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A Comparison of IELTS vs Other English Proficiency Tests

This blog covers all the differences between IELTS vs other English proficiency tests that aspirants need to take to study overseas and secure admission to their dream university and course. 

Table of Contents

If you are a study abroad aspirant, then you must know the pointers of differentiation for IELTS vs other English proficiency tests. Thus, this blog will list the differences between several English language entrance tests you must know to make an informed decision. Moreover, you will get along with comparing IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, PTE, and Duolingo. So, read the blog for a brief overview of various tests to take to enroll in your dream university abroad. 

If you aspire to pursue your studies in a globally recognized university abroad. Then you must be well-versed with the fact that you have to take a language proficiency test, right? But there are several exams that can make you baffled. Thus, reading this blog will reduce all your confusion and help you make an informed decision for the entrance test you need to appear for. So, in this blog, you will learn about IELTS vs other English proficiency test to get an insight into them. Thus, to understand each of them in detail, get to know about various tests that you can come across. 

What Are Different Entrance Tests to Study Overseas?

So, you have decided to pursue higher education overseas but are baffled by the never-ending processes to get into your dream universities. From the long list of procedures, appearing for the entrance exams comes first. But do you know which test is appropriate for the course, university, or country you aim to study abroad? If not, do not worry; this blog will help you explore the different language proficiency tests. Therefore, here is a list of the most popular English proficiency entrance exams:

  • PTE
  • GRE
  • Duolingo

Let us discuss these in brief to have an insight into each of them:


The International English Language Testing System is jointly owned by the British Council and IDP. This test has 4 sections to test the language proficiency of the aspirant. Each section is evaluated with a band score from 0-9. Students have to pass each section separately and overall, too. Besides this, there are several IELTS benefits that you can reap by taking the test.


The Pearson Test of English is conducted by the PLC group. It has three sections: Speaking & Writing, Reading, and Listening. Candidates are evaluated based on this test's 10-90 scale. It is accepted in countries like Australia, the UK, and New Zealand. 


The Graduate Record Examination is developed and administered by ETS. It has three sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. The exam scores are evaluated based on a 260–340 scale. Countries like the UK, USA, Australia, and Canada accept this test.


Test of English as a Foreign Language is created by ETS. This test has 4 sections: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Candidates are evaluated from 0 to 120, and skill-specific scores range from 0 to 30. This test is accepted in countries like the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia.


The Duolingo English Test is taken remotely on a computer by the aspirants. This test is divided into four sections: Literacy, Comprehension, Conversation, and Production. Countries like Canada, the USA, the UK, and New Zealand accept this exam. 

These are the most popular entrance tests that students take to study abroad. Moving ahead, we have gathered points of differentiation between these tests to make it easier to understand. Thus, hop on to the following section to explore IELTS vs other English proficiency test to know the differences.

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IELTS VS TOEFL: A Comparison

It is a common query of students that IELTS or TOEFL which is better, but this is a tricky question. As both these exams have different parameters and pointers to evaluate a candidate’s skills. So, one has to be prepared to face the struggles while appearing for them. However, both tests are designed to judge the ability of the students for the English language, but they hold some differences. These can be on the basis of format, eligibility criterion, validity, and more. So, in this section, we will discover the difference between IELTS and TOEFL to get an understanding of these in detail.

Test Administrator: British Council, IDP, Cambridge Assessment Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Format: Paper-based or Computer-based Internet-based
Sections:  Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing
Scoring: Band scores (0-9) Total score out of 0-120
Duration:  Approx 2:45 minutes Approx 3:30 minutes
Speaking Section: Face-to-face with an examiner Recorded responses
Test Availability: Multiple test dates throughout the year Frequent test dates, often multiple times per week
Score Validity: 2 years 2 years

So, till now, you must have had an idea about IELTS vs TOEFL. However, these are just the two commonly recognized English entrance tests for studying abroad. Thus, this section gives an overview of the pointers of differentiation between these tests. Moreover, by considering the above-listed factors, aspirants can decide the one that aligns with their preference. Moving ahead, the next section will list everything about IELTS vs PTE in detail.

