As I promised yesterday, for today’s post I am going to go into the differences between the two writing sections in more detail, so. let’s get started…
PTE Academic requires you to write an essay (only one type of essay here, an opinion essay) of 200-300 words in 20 mins. You have to summarize a text of around 300 words into a single sentence of between 30 to 75 words in 10 mins. Also, you have to summarize a spoken lecture into 70 words in 10 minutes.
In IELTS Academic you have 2 tasks, write a 150+ word report on visual information in 20 mins (this could be data, chart, graph, etc, or a map, or a process). Also, write an essay of over 250 words in 40 mins, this could an opinion, discussion, two part question, advantages/disadvantages, etc.
If we take the essay task first, the PTE may be slightly easier in that it’s typed as I said, so for a lot of people that will allow them to write faster and of course, on a keyboard, its easier to delete, copy/paste, move words and sentences around instead of crossing out on paper, and if your handwriting is illegible this is also a plus point. Another thing is that the PTE essay only takes one form, an opinion or argument essay whereas the IELTS has five possibilities. For the PTE, you only need to learn one structure which you can use for every question prompt, whereas for IELTS you need to know the difference between five. And the PTE is slightly less academic, in that it is a little easier on formality than IELTS. So, PTE essay might be “easier” in this regard.
As to the other tasks, in IELTS you have to write a report on visual information, as I mentioned, a graph, piechart, table, map, etc, now the good news here is that there is a simple structure which you can apply to every Academic Task 1, you can find the video here. However, you still need practice in analysing the key trends and features so you know what to include and what to exclude. And of course, it’s pen and paper, etc…as before…
The other PTE tasks are summarize written text, this is where you have to read about 300 words and write a single sentence that encapsulates the main idea/s of the passage. For this, your grammar knowledge needs to be good, if you are no good at syntax, or sentence construction then you might struggle, there is a technique for this however, which I will write about in a later post.
Lastly, the PTE summarize spoken text, you listen to a lecture then summarise the main idea and the supporting ideas. For this, your listening and comprehension skills, and note taking skills need to be top notch, or you will struggle. Fortunately, there is a technique for this task which I will cover later in this PTE series.
In general terms then, as I wrote last time, neither test is “easier”, what you need to think is first, is the test you take applicable to your future use or purpose, is it accepted in the institution or country you are applying to?. Then, think, which test plays to your strengths?…that will tell you which to take, however, as I have to come down on one or the other, in my view the PTE is ever so slightly “easier” than IELTS. That being said, if your English is insufficient, and you don’t allow yourself adequate preparation time, and if you don’t get some guidance as to what you need to improve, then it will make no difference whatsoever to the outcome….