TOEFL & PTE Comparison

The TOEFL Exam

Ever wonder the difference between these prominent English tests for university admittance? The TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC & the new PTE are the most common English tests administered at this time and prospective test-takers might wonder the differences between them. Here’s a quick 101 on the differences between each.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): This exam is currently the most common for non-native English speakers. The TOEFL is often a requirement at most colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada and other English-speaking countries. In addition, government agencies, licensing bodies, businesses or scholarship programs might also require the TOEFL. At this time, an individual’s TOEFL score is valid for two years and then subject for re-evaluation after the two-year period.

The TOEFL itself was first administered in 1964 and has been taken by more than 23 million students since then. TOEFL tests have involved from paper based tests to the iBT (Internet Based Test) since 2012.


The New Pearson Test of English (PTE) was launched in October 2009. It is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council, the same company that administers the GMAT. Similar to the TOEFL test, the Pearson Test of English (PTE) tests in all four sections: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Scores range from 10 to 90.
The test is computer based and takes about three hours to complete. Its main differences from the TOEFL include:

  • automated speech and writing scoring providing consistent and accurate grading
  • score reports offering recorded speech samples to admissions offices at universities worldwide
  • challenging question types including filling blanks, matching items, selecting multiple answer choices in the same question
  • results are available online in just five days
  • the fee ranges from $150-$220, depending on each country