IELTS VS PTE: A Comparison

No matter which course or university you aim to study overseas, you must take the entrance test to give proof of your English language proficiency. There are several tests that can be taken, but each of them has something distinct from the other. So, in this section, you will perceive IELTS VS PTE which is easier or better to make an informed decision to appear for any of the exams.

Test Administrator: British Council, IDP, Cambridge Assessment PLC group
Format: Paper-based or Computer-based Computer-based
Sections:  Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking Speaking and Writing (combined), Reading, Listening, Writing
Scoring: Band scores (0-9) Overall score (10-90) 
Duration:  Approx 2:45 minutes Approx 3 hours
Speaking Section: Face-to-face with an examiner Automated computer-based assessment
Test Availability: Multiple test dates throughout the year Frequent test dates, often multiple times per week
Score Validity: 2 years 2 years

So, this is all about the IELTS vs PTE tests you must perceive before appearing for any of these. Moreover, these are not the only entrance tests that are on the list of the most common ones for applying to a university abroad. So, to learn about others, hop on to the next section.

Read More: https://www.gradding.com/blog/exams/difference-between-PTE-IELTS

IELTS VS GRE: A Comparison

IELTS and GRE are both language proficiency tests designed to measure the academic and English language skills of a candidate. Furthermore, both these exams differ from each other in many ways; the GRE evaluates academic proficiency in graduate-level studies, whereas the IELTS tests English language proficiency. So, to learn more about IELTS vs GRE, go through the table below.

Test Administrator: British Council, IDP, Cambridge Assessment ETS
Format: Paper-based or Computer-based Computer-based
Sections:  Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing
Scoring: Band scores (0-9) 260–340 score scale
Duration:  Approx 2:45 minutes Approx 3:45 minutes
Test Availability: Multiple test dates throughout the year Frequent test dates, specific dates might vary
Score Validity: 2 years 5 years

Although there is a never-ending list of differences between the IELTS vs GRE, this blog tells you the most prominent ones. Through this, you must have an idea about which one to choose that suits your dream course or university.

IELTS VS Duolingo: A Comparison

Another language proficiency test on the list is Duolingo, which is widely accepted by universities abroad. However, this exam has the advantage of taking it remotely without travelling anywhere. Thus, aspirants can prove their language efficiency from their homes. Moving ahead, it has several differences from other tests. So, get a quick insight into IELTS vs Duolingo from the table below.

IELTS Duolingo
Test Administrator: British Council, IDP, Cambridge Assessment Duolingo
Format: Paper-based or Computer-based Computer-based
Sections:  Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking Adaptive Section (Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking) and Video Interview
Scoring: Band scores (0-9) Scores (10-160) 
Duration:  Approx 2:45 minutes Approx 1 hours
Test Availability: Multiple test dates throughout the year Anywhere, Anytime
Score Validity: 2 years 2 years

It is all about IELTS vs Duolingo language proficiency tests. These differ on several pointers, including format, scoring criteria, validity, etc. Moreover, to choose between these, you must consider all the pointers along with the demands of the specific university or the course you are aiming for.

It is a detailed guide about IELTS vs other English proficiency test that aspirants must perceive before taking any of them. Consider all the factors beforehand to make an informed choice that aligns with your preference and the university guidelines. Moreover, if you cannot do it by yourself, experts at Gradding.com can ease the work for you. They have a team of consultants who will evaluate the most suitable entrance test that you must take to secure your admission to your dream university.


Q.1  What Does the UK Prefer: TOEFL or IELTS? 

Scores of both these tests are accepted in the United Kingdom and worldwide. However, talking about the preferred one, IELTS is the first choice for the UK and Australia, and TOEFL is accepted extensively in the USA. 

Q. 2 Can I Select Any Language Proficiency Test?

Yes, candidates have an option to choose from the list of entrance tests. However, their preference must depend on the criteria and requirements of the university, course, or the country they are looking forward to.

Q.3 IELTS VS TOEFL Which is Easier?

Basically, no one of these tests is easier to attempt as it evaluates a candidate on several factors. Taking one of these exams totally depends on the university or country students are aspiring for.

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