topics because you’re a nurse, then the OET is probably a better choice. If you suffered anxiety in the OET speaking and you’d feel more comfortable talking to a computer, then switch to the PET or TOEFL.

But if you failed an English test because your English is weak, hold your horses and stick to the test that you know and concentrate on building your English.

Check out www.e2language.com for online preparation courses that are effective, enjoyable and convenient.

Read the following articles:

Follow our social media for more IELTS resources and updates!


Written by Jarrad Merlo

IELTS or PTE? Which test is easier?

If you’re thinking about taking an English proficiency test for immigration or study purposes, you’ve probably wondered “IELTS or PTE?” at least once. Hopefully this article will help you make your decision.

Mrs IELTS has been teaching at the local school for decades. She’s old, traditional and well-respected. She knows her grammar back-to-front and is a walking dictionary. She insists that you use pencil and paper in class and there are certainly no games. She’s very good at what she does and everybody knows it.

Ms PTE has just graduated from college. She’s fresh, fun and very smart. Because she’s young you can use laptops or tablets in class, which is exciting. Her English tests are a bit ‘friendlier’ than Mrs IELTS’.

Word in the playground has it that Ms PTE’s English tests are easier than Mrs IELTS, but is it really true?

The short answer to this question is NO. The difficulty of IELTS compared to PTE is the same. Neither test is easier than the other. They are both demanding and require fundamental skill building as well as knowledge of the test format.

The only real differences are:

  • PTE is delivered via a computer while IELTS is completed with pen and paper (but this is changing!).
  • PTE has 20 different, shorter tasks while the IELTS has 5 longer tasks.

When thinking about whether to choose IELTS or PTE consider the following questions:

IELTS or PTE: Am I digitally literate? That is, can I use a computer?

If no, then take the IELTS because a number of the PTE tasks require you to have computer skills. For younger people, this comes naturally but for older people you may be safer in Mrs IELTS classes.

Do you find computers easy to use? Being confident with technology is essential for PTE success.

IELTS or PTE: Do I have a strange accent?

If you were raised in Pakistan but then moved to Australia and then moved to the UK you may want to think about doing the IELTS because the human examiner will be able to understand your accent better. Of course, if you speak clearly then you can take either tests, but if, for some reason, you are failing your PTE speaking and scoring low on “oral fluency” you want to consider Mrs IELTS classes as she has had a lot better experience listening to strange accents.

IELTS or PTE: Do I need my results quickly?

If you need your results quickly then take the PTE. There turnaround on test results is impressive. Ms PTE, unlike Mrs IELTS, grades her students’ exams in her lunch break. (Graduate teacher!)

IELTS or PTE: I only have a short time to prepare. Which test is easier to cram for?

If you only have a short time to prepare then you shouldn’t take either test. Both tests are difficult and you shouldn’t try to ‘wing’ it.

In saying that, if you really do need to cram, both are about the same. The IELTS is arguably easier to cram for because the number of questions are fewer, but then again the PTE has a great practice website.

To conclude, if you think that the PTE is easier than the IELTS then you’re wrong and you may be disappointed. Both tests are rigorous. If you fail to prepare adequately then you should expect to be disappointed. The tests are barriers and they’re barriers for a reason. Universities and immigration want to know that you are skilled in English.

Follow our social media for more PTE resources and updates!


Suggestion: Study. Prepare. Learn. Improve! And make sure you sign up for a free trial with us. Our E2Language reviews speak for themselves!


Update: E2Language teacher Jay took both PTE and IELTS, and explains the difference between the two. 

Check out our previous posts why PTE or IELTS may be right for you. 

Written by: Jay Merlo