Here’s a comparison of TOEFL, IELTS and PTEA exams all of which are taken to prove the English proficiency of students for college admissions abroad.

I have considered 15 factors that have been used to compare these tests taken by non-native English speaking students applying for admission to U.S. colleges and universities.

TOEFL and IETLS are widely accepted tests. The new PTEA is slowly being accepted by a lot of schools, but it’s still not that popular as TOEFL or IELTS.

I think that has got to do with the brand name recognition among test givers and takers, as well as the availability of test prep resources.


What is Test of English as Foreign Language International English Language Testing System Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic)
How Much? Internet Based Test – $170 USA; $165 – India USA – $185 from Dec. 3, 2009; RS 7200 – India $170 – USA; $160 – India
Test Content Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing
Reading 60 to 100 Minutes 60 Minutes 32 to 41 minutes
Listening 60 to 90 Minutes 30 Minutes 45 to 57 minutes
Speaking 20 Minutes 11 to 14 Minutes 77 to 93 minutes
Writing 50 Minutes 60 Minutes
Total Score 0 to 120 Overall Band Score, on a scale from 1 to 9 10 to 90
Score Reports Printed score reports. Mailed approximately 2 weeks after your test. Online Results Available, too. Results just 13 days after the test. Reports Mailed. Some centers send SMS alerts or Online Results. Online Score report ONLY. Scores available 5 Business Days after test.
Score Forwarding 4 Universities for free 5 Universities free of charge. Scores can be reported online.
Additional Reports $17 per University Cannot find info in website Free to any number of Universities.
Accepted at? 7,000+ colleges, universities and licensing agencies in more than 130 countries 2,000 US universities; About 50 US Universities (We manually counted), More Universities are being added.
Scores Reporting Time Online orders mailed 4-7 business days after request. Mail or fax orders, mailed 2 weeks after request. Cannot find Score forwarding info from website. Test Reports will be made available in 24 hours after reporting the scores online.
Website Usability Very Easy to find the required Info Can be improved. Some of the required information for test takers is hard to find. Website much better than IELTS, but having sections like ETS site will make the job easier for test takers.
Comments Widely Accepted; Online Score Reporting; Takes longer to get scores. Recently, US Universities are accepting IELTS. Might take longer time for students to consider taking IELTS for US school admission at least in India, unless they make it really cheap. Free Score forwarding. Faster Scores availability, Online score reporting. It will take time to reach the students. TOEFL and IELTS sound easier to pronounce than PTEA 🙂 Less expensive compared to TOEFL and IELTS.

Information in the above table was taken from the respective test websites. Refer to actual exam website for more detailed information. If any info is incorrect, leave a comment.

So, which exam would you take when applying at U.S. universities and colleges?


  1. pavan on December 10, 2014 at 12:40 AM

    Hi , This is really useful but actually, I am confusing between IELTS vs PTEA. I wrote IELTS several times aimed for 7 bands but not achieved. Someone claimed PTEA marking is much bettet than IELTS. so could any one help me with this please..

  2. Anabel on April 29, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    Thanks for the information, it’s very useful.

  3. Francis on August 2, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    Please, what is the website for the IELTS? I s there a test center in Cameroon? Give me more information on this.

  4. Anmol on March 16, 2010 at 8:15 PM

    Thanx HSB.. infirmation provided by you is very useful…
    hope you will keep uploading this kinda of good stuff. thanx

  5. Pete on October 7, 2009 at 11:01 AM

    Hi, what is the website for the PTEA? Is there a test centre in India? Who can I contact in India for more information?


    • Pete on October 7, 2009 at 11:24 AM

      Hey, found the website (googled it of course, silly me!). Will someone please comment on the GMAT 'endorsement'? Does this mean that all univs that ask for GMAT scores will prefer (?) the new test over the IELTS and TOEFL? ETS monopoly slowly shifting to GMAT?

    • Varun Kumar on January 4, 2010 at 12:49 AM
      • Varun Kumar on January 4, 2010 at 12:51 AM

        I think that all universities will prefer the conventional test systems like TOEFL and IELTS. They may take time to understand the new test systems.

  6. Djsc00by on October 6, 2009 at 11:53 PM

    For PTE Academic you can send score reports to as many institutions as you choose, with no additional fee.


  7. easwaran on October 6, 2009 at 8:22 PM


    Once again thanks for your enlightening post

    about all exams that are absolutely required to enter in to US Universities

    keep writing

    keep serving

    in spite of exploitation

    in spite of back stab

    in spite of all




    • Harish on December 27, 2009 at 3:58 AM

      Hi eawaran,

      i gave my GRE long back in JAn 2009, but i need to give my TOEFEl …i am thinking to write IELTS ..can you please let me know which type of IELTS exam to write..whether Academic or General..plz plz give me some info on this..i am applying for fall2010..

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