Nobody seemed to have heard of PTE Academic until a couple of years back. The only language-based qualifying exam that came to one’s mind for all general migration and for Study Abroad purposes in respect of Europe, Asia-Pacific, even Canada, was IELTS. TOEFL iBT was a distant second as it was more aligned to US-oriented qualifying exams like GRE and GMAT.
And now, all of a sudden, PTE Academic is making waves, and every other aspiring migrant to the West is talking of PTE in the same breath as IELTS. The more ‘aware’ an aspirant is, the more s/he is thinking in terms of PTE Academic. The niche that PTE has made for itself is bound to become the mainstream in foreseeable future, and unless IELTS does something substantive to stem the tide, its popularity is bound to be overtaken by PTE Academic.
The question is why PTE Academic has gained so much of popularity (and acceptability across continents) in such a short period. Here are a few reasons:
Objective Assessment: Whereas IELTS still follows the old-world pencil and paper format, wherein the scoring in Speaking and Writing sections is subjective, the PTE Academic is modernistic, online, and strictly free of human intervention (computer-administered, computer-assessed). There is no undue external influence and personality or cultural bias. Objectivity is built into the system and assessment is solely on the basis of language performance. Greater objectivity brings greater student confidence in the veracity of the test.
Quick Results: The computer-assessed interface makes assessment in PTE Academic almost instantaneous. Whereas IELTS takes no less than two weeks (often more) to intimate the results, the PTE results may be delivered even in two days. If you are in a hurry, if you want to take a language proficiency test at a short (almost instant) notice, PTE academic is the go-to test.
Freedom from Long Texts: Test takers often have aversion to long texts for which they are tested in both IELTS and TOEFL. PTE Academic has only short to medium texts and gives them freedom from concentrating on long texts.
Student-friendly Test Format: Some people are naturally shy in front of strangers. In an IELTS Speaking Test, the format involves such interaction with strangers as may impact performance. The PTE format carries no such baggage. Even in the Writing Test, where the test taker is supposed to write a relatively long essay, the PTE Academic format allows the test taker to type the essay on a system than to write using a pencil. This student-friendly format for the internet generation removes a lot of hassles and saves a lot of time in erasing, correcting and re-ordering of the text and makes it much easier to do so.
Evenly Balanced Assessment System: IELTS and TOEFL only sum up the individual scores in various language modules. PTE Academic scores are better integrated. In fact, while IELTS and TOEFL score the test taker only for communicative skills (Speaking, Writing, Reading and Listening), PTE Academic tests for these as well as Enabling Skills (Grammar, Fluency, Pronunciation, Vocabulary etc.). That makes PTE academic a more comprehensive and better integrated language proficiency test.
No wonder PTE Academic is the go-to test for the new-age Study Abroad and aspiring migrant test taker.